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Bernard Kerik
Minister of the Interior of Iraq

In office
May 18, 2003 – September 2, 2003
Chief Executive Paul Bremer
Preceded by Mahmud Dhiyab
Succeeded by Nuri Badran
Police Commissioner of New York City

In office
August 21, 2000 – December 31, 2001
Appointed by Rudy Giuliani
Preceded by Howard Safir
Succeeded by Raymond Kelly
Correction Commissioner of the New York City Department of Correction

In office
Appointed by Rudy Giuliani
Preceded by Michael Jacobsen
Succeeded by Gary Lanigan
Personal details
Born Bernard Bailey Kerik
September 4, 1955(1955-09-04) (age 66)
Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Linda Hales (1978–1983)
Jaqueline Llerena (1983–1992)
Hala Matli (1998–present)
Children 4
Military service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1974–1977

Bernard Bailey "Bernie" Kerik (born September 4, 1955) is an American former police officer, consultant and convicted felon, who served as New York City Police Commissioner from 2000 to 2001, and New York City's Correction Department Commissioner and First Deputy, overseeing the New York City jail system, from 1995 to 2000.

Kerik was born in Newark, New Jersey. He served in the United States Army from 1974 to 1977 before working various law enforcement jobs in the United States and abroad. Joining the New York Police Department (NYPD) in 1986, Kerik is most well known for his time at the NYPD and New York City Department of Correction, as he served in commissioner positions for both city agencies. Kerik's tenure as police commissioner included overseeing the police response to the September 11 attacks in 2001.

Following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, President George W. Bush appointed Kerik as the interior minister of the Iraqi Coalition Provisional Authority. In 2004, Bush nominated Kerik to be the head of the Department of Homeland Security. However, Kerik soon withdrew his candidacy, explaining that he had employed an illegal immigrant as a nanny. His withdrawal resulted in state and federal investigations as a result of which in 2006 Kerik pleaded guilty in Bronx Supreme Court to two unrelated ethics violations (unclassified misdemeanors) and was ordered to pay $221,000 in fines. Kerik then pleaded guilty in 2009 in the Southern District of New York to eight federal charges, including tax fraud and false statements, and on February 18, 2010, was sentenced to four years in federal prison.[1]

Early life and education[edit | edit source]

Kerik was born in Newark, New Jersey, the son of Patricia Joann (Bailey) and Donald Raymond Kerik Sr. His paternal grandfather emigrated from Russia to a coal-mining town in Pennsylvania and changed his surname from Kapurik to Kerik.[2][3] Kerik was raised Catholic and grew up in Paterson, New Jersey. He attended Eastside High School in Paterson, and dropped out in 1972. In July 1974, he enlisted in the United States Army and received a General Educational Development (GED) certificate from the State of North Carolina while assigned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina .

After leaving the New York City Police Department, he received a B.S. in social theory, social structure and change, from (ESC) Empire State College of the State University of New York in 2002.[4]

Military and Police Service[edit | edit source]

From 1974 to 1977, Kerik served in the U.S. Army Military Police Corps. He was stationed in Korea as a military police sentry dog handler and to the XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, assuming military police duties and teaching hand-to-hand combat to special operations and Special Forces personnel at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School.[5]

Kerik was honorably discharged from the army in July 1977 and worked briefly for the Interstate Revenue Research Center, Indianapolis, Indiana, as an investigator before joining the Morrison Knudsen Saudi Arabia Consortium (MKSAC) in April 1978, where he was employed as a security officer at the King Khalid Military City in Hafar Al-Batin, Saudi Arabia, for nearly two and a half years. Upon his return, he worked for the Cumberland County, North Carolina sheriff's office, in the patrol division and later for the City–County Bureau of Narcotics.

From December 1981 to October 1982 and then July 1984 to July 1986, Kerik worked at the Passaic County sheriff's office, in New Jersey. He served as the department's training officer and commander of the special weapons and operations, and ultimately chief and warden of the Passaic County jail.

Kerik worked from 1982 to 1984 as chief of investigations for the security division of the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Six members of the hospital security staff, including Kerik, were fired and deported after an investigation in 1984 by the Saudi secret police.[6]

In July 1986, Kerik joined the New York City Police Department and was assigned to uniformed and plain-clothes duty in the 14th Precinct in Brooklyn and in the Midtown South patrol sector (Times Square). He was later transferred to the narcotics division as an undercover in Harlem, Spanish Harlem, and Washington Heights and was promoted to detective in September 1990. In 1991 he was assigned to the U.S. Department of Justice, New York Drug Enforcement Task Force, Group T-43 until he was transferred to the Intelligence Division in February 1994, where he worked on the protective detail for then-mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani.

Correction Commissioner—City of New York[edit | edit source]

In May 1994, Kerik was appointed to the New York City Department of Correction as the director of the Investigations Division and was later transferred to the commissioner's office as executive assistant to the commissioner, and in January 1995 he was appointed by Mayor Rudy Giuliani as the first deputy commissioner of the department.

In January 1998, Kerik became commissioner of the New York City Department of Correction. As corrections commissioner, he was responsible for an annual budget of $835 million, a civilian and uniformed workforce of 13,000, and 133,000 annual inmate admissions in the department's 16 jails, 15 court detention pens, and four hospital prison wards, including Rikers Island.

He was credited with the creation of the Total Efficiency Accountability Management System (TEAMS), a management analysis and accountability program that placed as a finalist for the Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government Award, for Innovations in American Government for year 2000. Through TEAMS, the department witnessed historic performance gains in virtually all areas of jail operations as a result of many new initiatives in violence reduction, overtime reduction, modernization of security equipment, an absence rate analysis program, and others.[7][8]

During his tenure, the department developed a Gang Intelligence Unit and gang tracking database, networking with local, state, and federal authorities across the country. Inmate violence—defined as inmate-on-inmate stabbing and slashing incidents—were reduced by 93 percent from FY 1995 to FY 1999. Similarly, overtime spending in FY 1999 decreased 45 percent from FY 1995 and the uniform sick rate dropped for the same period by 25 percent. These achievements occurred during a period when the inmate population rose to record levels, from 110,410 admissions in FY 1994 to 133,000 in FY 1999, a 25 percent increase.[9]

In December 1997, he was also appointed by the mayor to the New York City Gambling Control Commission. Kerik once chaired the New York Police Officer Michael J. Buczek Foundation's annual fundraiser that honors law enforcement across the nation.

Police Commissioner—City of New York[edit | edit source]

Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani appointed Kerik the 40th New York City Police Commissioner on August 21, 2000.

Giuliani gave much of the credit for a drop in 2001 crime to Kerik, saying that "Commissioner Kerik took over a police department that was leading the country in crime declines, and somehow he was able to figure out how to create even more crime reduction and to do that against a national trend in which crime is going up in much of the rest of the country." Known in the department as the "beat-cop commissioner," Kerik frequently cruised the city at night with a security detail composed of cops who had been in shootouts, dangled from rooftops, hit by bullets, raced into burning buildings, and seen their partners die.[10] During his time as police commissioner he made five arrests, including one involving two ex-convicts—one a paroled killer, wanted for a carjacking at gunpoint in Virginia—for allegedly driving a stolen van in Harlem.[11] As police commissioner, Kerik served on the terrorism committee with the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Criminal Justice Advisory Board for St. John's University.

Kerik served 16 months as commissioner, leaving office at the end of Giuliani's term on December 31, 2001.

Kerik was serving as police commissioner during the September 11 attacks.[12] He was in his office when American Airlines Flight 11 hit the North Tower. He arrived at the base of the North Tower three minutes before United Airlines Flight 175 hit the South Tower, showering him and his staff with debris from the burning tower and plane. Giuliani arrived within minutes afterward and the two men walked to a temporary command post on West Street to meet with senior police and fire personnel. When the south tower of the World Trade Center collapsed, Giuliani, Kerik, and their top aides were trapped inside a building at 75 Barclay Street.[13]

On September 18, 2001, Kerik attended a ceremony in which Governor George Pataki signed legislation into law adding five new sections to the New York State penal law and one to the New York State criminal procedure law to address terrorist-related activity. Kerik also established the New York Metropolitan Committee on Counter Terrorism, responsible for reviewing existing security measures, technology, information exchange protocols, and levels of cooperation among the participating agencies and developing recommendations for improving, facilitating, and expediting the same throughout the current national crisis.[14]

Interim Minister of Interior of Iraq[edit | edit source]

In May 2003, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Kerik was appointed by the George W. Bush administration as interim Interior Minister of Iraq and senior policy adviser to U.S. presidential envoy to Iraq, L. Paul Bremer III. When Kerik arrived in Iraq the Ministry of Interior did not exist, having collapsed and dissolved during the U.S.–led coalition's invasion of Iraq. Kerik was responsible for restructuring and rebuilding the ministry and all its constituent parts: the national police, intelligence service, and border and customs police, as well as choosing the officials who would take control of these institutions when he left. Prior to Kerik's departure from Iraq on September 2, 2003,[15] more than 35,000 Iraqi police were reinstated, 35 police stations were stood up in Baghdad with several more around the country, the senior deputy interior ministers were appointed, and the newly established governing council appointed the first Iraqi minister of interior, post–Saddam Hussein, Nouri Badran.[16] A United Nations UNODC fact-finding mission report dated May 18, 2003 at the beginning of his term, noted that Kerik's team made "positive interventions in a number of areas."[17]

During his tenure as Interior Minister of Iraq Bernard Kerik secretly accepted and failed to report a $250,000 interest free "loan" from Israeli billionaire Eitan Wertheimer, a gift later determined to be a bribe for which he was indicted by the US federal government and sentenced to prison. Precisely what Wertheimer expected to receive in return for the money is an open question.[18]

Politics[edit | edit source]

Upon his return from Iraq, Kerik was politically active, campaigning for Republican candidates for political offices at all levels, including speaking at the 2004 Republican National Convention, where he endorsed George W. Bush for re-election.[19]

Kerik has been an outspoken supporter for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.[citation needed]

Consulting work[edit | edit source]

Following his departure from the New York City Police Department, he was employed by Giuliani Partners, a consulting firm formed by the former mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani. He served as a senior vice president at Giuliani Partners and as chief executive officer of Giuliani–Kerik LLC, an affiliate of Giuliani Partners. Kerik resigned from these positions in December 2004. In March 2005 he created The Kerik Group LLC, where he served as chairman until June 2009, consulting in crisis management and risk mitigation, counterterrorism and law enforcement, and jail/prison management strategies. He has served as an adviser and consultant to His Majesty King Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and to President Bharrat Jagdeo of the Republic of Guyana.[20][21] He has overseen threat and vulnerability assessments for a ruling family in the United Arab Emirates and has also worked on crime reduction and national security strategies in Trinidad & Tobago[22] and Mexico City, Mexico.[23]

Nomination as U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security[edit | edit source]

On December 3, 2004, Kerik was nominated by President Bush to succeed Tom Ridge as United States Secretary of Homeland Security. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales vetted Kerik during that nomination period.[24] But on December 10, after a week of press scrutiny, Kerik withdrew acceptance of the nomination. Kerik stated that he had unknowingly hired an undocumented worker as a nanny and housekeeper.[25] Similar violations of immigration law had previously caused the withdrawal of the nominations of Linda Chavez as secretary of labor by George W. Bush and of Zoë Baird and Kimba Wood for attorney general by President Bill Clinton.

Shortly after withdrawing his name from consideration, Kerik became the target of a New York State grand jury investigation by the Bronx District Attorney's Office, and later, the United States Attorney's Office.

State and federal investigation, federal indictment, and conviction[edit | edit source]

After an 18-month long grand jury investigation conducted by the Bronx District Attorney's Office, Kerik pleaded guilty in Bronx Supreme Court on June 30, 2006 to two ethics violations (unclassified misdemeanors). Kerik acknowledged that during the time he was Interior Minister of Iraq, he accepted a $250,000 interest-free "loan" from Israeli billionaire Eitan Wertheimer and failed to report it. Kerik first met the billionaire, whose vast holdings include major defense contractors, when Kerik took a four day trip to Israel less than two weeks before September 11, 2001 to discuss counter-terrorism with Israeli officials.[26][27] On November 8, 2007, Kerik was indicted by a federal grand jury in White Plains, New York on charges of tax fraud, and making false statements to the federal government about the $250,000 he received from Wertheimer. Prosecutors further accused Kerik of receiving about $236,000 from New York real estate mogul Steven C. Witkoff between 2001-2003.[28][29] Some of the New York charges were dropped in December 2008, but Kerik was then re-indicted on the same charges in Washington, D.C..[30]

On November 5, 2009, Kerik pleaded guilty to eight felony tax and false statement charges,[31] and was sentenced to forty-eight months in federal prison and three years supervised release (probation). Mr. Kerik was represented in the matter by notable NYC Criminal Defense Attorney, Michael F. Bachner.[32] He surrendered to the U.S. minimum security prison camp in Cumberland, Maryland, on May 17, 2010. He was discharged from federal custody on October 15, 2013, after serving five months home confinement, and his supervised release concluded in October 2016.

Awards and honors[edit | edit source]

Kerik earned 30 medals for excellent, meritorious, and heroic service, including the New York City Police Department Medal for Valor for his involvement in a gun battle in which his partner was shot and wounded and he and his team members returned fire, downing the suspect. Other medals included 1 Honorable Mention, 5 Commendations, 10 Meritorious Police Duty, and 13 Excellent Police Duty medals.[citation needed]

Kerik has received honorary doctorates from Michigan State University, New York Institute of Technology, Manhattanville College, College of New Rochelle, and Iona College, and he received the President's Medal from Hunter College.[33][34]

Personal life[edit | edit source]

Kerik's first child was born in October 1975 when he was 20 and serving in South Korea as a military policeman. In February 1976, Kerik completed his tour of duty in South Korea and left mother and daughter behind. In his autobiography, Kerik called the episode "a mistake I will always regret, and I pray to God that one day I can make it right."[citation needed]

Kerik has been married three times. His first marriage was in August 1978; he and his wife were divorced in 1983.[35] Kerik's second marriage lasted from September 1983 to July 1992; the marriage produced a son. Kerik's third marriage took place in 1998, and the couple had two daughters.[36]

In 2001 Kerik published a memoir, The Lost Son: A Life in Pursuit of Justice, a New York Times best seller.[37][38]

Advocate for national criminal justice reform[edit | edit source]

Kerik has become an advocate for criminal justice reform in the United States, focusing on “over-criminalization” and "mass incarceration," rights restoration for non-violent offenders, prosecutorial accountability, and mandatory minimum sentences and the U.S. sentencing guidelines.[citation needed]

In March 2014, Kerik published his second book, From Jailer to Jailed: My Journey from Correction and Police Commissioner to Inmate 84888-054,[39] documenting the 13 prior years of his life including his incarceration and personal observations of the U.S. criminal justice system.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. "Former N.Y.C. top cop Bernard Kerik gets four years in federal prison". February 18, 2010. http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/02/former_nyc_top_cop_bernard_ker.html. 
  2. Kerik, Bernard B. (September 2002). The Lost Son: A Life in Pursuit of Justice. Harper. pp. 18–20. ISBN 0060508825. 
  3. "KERIK A VETERAN OF MEAN STREETS A career forged in fighting crime". Daily News. New York. September 6, 2000. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. https://web.archive.org/web/20110604100124/http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/news/2000/09/06/2000-09-06__kerik_a_veteran_of_mean_str.html. 
  4. http://www.thekerikgroup.com/about-us.html
  5. Profile: Bernard Kerik
  6. Mintz, John; Shackelford, Lucy (December 8, 2004). "Kerik's Surveillance Activity in Saudi Arabia Is Disputed". The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A45175-2004Dec7. Retrieved April 26, 2010. 
  7. Why the Jails Didn't Explode by Frank Straub, Paul E. O'Connell, City Journal Spring 1999
  8. Guart, Al (September 8, 1998). "Jailhouse Knife Attacks Slashed; Reforms Cut City's Inmate Violence – Exclusive". New York Post. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. https://web.archive.org/web/20110606125956/http://www.nypost.com/p/news/jailhouse_knife_attacks_slashed_izMC7ic9vaYNcmne1jpA3L. 
  9. Guart, Al (May 7, 1999). "Jails Chief Is Working Miracles: Morale Rising Among Guards And Inmates". New York Post. http://www.nypost.com/p/news/jails_chief_inmates_working_miracles_s2zuVbIqP0W2EO429MnbZM. 
  10. Guart, Al (March 5, 2001). "Heroes of Kerik's Police Posse". http://www.thekerikgroup.com/uploads/2/3/6/2/23625642/ny_post_-_heroes_of__keriks_police_posse.pdf. 
  11. Flynn, Kevin (March 26, 2001). "For Kerik, There's One Way To Run the Police, at a Sprint". The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2001/03/26/nyregion/for-kerik-there-s-one-way-to-run-the-police-at-a-sprint.html?scp=7&sq=kerik&st=nyt. Retrieved April 26, 2010. 
  12. "Post-9/11 report recommends police, fire response changes". USA Today. August 19, 2002. https://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2002-08-19-nypd-nyfd-report_x.htm. Retrieved May 23, 2008. 
  13. http://www.thekerikgroup.com/uploads/2/3/6/2/23625642/giuliani_and_kerik_dodge_death.pdf
  14. "KERIK SETS NEW PANEL ON TERROR Beefed-up security planned". Daily News. New York. September 27, 2001. http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/news/2001/09/27/2001-09-27_kerik_sets_new_panel_on_terr.html. [dead link]
  15. Guart, Al (September 3, 2003). "Kerik Close Call: Ex-City Top Cop Dodges Baghdad Bomb". New York Post. http://www.nypost.com/p/news/kerik_close_call_ex_city_top_cop_MyT1W1vMZ4rw2rocTkaHeJ. 
  16. Lathem, Niles (August 3, 2003). "Guiding Iraq On A Road To Recovery: Experts & Officials Grade Postwar Effort". New York Post. Archived from the original on October 14, 2012. https://web.archive.org/web/20121014012635/http://www.nypost.com/p/news/guiding_iraq_effort_road_to_recovery_IEzqJQvXQ569z1xrDQVDbM/2. 
  17. Waldman, Amy (June 30, 2003). "AFTER THE WAR: LAW ENFORCEMENT; U.S. Struggles to Transform A Tainted Iraqi Police Force". The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/30/world/after-war-law-enforcement-us-struggles-transform-tainted-iraqi-police-force.html?pagewanted=1. Retrieved April 26, 2010. 
  18. "Kerik Loan Activity Is Brought to Light After Indictment". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/24/nyregion/24kerik.html. 
  19. Bernard Kerik speaks at the RNC 2004 on YouTube
  20. Caribbean Net News: Kerik finally gets Guyana contract Archived June 22, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  21. www.rodale.com Archived January 3, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  22. Caribbean Net News: US crime fighter visits Trinidad for talks with local officials Archived 2008-08-30 at the Wayback Machine.
  23. http://www.thekerikgroup.com
  24. "No Skeletons in My Closet!". Village Voice. http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0744. Retrieved 2007-11-09. [dead link]
  25. Allen, Mike (December 15, 2004). "On Kerik Nomination, White House Missed Red Flags". Archived from the original on December 16, 2004. https://web.archive.org/web/20041216004432/http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6716363/. 
  26. "Kerik Loan Activity Is Brought to Light After Indictment". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/24/nyregion/24kerik.html. 
  27. "Billionaire Businessman Gave Kerik $250K "Loan"". Talking Points Memo. http://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/img-src-http-talkingpointsmemo-com-images-bush-kerik-lawn-muck-jpg-vspace-5-hspace-5-align-left-billionaire-businessman-gave-kerik-250k-loan. 
  28. "Kerik Loan Activity Is Brought to Light After Indictment". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/24/nyregion/24kerik.html. 
  29. "Billionaire Businessman Gave Kerik $250K "Loan"". Talking Points Memo. http://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/img-src-http-talkingpointsmemo-com-images-bush-kerik-lawn-muck-jpg-vspace-5-hspace-5-align-left-billionaire-businessman-gave-kerik-250k-loan. 
  30. "Former NYPD commissioner Kerik indicted". CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/05/27/new.york.kerik.indicted/index.html. Retrieved 2009-05-27. 
  31. "Kerik Confesses to Cheating I.R.S. and Telling Lies". https://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/06/nyregion/06kerik.html. 
  32. Dolnik, Sam (February 18, 2010). "Kerik Is Sentenced in Corruption Case". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. https://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/19/nyregion/19kerik.html?_r=0. Retrieved 13 June 2017. 
  33. MSU’s commencement speakers exemplars of service to nation, world | MSU News | Michigan State University
  34. Hunter Headlines — Hunter College
  35. Info on Linda Hales Kerik Priest
  36. "CNN Live Saturday". CNN.com. December 11, 2004. http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0412/11/cst.01.html. Retrieved 2007-11-09. 
  37. Buettner, Russ; Stowe, Stacey (October 12, 2007). "Bernard B. Kerik". New York Times. http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/k/bernard_b_kerik/index.html?inline=nyt-per. Retrieved 2007-11-09. 
  38. Drew, Christopher (November 9, 2001). "Sad Search By Kerik To Find His Mother; Family Secret Is Revealed In Autobiography". The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2001/11/09/nyregion/sad-search-kerik-find-his-mother-family-secret-revealed-autobiography.html?scp=2&sq=kerik&st=nyt. Retrieved April 26, 2010. 
  39. [1]

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

This article was originally based on information from New York City's official website. http://www.ci.nyc.ny.us/html/om/html/2000b/pr332-00[dead link]
  • War Stories: Behind the Silver and Gold Shields, Thomas J. Ward, Bernard B. Kerik (Looseleaf Law Publications, 2002) ISBN 978-1-889031-58-3
  • The Lost Son: A Life in Pursuit of Justice, Bernard B. Kerik (Regan Books, 2001) ISBN 978-0-06-000901-4 (autobiography) https://web.archive.org/web/20030702190401/http://www.seaburn.com/blackbooknews/biography.htm
  • In the Line of Duty, Bernard B. Kerik (Regan Books, 2001)
  • Imperial Life in the Emerald City, Rajiv Chandrasekaran
  • Never Forget: An Oral History of September 11, 2001, Mitchell Fink and Lois Mathias (Regan Books, 2002)
  • Leadership, Rudolph W. Giuliani (Miramax Books, 2002)
  • The Cell: Inside the 9/11 Plot, and Why the FBI and CIA Failed to Stop It, John Miller, Michael Stone and Chris Mitchell
  • My Year in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer III (Simon & Schuster 2006)

External links[edit | edit source]

Police appointments
Preceded by
Howard Safir
Police Commissioner of New York City
Succeeded by
Raymond Kelly
Political offices
Preceded by
Mahmud Dhiyab
Minister of the Interior of Iraq

Succeeded by
Nuri Badran

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