Wednesday, December 08, 2004

How Bernie the Goon Got His Ass Booted Out of Saudi Arabia 

Just the guy you'd want as head of Homeland Security -- a two-bit transom-peeping thug:
The autobiography of Bernard B. Kerik, President Bush's nominee to head the Department of Homeland Security, recounts a difficult time 20 years ago when he was expelled from Saudi Arabia amid a power struggle involving the head of a hospital complex where Kerik helped command a security staff.

In the book, Kerik described his discomfort at having to investigate employees' private lives, but said it was necessary because of the Saudis' laws prohibiting drinking and mingling of the sexes in public. "It was challenging, negotiating such a closed, rigid system and trying to find justice in laws that, to an American, were unjust," he wrote. He was expelled from Saudi Arabia in 1984, the book said, after he had a physical altercation with a Saudi secret police official who was interrogating him.

Since he was nominated last week to be homeland security secretary, however, nine former employees of the hospital have said that Kerik and his colleagues were carrying out the private agenda of the hospital's administrator, Nizar Feteih, and that the surveillance was intended to control people's private affairs. Feteih became embroiled in a scandal that centered in part on his use of the institution's security staff to track the private lives of several women with whom he was romantically involved, and men who came in contact with them, the ex-employees said . . . .

After medical personnel at the hospital complained to Saudi officials, the security team helped get one whistleblower jailed overnight, sought to put another into a Saudi mental hospital, and stepped up its surveillance of some members of the medical staff, several of the former hospital employees said. Six members of the hospital security staff, including Kerik, were fired and deported, and Feteih was sacked as hospital administrator after an investigation in 1984 by the Saudi secret police, they said.

"Kerik was a goon," said John Jones, a former hospital manager, who said he felt harassed by the security team. "They were Gestapo. . . . They made my life so miserable."
Which is not to say that people can't change. Newsday, for example, reports that Kerik has apparently reconciled with the Korean daughter he fathered and abandoned in 1975.

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