Lost and Found

Soldier, jailer, hero, myth: the rise and fall of Bernard Kerik

That legend followed Kerik to Giuliani Partners LLC, through his mission to train cops in Iraq, onto the Dubya campaign bandwagon, and right to the door of the Cabinet. After Bush nominated him, the Times' front page dubbed Kerik "street-savvy," the Daily News said the job "needs a pit bull of a cop, and Kerik is darn sure that," and the Post editorial page crowed, "Kerik's the One."


The Fall: In fact, he wasn't the one, and considering all the dirt that's emerged, was never going to be. The die was cast probably years before Bush gave Bernie the nod: Buettner says the trail to his recent stories goes back to a scandal involving a corrections official who allegedly used city workers on the 2002 Pataki campaign. Some of the damaging revelations date back to the 1980s.

But even if Kerik was DOA as a cabinet secretary, how did he manage to get to the threshold? Ultimately, Levitt blames 9-11. After the attack, he says, "The bottom line is, critical thinking stops." Bernie's burn-up could reverse that. Now Giuliani's role in promoting Kerik is under scrutiny. Maybe Kerik should have stayed in Spin Alley.


jmurphy@villagevoice.com

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