April 9, 2007, - 1:14 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
An extensive story in the Sunday Washington Post, “White House Looks Past Alarms on Kerik,” about Presidential Candidate Rudy Giuliani and once-Homeland Security chief nominee, Bernard Kerik, raises questions about Julie L. Myers, Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) a/k/a “The ICE Princess”.
It appears that The ICE Princess may have leaked confidential information to The Washington Post about her involvement in the nomination vetting process for Kerik’s nomination by President Bush to head Homeland Security. The information leaked appears to be designed to hurt Giuliani’s Presidential bid (apparently Myers is supporting someone else for President–someone who will more likely keep her and her husband, John Wood, in the taxpayer-paid luxury welfare to which they’ve become accustomed). And Myers’ involvement in the Kerik process raises serious conflict-of-interest questions. And serious questions about why she is being portrayed as the ethical, tough heroine versus her boss, the President of the United States.
Here’s the applicable part from the Washington Post:
The White House had the perfect person to question Kerik about his relationship with [federal indictee Lawrence] Ray: Julie Myers, who arrived in the White House personnel office in November 2004 and had worked in the same U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn that prosecuted Ray. She flagged the relationship and other concerns about Kerik for her White House colleagues, sources said. She aggressively questioned Kerik about Ray and other affiliations. He bristled at her tone, sources said.
In an interview last week, Ray said he had told the FBI and U.S. attorney’s office as early as 1999, as he tried to stave off indictment, that he had incriminating information about Kerik. After his guilty plea in 2001, Ray said, he told the FBI that Kerik had agreed to help Interstate Industrial and its owners, the DiTomasso family, try to win city business despite their alleged ties with organized crime. At the time, Kerik solicited and received gifts from company sources, including $165,000 in renovations for his apartment.
“They knew 100 percent of it,” Ray said. “There was no way they didn’t. I was driving the ball on that.”
Kerik told the White House that the allegations were untrue, sources said. “He was told many times, ‘Be honest,’ ” said one person familiar with the process. Myers, presidential personnel director Dina Powell [DS: An Egyptian woman from Texas and one of Bush’s pandering “voices” to the Muslim world] and others raised concerns in the West Wing, according to the sources. They were “very, very adamant about how serious the vetting needed to be,” one source said.
But it appears that the source for this pro-Myers/Myers-did-her-job-strongly-despite-the-Bush-White-House part of the Washington Post story may be Myers, herself. Sources believe Myers told the Post this information that could have only come from her. Only Myers was in on all of her interviews with and work on Kerik, and only Myers has access to her notes and memories on the Kerik vetting process and knowledge of the “flags” she allegedly raised. Only Julie Myers, herself–or through an intermediary acting as her go-between with the Post–could have been the source of this Washington Post story.
In fact, only Myers blew far out of proportion her brief role as a U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, a puffery that is conspicuous in the Post story. Agents and attorneys who worked with her at the office say she was not involved in any high profile or important cases, but rather piddling ones because she had no experience and was barely there. They believe Myers was barely involved, if at all, in the Ray prosecution and had little knowledge of it, they say.
The only time her brief experience as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of New York came in handy was to create a plum crony job at ICE for her friend and fellow former prosecutor in that office, Wayne L. Baker–a job from which he quickly had to leave for apparently unethical behavior in a relative’s prosecution. (Just as her brief experience as an attorney with Chicago’s Mayer Brown & Platt came in handy to give Daniel T. Fahner, the son of the firm’s former Chairman, another crony job working for her at ICE. He’s had some “problems” with some female ICE support staff, we’re told.)
It is believed that Myers pops up prominently in the Washington Post Giuliani/Kerik story for two reasons: 1) She is trying to cover her butt for what happened with Kerik; 2) She is trying to paint herself as a heroine in the Washington Post, which–like most other media sources left and right–has been justifiably critical of her, in her quest to get a plum job in a new administration or elsewhere; and/or 3) She is trying to hurt Rudy Giuliani’s Presidential chances because she is supporting someone else. Regardless, the Post story, in which she is painted as a heroine, hurts the Bush Administration that has employed her and her husband extensively in so very many tax-paid positions and posts.
And then, there is the other problem–the glaring conflict of interest. When Kerik’s nomination was scuttled and he withdrew, Myers’ good buddy and former boss (and the boss of her husband), Michael Chertoff, got the job–and therefore, Myers, herself, ultimately got the job working as his Assistant Secretary over ICE. Given that and given that Myers already had decided upon herself for the ICE job, she should not have been involved in the Kerik vetting process. Did she help scuttle Kerik to help her former boss, her husband’s boss, and herself to jobs atop DHS?
If only Julie Myers had also been “very, very adamant about how serious the vetting needed to be” for the person she picked to head up ICE: herself.
But she wasn’t. Perhaps a little fact-checking–a la today’s colleges and universities–should have been conducted about her apocryphal “law enforcement” background.
The Washington Post story raises a lot of questions about Julie Myers and why she is being portrayed as a heroine in a story designed to hurt Rudy Giuliani . . . a story whose “sources” are anonymous and very likely include Myers herself.
Tags: Assistant Secretary, attorney, Bernard Kerik, Bush administration, Bush Info, Chairman, Chicago, Daniel T. Fahner, David Lunde, Debbie Schlussel An, Dina Powell, Federal Bureau of Investigation, John Wood, Julie L. Myers, Julie Myers, Julie Myers Baglady, Julie Myers Leaking, law enforcement, media sources, Michael Chertoff, New York, President, presidential candidate, presidential personnel director, Princess, prosecutor, Rudy Giuliani, Security Chief, Texas, the Sunday Washington Post, The Washington Post, United States, USD, Washington Post, Wayne L. Baker, White House