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High-school drop-out to become Homeland Security Czar

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President George W. Bush has nominated former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik to replace Tom Ridge as Homeland Security Secretary, marking a significant departure from his tendency to choose educated, Patrician types for his Cabinet.

Kerik, a high-school drop-out abandoned at age four by his prostitute mother in the gritty town of Patterson, New Jersey, served as an Army MP in South Korea, and later worked in private international security rackets, most interestingly in Saudi Arabia.

He joined the New York City Police Department in 1985. He followed that with a stint as Warden of the Passaic County Jail in New Jersey, and became the Training Officer and Commander of the Special Weapons and Operations Units. In 1998 he was named New York Corrections Commissioner, and established an ironclad, head-cracking discipline in the City's notorious detention facilities.

A favorite of former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Kerik had the honor of seeing the Manhattan Detention Complex, known to locals as "the Tombs," re-named the Bernard B. Kerik Complex by then-mayor Giuliani. Kerik left a minor cloud of corruption behind, with allegations that one of his lieutenants used correctional staff to work illegally in Republican campaigns.

In 2000, Giuliani named Kerik Police Commissioner, to assist him in a vast anti-crime crackdown, where the chief tactic was for police to pounce aggressively on even the most chickenshit offences, such as spitting on the sidewalk.

Upon his retirement from City politics, Giuliani decided to cash in on post-9/11 security hysteria by founding his own security outfit, Giuliani Partners LLC. Kerik has served as senior vice president at Giuliani Partners, and CEO of Giuliani-Kerik LLC, a vendor of law-enforcement "performance systems". Meanwhile, Giuliani has founded several spin-offs, such as Giuliani Capital Advisors LLC, and the Rudolph W. Giuliani Advanced Security Centers (ASC), a cyber-security outfit formed in connection with Ernst & Young.

Recently, Kerik shipped out to Iraq to train the local policemen who are routinely blown to pieces by insurgents and terrorists. There, he enjoyed the snappy titles of Interim Minister of the Interior, and Senior Policy Advisor to the US Presidential Envoy to Iraq's Coalition Provisional Authority. Kerik lasted only four months, and the Iraqi police are still as incompetent, weak, and corrupt as when he arrived in country.

Kerik began making his transition from local to national politics by campaigning for President Bush's re-election, alongside his political patron and business partner, Rudy Giuliani. Kerik has been a devoted booster of the so-called Patriot Act, having given several speeches in its support while campaigning for Bush.

In anticipation of his rise to national office, Kerik recently sold his $5.8m in shares of Taser International, makers of absolutely safe police stun guns that are now routinely used against old women and children.

He is expected to be confirmed by the Senate without difficulty. ®

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