Friday, September 10, 2010

September 11th, 2001 – Nine Years Later

As I reflect on that day and the aftermath of September 11, 2001, most of my memories are that which I witnessed firsthand when the second jet airliner slammed through Tower II, blowing out the north side of the building. I stood beneath it, stunned at the enormity of the explosion and the realization that America was under attack.

In the weeks and months that followed, we set out to rescue the fallen and recover those that perished. We learned over time that more than 2,700 people died in the attack, 23 of which worked for me and the NYPD. The loss to the New York City Fire Department was unimaginable - 343 firefighters. The Port Authority Police lost 37 police officers.

The city and our country united. We responded and rebuilt a shattered city, and in the months and years after, we went to war with those responsible and those perceived as a threat, in an attempt to make sure that day never happened again.

In many ways, we have seen success, and, in some ways, we have not.

The future of our country and its national security depends on our political leadership at every level and their ability to realize our successes and failures, learn from them, and use that knowledge to insure victory in fighting terrorism and defending our nation.

As an American and someone who has seen terror first hand, both here and in the Middle East, my concerns are many. The enemy that attacked us in 2001 still exists today on many continents; Somalia is becoming their new training ground. A conventional battle against this enemy is impossible, and will depend on our intelligence and our leadership. Our local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies must be fastidious in working together, and our political leadership must insure these agencies get the appropriations, resources and tools they need to be strong and effective.

Nine years later, we are still working to make this happen. From my point of view, the greatest detriment in reaching this goal is political partisanship. Our political leadership must work together or nothing ever gets accomplished. Something is quite often better than nothing, and given the political tide today, nothing is what we are getting due to political partisanship.

Regardless of party lines, whether it is the most extreme left wing Democrats or the staunched right wing Republicans, no one wants to see another attack on this country. Somehow, our political leadership must come together when it comes to this battle, or we all lose.

We have yet to secure our borders and continue to talk about immigration reform. Lately, however, the more we talk the less gets done.

We need to take a good look at the hard working immigrants that are here, many working jobs that Americans will not, taking care of their families in their native country. Before we offer lottery programs to outsiders to become residents, we should figure out how we benefit from those already here. Whatever we are going to do, we must do it with appropriate controls at our borders, or our security will remain compromised, again opening access for Al Qaida and terrorists to infiltrate our country. This must be a priority for Congress.

President Barack Obama recently announced the end of combat operations in Iraq. I am glad to see combat end and equally pleased with our accomplishments. Saddam Hussein launched multiple wars against his neighbors, used weapons of mass destruction, displaced and killed millions of his own people. This is similar to that which is presently occurring in Sudan. I believe Hussein should have been removed long before he was for the atrocities he committed against his own people.

Today Iraqi's live in freedom and no longer fear Iraq being a threat to their neighbors and region.

Afghanistan, on the other hand, will not be as easy - particularly without the right strategy and the resources that ground commanders need to get the job done. It is imperative that there are NO TIME LIMITS! If we have learned anything about the Taliban and Al Qaida, it is that they have all the time in the world and will just wait us out. With the recent increase in attacks on U.S. troops by the Taliban, the United States must keep the pressure on and give General David Petreaus the resources he needs for victory.

I have concerns about the weeks ahead and the forthcoming trial of Ahmed Ghailani, one of the remaining 180 prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on charges of assisting Al Qaida bomb the U.S. In 1998, embassies in Kenya and Tanzania killed 224 people, including 12 Americans. Ghailani will be one of the first terrorists from Guantanamo Bay to be tried in a civilian court in the U.S. I fear this will open the door for constitutional challenges that could result in his release and the release of those just like him. These men must be held accountable. We must send a clear message to those that would consider attacks against our country or our citizens around the world.

With respect to building a Mosque in close proximity to Ground Zero, I oppose the mosque for three reasons. My reasoning has nothing to do with the Muslim religion nor do I dislike Muslims. The fact of the matter is, I have many Muslim friends all around the world.

Building the mosque so close to Ground Zero, the first real battleground in the war against radical Islam, is extremely insensitive to the surviving friends and family members of those that died there. Furthermore, it is a constant reminder of the message sent by the attackers and those like Osama Bin Laden. I also question the motives of the founders of the project, and strongly agree that we need to determine the source of the funding. Inevitably, the controversy surrounding the Mosque will bring with it security concerns for local, state and federal law enforcement authorities.

As I reflect on the controversy that the Mosque has created thus far, I am reminded of the war against terror and those who did or did not support it. If you recall, there are many that supported the war in 2001 and 2002, yet today, are totally against it. Notwithstanding the politics involved, would all those who are presently in support of building the Mosque have supported it on the morning of September 12, 2001? I think not.

On this particular September 11th, nine years later, I hope every American realizes and appreciates the sacrifices made by our law enforcement agencies and first responders on that dreadful day. Most important are the men and women in our armed forces, both here in the United States and abroad that are in harm’s way.

At a time when we are reminded of our constitution on a daily basis, albeit in our courts, regarding immigration, or the war against terror, it is the men and women in our armed forces who fight on our behalf, and defend our constitutional freedoms and the very democracy that we often take for granted.

We should be thankful for their service and sacrifice, and for the families that many have left behind. For without them, this country would not be what it is today.

God Bless them and God Bless the United States of America.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

For Victory's Sake - No Time Lines!

Immediately after President Barack Obama announced that United States forces would begin leaving Afghanistan in July 2011, intelligence services began intercepting the following text messages on Afghan insurgent's mobile phones:

"Mubarak," Congratulations in Arabic. "If you are a believer, you will be a victor," quoting the Quran.

Then came the message that said it all, "The enemy president is announcing a withdrawal of troops who will leave our country with their heads bowed."

Is that a reality? Of course not, but Taliban and Al Qaeda leadership will use it to their advantage, building strength in their following as a result.

It was the wrong message, at the wrong time.

The Taliban and Al Qaeda need to know that we intend to stay the course until the job is done, and the new Afghan government can stand on their own. We're either in it for victory or we're not... and telling your enemy when you intend to throw in the towel and give up, is a strategy that can only lead to defeat, because then it is only a matter of time... and the enemy has all the time in the world.

They have waited us out before and they will do it again.

There are a number of things we must do to win this battle and telling our enemy when we intend to leave, isn't one of them.

Monday, August 2, 2010


Nearly nine years after the attack on the World Trade Center, the 9/11 heroes who paid with their health and their lives are still waiting for the health care coverage and compensation they so deserve.
Why we haven't come to their aid as quickly as they came to ours is a question that all Americans should be asking their political leadership.

Instead of honoring the valient first responders that ran into those buildings by passing the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, they were told to "go to hell" as the Daily News so appropriately put it.
I believe that we should return the sentiment to our legislators that voted against the bill in the next election. If our legislators can't support our first responders that so selfishly put their lives on the line for each and everyone of us, then they don't deserve your support on election day.

The Democratic majority could have brought this bill up and passed it, but they did not. Even worse, only 12 Republicans voted to support the bill. As the ninth anniversary of 9/11 approaches, the House will bring this bill back to the floor for a vote in September, and every American should be watching.

We don't want legislative trickery or hypocrisy, or childish tirades for our enemies' entertainment.
The men and women in the police and fire departments that have sacrificed so much - some with their lives, deserve better.

We need to come to their aid as quickly as they came to ours.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

No Mosque at Ground Zero

For me, building a mosque at Ground Zero in New York City is out of the question, and here's why.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, 19 Islamic fundamentalists slammed two jet airliners into the World Trade Center towers, murdering 2,750 people; 23 of those people worked for me. Thousands of New Yorkers and people all across America and around the world suffered the loss of family members and friends. For them, the memories of that shocking morning and their deep losses are no less vivid today than they were then. All Muslims are not terrorists, but those responsible for the slaughter of innocents on 9/11 were, in fact, Muslim, and that is something that the families and friends of those lost can never forget. That Muslim connection, like it or not, is always going to be there, burning in the hearts of those left behind.

I personally think they have suffered enough and we should not add to their grief and pain.

A proper respect for their feelings should prevent a building associated with the motivation for the attack from being built so near the one spot mourners should be able to go unchallenged to grieve over their dead. There are many other locations in New York City where the proposed mosque could be built. Indeed, there are already about 100 mosques in the city, where 600,000 to 800,000 Muslims worship daily. Unlike the proposed new structure, these mosques serve Muslims who live and work nearby. Few Muslims live or work near the location for the proposed mosque, raising the question, why must the new, 13-story mosque be built there? Is its purpose to be more than just a place of worship?

There are serious questions relating to the funding of this project, and those questions must be answered. Who is involved? Do they have any connection to terrorists or terrorist supporters and sympathizers? I'm also concerned about how the mosque will be perceived by Islamic radicals around the world. Will it be seen, as supporters of the mosque claim, as a demonstration of American religious tolerance, or will it become a symbol of Islamic radicals triumphantly imposing their extremist version of Islam on America through terror?

I believe the builders' true intent is to build this mosque as a permanent reminder to all of us of the damage done to us on 9/11. And that's what it will be, whether anyone has the courage to admit it or not.

In the aftermath of 9/11, we saw a spike in anti-Muslim incidents and I believe Americans will continue to understand that it is wrong to blame all Muslims for the sins of a radical few, but the proposed mosque may well become a target for those who will see it as a provocation. This could become an enormous security issue for the NYPD and other law enforcement authorities. Any violence directed at the mosque could easily generate an international incident that could further empower radical Islamists - just consider the deadly, world-wide fury aroused by the Dutch cartoons. We shouldn't alter our behavior to cower before terror threats, but we shouldn't set ourselves up to be exploited by those looking for supposed transgressions to avenge, either.

Lastly, supporters of the proposed mosque invoke freedom of religion. While I strongly believe in the freedoms our forefathers gave us in the U.S. Constitution, I believe that those politicians insisting on building such a controversial structure in such a sensitive location when there are less controversial and less sensitive alternatives are placing political correctness ahead of common sense and simple respect for the bereaved.

The real issue should be about what is the right thing to do and building this mosque so near Ground Zero is just wrong.

Dead wrong.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I Won't Support the Mosque at Ground Zero

Supporting the building of a Mosque just 600 feet from Ground Zero is absolutely outrageous, and for those politicians that are doing so under the guise of the First Amendment and Freedom of Religion, I would suggest that for once you not worry about being politically correct.

Think of the victims and the families they left behind on 9/11; the security implications for the surrounding area, the involvement in the project of those with questionable backgrounds and most importantly, the perception it will create in those countries and with those groups that sponsor Islamic terror. For them; this is the trophy that will stand as a symbol of victory.

This has nothing to do with religion; It's just the right thing to do. Allowing this project to move forward is insensitive at best and should not be permitted.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


No Mosque at Ground Zero

Thursday, July 22, 2010 02:13 PM

By: Frank Gaffney

The Center for Security Policy today unveiled a powerful 1-minute video opposing the construction of a 13-story, $100 million mega-mosque near the hallowed ground of the World Trade Center.

The twin towers were destroyed on 9/11 by adherents to the barbaric, supremacist and totalitarian program authoritative Islam calls “Shariah.” And the imam who is promoting this mosque has publicly declared that he seeks to “bring Shariah to America.”

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As the ad makes clear, Shariah’s followers have long built mosques on the most sacred sites of those they have conquered; for example, on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, at Constantinople/Istanbul’s St. Sophia Basilica, and in Cordoba, Spain, the capital of the occupying Moors’ Muslim kingdom.

A growing chorus of New Yorkers and other Americans, including, notably, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, have expressed outrage at the prospect of a similar, permanent beachhead for Shariah being use to defile ground zero, and symbolize America’s defeat at the hands of her enemies.

We say, “No Mosque at Ground Zero.”

And I say:

Supporting the building of a Mosque just 600 feet from Ground Zero is absolutely outrageous, and for those politicians that are doing so under the guise of the First Amendment and Freedom of Religion, I would suggest that for once you not worry about being politically correct.

Think of the victims and the families they left behind on 9/11; the security implications for the surrounding area, the involvement in the project of those with questionable backgrounds and most importantly, the perception it will create in those countries and with those groups that sponsor Islamic terror. For them... this is the trophy that will stand as a symbol of victory.

This has nothing to do with religion... It's just the right thing to do. Allowing this project to move forward is insensitive at best and should not be permitted.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

SUBJECT: Three Questions from Mr. Matt Davis

                                                                                                           July 21, 2010 Dear Mr. Davis:

Thank you for your note of July 17, 2010.

As to your questions, naturally I am disappointed in the American criminal justice system as it relates to my case, but still have some faith in the system, and pray that my appeal remedies that which we feel were unjust. It has not however, diminished my faith in, or love for my country.

As for Osama Bin Laden... capturing or killing Osama Bin Laden would be a cinch, if in fact we knew where he was. Our problem is two fold: He lives in the mountainous border between Afghanistan and Pakistan and is keenly aware of our intelligence and technical capabilities and uses that to his advantage, i.e... no speaking on a cell phone, using a computer, etc... He is basically been resolved to living like a rat to avoid detection, in a space that can only be described as a needle in a haystack, in size and magnitude.

There has been a $50M dollar reward on his head for nearly 8 years and the entire Arab region is aware of it. His loyalists and followers could care less about the money. It means nothing to them. Less than a month after we announced the $25M dollar reward on Saddam Hussein and his sons, Uday and Qusay were dead, and Hussein was captured within 90 days. It was all about the money. Bin Laden's followers wouldn't know what to do with the money if they had it - they love the life they live.

I believe we will eventually capture or kill him, but it is not as easy as many people think.

Lastly, I can only hope that the American people in judging me, will look beyond the tabloid headlines at my 30 years of public service, my patriotism and love for this country, and all the good I've done throughout my life before they form their opinions. That is all I can ask.

For now, I pray that the time I am imprisoned goes as quickly as possible so that I may return to the wife and children, who are my strength in overcoming this challenge.

Thank you for writing and thank you for your support.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010


According to sources at the Pentagon, the United States is buying Russian-made helicopters for the government of Afghanistan, which has upset some members of Congress. If that is true... we need to identify all those Congressional leaders who are not upset by this program and either impeach them or vote them out of office.

Every member of the House and the Senate, as well as every American in this country should be outraged by this stupidity.

The United States government has spent $648 million dollars to buy or refurbish 31 Russian Mi-17 transport helicopters for the Afghan Air Corps. WHY NOT AMERICAN? According to some legislators, the Pentagon never even considered alternatives to the Russian purchase, which has prevented competitive pricing and will enable Russian defense contractors to gouge prices.

This is outrageous... so where is the outrage?

Legislators on both sides of the House have said that this program has close to no oversight, and there has been massive waste, cost over runs, schedule delays, safety concerns and major delivery problems. If this is true, as are the reports that there are substantial no bid contracts being handed out in this program in which our government is paying significantly higher than the going market rates for these choppers, there should be even a bigger concern -- Corruption.

All that said and done, why Russia? Pentagon officials have outlined a number of reasons why they believe that the Russian made choppers are best for Afghanistan, but are they? If we're using the same people to make that decision that allowed these no bids contracts with massive waste, cost over runs and delivery problems, we may want to take a serious second look at the requirements, and who can fill them. More so... IT'S RUSSIA! The same country with that has these cushy relationships with Iran, North Korea and Venezuela. At the rate we're going, maybe we can buy some helicopters from Iran given they have much of the same terrain as Afghanistan, NO?

This program and these contracts are stupid and should be stopped immediately.

Russia is not an ally, a friend or a business partner. Why are we giving them this business and worse, why are we spending more that we should.

This is a bad business, bad management and bad government.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Just last week, I stressed the importance of dealing with Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the threat they pose not only to Israel and Europe, but to the Arab countries as well.

The Wall Street Journal ran an editorial on July 9, 2010, which expounds on that theory specifically detailing the concerns of Yousef Al-Otaiba, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ambassador to the United States.

According to Ambassador Al-Otaiba, the UAE and other Arab countries fear a nuclear Iran as much and perhaps more than Israel does. When asked if the Ambassador wanted the United States to intervene in Iran’s bomb program, he answered, “Absolutely.” He then went on to highlight a point that is not often addressed or mentioned by the pundits, and that was the immediate threat to the United States of a nuclear Iran, which in turn would have an enormous impact on the security of our Arab allies. That threat isn’t a threat against us here at home, but more so, a threat to military assets buried within the Arab region.

The Ambassador’s concerns for our assets obviously has a self-serving interest, that being that a multiple attack on the U.S. installations in the region would clearly diminish our ability to defend and support our allies like Dubai, Israel, the UAE, Jordan, etc. If that happened, many countries in the region would reluctantly cower and run for cover toward Iran if they lacked the assurance that the United States was willing or able to confront Iran.

The Ambassador and I concur that a nuclear Iran will never be deterred by sanctions, and that the U.S. or Israel needs to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear capabilities. We further agree that THE TIME TO DEAL WITH IRAN IS NOW.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Now is the time to deal with Iran

On Sunday, June 27, 2010, CIA Director, Leon Panetta, appeared on ABC's News Show "This Week". The head of the Central Intelligence Agency made it perfectly clear that Iran has to be dealt with once and for all.

Mr. Panetta discredited the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate that claimed Iran had stopped working on its nuclear weapons back in 2003, and he believes that they are close to acquiring multiple bombs. He further indicated that for Iran to make their systems viable, it may take up to two years, but they are moving ahead aggressively during this time and are continuing to develop missiles and warheads.

Panetta said he thought the recent United Nations Security Council sanctions "will have some impact" on deterring Iran's program. I strongly disagree. The sanctions are weak and both Iran and the international community know they are weak as well. Just to keep things in perspective, when have the United Nations Security Council sanctions ever made an impact (Iraq, N. Korea, etc.)?

I believe the current administration naively made a diplomatic attempt to deal with Tehran, and in doing so was ignored by Iran's leadership who has continually threatened Israel and any European nation that supports it.

The President of Iran, Mahmoud Admedinejad, is a sick demented terrorist that will not be deterred by the United Nations, the United States, nor the European sanction. He has ignored us at every juncture, focusing on creating Iran's nuclear capability and making Israel his prime target.

This is not Iraq or Afghanistan, nor is it questionable intelligence. This "clone of Adolph Hitler" has stood up in front of the entire world and proudly boasted that given nuclear capability, he intends to blow Israel off the face of the earth. The United States of America is one of Israel's greatest allies, and yet we are doing nothing to help them.

Israel needs our help - POST HASTE! So does Jordan, Iraq, the UAE, Europe, and any other country that may fall prey to Iran and its president. Sanctions will only work when the United Nations Security Council gets to work, gets serious, and grows a backbone!

IRAN MUST BE STOPPED AND STOPPED NOW! If the United Nations cannot or will not do it, the United States of America must step in and give Israel the support they need. Not just for the sake of Israel, but for something I pray for daily, WORLD PEACE.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Petraeus Needs a Winning Strategy, Resources

The debate over whether General Stanley McChrystal should have been relieved of his command over the comment revealed in a recent Rolling Stone Magazine by him or his aides will go on forever - however, there should be no debate that General David Petraeus is the right man to replace him. Patraeus' record speaks for itself and his military genius was demonstrated in northern Iraq in 2003 and then again in his strategy and success with the surge in Iraq in 2007. Petraeus' new command will come with terrain and operational challenges quite different from Iraq, however none of which he should not be able to overcome given the right resources to do the job. This is where he could run into a problem as his success strongly depends on his support by the President and this administration. Incompetent commanders, a lack of resources, untrained troops and a failed strategy, either combined or separate and apart, could result in a failure in battle. That being said, the President has now placed our best war fighter in command with what I believe is the best trained military in the world today. Now it's only a matter of strategy and resources. Last December the President said that, "after 18 months, our troops will begin to come home," when discussing the Afghan initiative. Petraeus, as politely as he could, disagreed with the Commander-in-Chief, saying that counterinsurgency is a "roller coaster experience," and does not lend itself to a strict timeline. Petraeus knows that the terrorists and Taliban will sit and wait us out and a timeline would embolden our enemies to change their overall strategies and sit tight until we're long gone. When Generals McChrystal and Petraeus put the Afghan initiative together, McChrystal asked for 40,000 additional combat troops to support his operation. The President on the advice of others on Capital Hill refused McChrystal's request and gave him far less than what he asked for. Why? Who knows better than the commanders on the ground as to what is needed for the mission? If the President has a real desire to win the Afghan offensive, he needs to allow General Petraeus to design the strategy and he must give him whatever he says he needs to carry out the mission. If the President refuses to do so, it will be his loss, but moreover a greater loss for the security of this country... one that we cannot afford. We have a proven winner in General Petraeus and we have the best troops money can buy. Now let's create a strategy that will win and give Petraeus what he needs to get it done. We must support Petraeus 100 % or we will be jeopardizing the lives of our brave men and women in harms way and that just cannot be.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Terror Threat Should Have Prevented Disaster

In the immediate aftermath of the attacks of 9/11, Osama Bin Laden proudly announced that the damage they expected as a result of their attacks was far less than actually occurred. He continued to call for "spectacular" attacks against the United States both here and abroad. Since then, I along with several others had predicted that some of our greatest threats would eventually come from within, from home grown and naturalized citizens who were radicalized and hated this country. It is realistically our deadliest and most dangerous threat as these people are like chameleons amongst us. The most recent arrests of Mohammed Mohmood Allessa - 20, and Carlos Amonta - 24, both of New Jersey, is an example of just that threat. Two young men, radical Islamic fundelmentalists, living in suburban communities, was intent on joining Al Shabab, a radical extremist group believed to be connected with the bombings of the United States Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania is the mid 90s. According to reports, Allessa and Amonta were dead set on killing American troops. Both men were arrested as they were about to leave the U.S., on their way to Egypt and it is questionable as to what they would have, or could have realistically accomplished. Over the past several years, New York City alone, has been the target of at least 11 terror plots, the most recent being the attempted Time Square bombing. It should be clear to a blind man, that the threats still exits and continue to grow daily, but how long will it be before these maniacs succeed in an attack, or the radical leadership regroups and establishs a chatistrhophic plan with point men that have an IQ over 10. I strongly believe that that time is coming and the recent events in the Gulf of Mexico is a clear demonstration of the amount of damage they could cause with just one such event. What if there were two? To date, close to $1 billion dollars has been spent cleaning up the Gulf of Mexico according to sources, and that is just the beginning. The economic damage to the fishing and tourism industries is far worse and will last for years to come. It's hard for me to believe that Bin Laden and his barbarians aren't sitting back watching this in humor, plotting... based on what appears to be, by all accounts a disaterous response. What's frightening is that according to a source in the Washington Post who spoke on the condition of anonymity, "Nobody as ever done what we're trying to do." So, here lies my question; WHY NOT? Knowing Bin Laden and Al Qaeda's threats in the past and their track record on 9/11, why hasn't the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security anticipated something of this magnitude? Why haven't they planned, prepared and practiced for events like this and those that could be equally chatistrophic, anticipating that our new found enemy would love nothing more than to call this, their doing? What about our power plants, water resavoirs, mass transit systems, airline control systems and national power grids? What about our ports and shipping industry and cruise lines? A dozen strikes against these types of soft target at the same time on the same day could be spectacular, in the words of Bin Laden. For now, it is outrageous that BP has failed to get this leak under control, but the government's failure to step in and get the job done, is even more concerning. President Obama should find that person that admitted they had never done this before and then have them flogged. Then he should be asking the the rest of his administration: Why aren't we prepared?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

It is Time to Move Forward…

On December 3, 2004, after three decades of dedicated service to the City of New York and to our country, President George W. Bush nominated me to become the second Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

It was a privilege and an honor, and I accepted the president’s nomination with a strong belief that my experience and success as a public servant would make this country safer in the wake of a newfound enemy as we continued to defend ourselves in the war against terror.

A week after my nomination, I withdrew my name from consideration because the confirmation process was quickly deteriorating into a tabloid nightmare which threatened to make a mockery of everything I had ever accomplished. What began with failing to pay the payroll tax of my children's nanny -- which has plagued more than a dozen presidential cabinet nominees, past and present -- became a five and a half year nightmare of local, state, and federal investigations that resulted in a fifteen count criminal indictment against me.

For nearly three years, I prepared to go to trial to defend myself against substantially the same charges I had already faced in New York State Court. Then, just days before the federal trial was to begin, my bail was revoked and I was imprisoned. The judge threatened to disqualify my legal team, which both he and the government prosecutors had already done twice before and would have sent me back to square one for the third time with my savings now exhausted.

On November 5th, 2009, I was being held in pre-trial detention and financially helpless.  I faced the prospect of remaining behind bars awaiting trial for what could have been more than a year while new court appointed lawyers prepared for my defense. As a result, I decided to accept a plea agreement offered by the government prosecutors.  I pled guilty to eight counts in exchange for a sentence of 27 to 33 months, which many legal observers have opined as severe considering the allegations made against me in the case, especially considering my otherwise unblemished record of service to this country dating back more than 30 years to my days as a young GI in Korea.

Ignoring the signed plea agreement and recommendations made by the prosecutors, as well as the recommendation of the U.S. Department of Probation and my highly decorated service to the American people, the judge sentenced me to 48 months in federal prison – 15 months over the recommended and agreed upon sentence.

Words cannot express my disappointment in the prosecutors and the judge’s behavior, and his sentence that followed.  I have repeatedly expressed remorse for what I may have done, however, unlike many, I can’t remain silent in the face of what I believe has been a gross injustice, which I pray will be remedied by an appellate court.

As I prepare to serve my sentence, I have had to likewise prepare Angelina and Celine, my seven and ten year old daughters for what is next to come and had to teach them that there are times when we are put in situations which are beyond our control and that no matter how undeserved, unsought, or unwanted, we must find the strength, courage, and perseverance to carry on and move forward.

I sat with them and watched the movie Rocky Balboa, for the sole purpose of having them watch one scene where Rocky speaks to his son and says, “The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are….it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward!”

When Sly Stallone wrote those words, he was talking about the challenges in real life and the principles of courage, strength, and perseverance.

In my life, I have been confronted with extraordinary challenges, from the age of three when I was abandoned by my own mother who was later murdered, to gun battles on the streets of New York City, through the aftermath of 9/11, to my work rebuilding a shattered Iraq, these are the principles by which I have lived.

My friends say that because I have persevered in the face of great challenge, I became a convenient target of personal and political attacks, most of which were waged by people that have never met me and know nothing about me other than the media headlines that they have read.  As I have listened to my critics, I have often wondered, how they would have fared under the same circumstances and the same scrutiny.

I have been blessed with tremendous support, friendships, and loyalties that I will never forget, and mean more to me than anyone will ever know. To those that have been in my corner and have spoken up for me, written letters of support and that have prayed for me, I offer my heartfelt thanks. It is a humbling thing to have such support, and I will forever cherish it and try to remain worthy of it.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross once said, “People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”  I’m not exactly a stained-glass window, I don’t think I’ve sparkled or shined, and I certainly don’t claim to be beautiful, but I do think there is a light within me! 

That light is my love for my wife, my children, and my country.  It is a light that they ignited; they sustain, and will guide me through the dark times ahead.

And now, as I have told Celine and Angelina, “It is time to move forward,” and end this nightmare. 

I pray for God to watch over my wife, my two little girls, and my family in my absence. I also pray that he brings us together again much sooner rather than later.

I pray for our country, its leadership, and the men and women who like my son, are on the front lines and in harm’s way everyday, protecting us from evil and defending the very freedoms by which we live.

Finally, I can only hope that history will judge me based on my 30 years of public service to our great nation, and not by tabloid headlines, my imperfections, or the mistakes that I may have made.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

In May 2001, I began researching my own childhood for my autobiography, and learned a lot about my biological mother – a woman who as a child was physically abused and whose life consisted of alcoholism and abuse, that ultimately ended with her murder.

On this Mother’s Day, I think of her tragic life, and in doing so, I also think of how God has blessed me and my daughters with their mother; a woman who lives for her two little girls and who for the past 14 years has been a fabulous step-mom to my son.

At a time that life couldn’t seem more difficult for me and my family, I thank God that she is the mother of my daughters and will be there for them.

Happy Mother’s Day Hala... and to mothers all across this country, whose love and guidance, make our children the best they can be.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Nine Years Later, We Still Don't Get It

Thank God for street vendors, the cop on the beat and an airline passenger that was willing to pounce on a would-be suicidal bomber with his underwear on fire, or we'd be in serious trouble right now. And just to be clear... The system did not work!

Could our national security credibility or economic stability survive such attacks if they were carried out? Sure, we would bounce back just as we did after 9/11, but had an airliner been blown out of the sky, and a bomb detonated in Time Square, we would have suffered a major hit in both areas.

We have got to give credit to the men and woman in our local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and we also have to be quite thankful that the recent terrorists were without question, incompetent.

For the critics that attacked the FBI for losing the Time Square bomber during a surveillance, let’s just say it's not as easy as it looks. The objective behind a surveillance is to follow the target without being spotted, and often there are things that could happen outside of your control, that will cause you to lose the target. I've done more surveillances than any of the present day leadership that I have heard speak on the topic, and can honestly say that losing a suspect, although regrettable, is completely understandable. 

However, what is also regrettable and yet not understandable, is why it has been nearly nine years since the attacks of September 11, 2001, and we still do not have the technology in place to assist in these investigations or to prevent attacks from happening; Why aren’t there legislation, laws and standards in place that outlines how terror suspects will be arrested, detained and prosecuted; and an intelligence system that works? And should I even address immigration?

Isn't anyone else as concerned as I am, that we are still debating if you should or should not Mirandize a terror suspect? Or, that had it not been for a U.S. Customs or Border Control Agent physically reviewing a flight manifest, a wanted terrorist would have escaped this country? Why doesn't Time Square have the cameras it needs and intelligent video solutions in place that would have alerted on a vehicle placed somewhere it should not have been, or because it's emergency flashers on?

I've been talking about the failures in our immigration system for years. You mean to tell me that we have not yet figured out how to flag or alert on someone like the Time Square bomber who according to reports has traveled to Pakistan eight times over the past few years. If you want to become a United States citizen, wouldn't you want your family living here as well? I would think so. How was this guy naturalized and why? There are so many loopholes in the system that it's pathetic. Here are just a few examples:

Much of the political infighting over these issues and others are preventing us from doing what has to be done to secure this country and unfortunately, there will come a time when the street vendor and Good Samaritan aren't around.

Today, 16 months into the president’s term, the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) has no administrator and that is the doing of our legislators, and no one else. 

Erroll Southers, a 30 year law enforcement professional who worked and won respect for his work with the FBI, Santa Monica police, L.A. airport police and in academia was nominated for the job and slaughtered because of a mistake he made 22 years ago. Since that mistake, which he admitted to, he went on to become a highly qualified and respected law enforcement executive with close to an impeccable background that should have gained him the position he was nominated for, and yet it did not. 

That man should have gotten the job and he didn't because of nothing more than partisan politics and that is wrong.

It was and is our loss.

Our system and our leadership is failing. With everyday that goes by, our enemy is learning and preparing for their next attack. 

We need to act, before it is to late.

***Please click here: and see what Al-Qaeda has learned by this most recent event.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Our Legislators and Leadership Needs to Wake UP

Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistan-born U.S. citizen has been arrested for parking the bomb-laden SUV in Times Square, which could have killed hundreds if not thousands of people. Kudos to the members of the NYPD and Joint Terrorist Task Force.

Luckily for us, his concoction of explosives failed to detonate and a local street vendor notified a mounted police officer that initiated what appears to be by all accounts a textbook response.

Today, there are more than 100 definitions of terrorism, and they differ even within the United States government. However, at a bare minimum and according to the FBI, terrorism is the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a Government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.

From the outset of this event, there were still members of our government at various levels debating or showing reluctance to classify this as a terrorist act, and based on the contents of the vehicle, where it was placed and the damage that could have been done, I find that hard to believe.

After the arrest of Najibullah Zazi last year, the man who planned the attack of the New York City subway system, I wrote a column outlining just some of the loopholes in our immigration laws that could allow our enemies to infiltrate our borders legally. Given that Shahzad was naturalized just last year, and that his wife is living in Pakistan, it is evidently clear that the system is flawed and needs repaired.

Vigilance and intelligence is a must if we are going to be victorious over this enemy, but we need to address the immigration loopholes that presently exist.

The investigative abilities of the United States government at the local, state and federal levels are the best in the world, and our response protocols are getting better everyday as well. It is the leadership and our legislators that must catch up.

We still have leaders that are in denial or attempting to be politically correct when responding to events like this, and there are very few legislators, that truly understand the threats we face and are full steam ahead in creating new laws or amending old ones to keep us safe.

The frequency of the attacks against us are increasing and it is only a matter of time before a good Samaritan, like the Manhattan vendor is no where to be found.

We really really need to wake up.

Arrest Made in New York City Bomb Plot

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Reflections on the NYC Car Bomb

For more that eight years, I have been stressing that vigilance and intelligence will be the most important factors in combating and winning over terrorism.

The public understanding the threats we face is extremely important as well, for not for them on Christmas Day and last night, both of these events could have had very different results.

Authorities are saying they’re not sure who and why the vehicle was placed there. As for Who? It makes no difference, be it Al-Qaida, a White Supremacist Group or a group like the Black Liberation Army or Weather Underground back in the 70s;  It is 100 % terrorism.

Terrorism involves the threat of, or acts of violence to a society  that are intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping.

As for Why? It was clearly a weapon of mass destruction based on it’s content.

It's been said to be “amateurish,” however, so was the the attacks on September 11th... A bunch of nitwits with box cutters... and were the bombings in Madrid, or Piccadilly Circus... 

Amateurs can kill thousands of people... All they have to do is slip thru the cracks.

My fear is that eventually they will. 

We’re not going to be able to stop every event (being right 100% of the time). For our enemy’s, if they’re on only 1% of the time, it could be devastating – that’s why vigilance and intelligence are so important.

As to the response: No one has the resources that the NYPD has, and no one has the response protocols that they do, dating back to 1996 when the NYC Office of Emergency Management was created. So, as unfortunate as we are that these things happen, in some strange way, it is fortunate in happens in a place that is best prepared to deal with them.

As to suspects... there is no doubt in my mind that whoever is responsible will be arrested - and unless they were highly sophisticated in the acquisition of their of equipment including the car, it will be days and weeks vs. months or years.

Again, as fate or luck would have it, it's being handled by the greatest police department in the world, the NYPD.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

United Nations' Lunacy, Iran's Mockery

In keeping with the United Nations recent decision to elect Iran to its Commission on the Status of Women, they may want to now consider appointing Obama Bin Laden to their Security Council. Read Here:

Friday, April 16, 2010

No Jail Time for Imam Convicted in NYC Terror Plot

KERIK Speak's to New York's WPIX News

NEW YORK (WPIX) - In his first interview since his February 18th sentencing, former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik spoke exclusively with PIX 11 News for a candid one-on-one interview with WPIX reporter Monica Morales. Click on the headline above for Part 1 of that interview, and click here for Part 2

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Unfortunate Reality of Friendly Fire in Combat

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Sunday that he backs the troops on the Apache attack that killed 12 people, including two Reuters news staff members. 

Friday, January 29, 2010

New Legislation for a New Enemy

After nearly every terrorist attack by a radical Islamic extremist group, the cowards behind the attacks do their best to promote their deadly deeds by proudly taking credit for the death and destruction they have caused or attempted to cause.

Osama Bin Laden couldn’t refrain from going public after the attacks on the World Trade Center, just as he did this week in trying to claim responsibility for the attempted Christmas Day bombing of the KLM flight by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. While Bin Laden’s claim was widely described as a bit of nasty credit stealing, claiming responsibility, whether real or not, enables the group to instill fear into the minds and hearts of their enemy, which is a substantial part of what terrorism is all about.

The bigger the soap box terrorists can stand on to proclaim their message, the more effective they can be at instilling fear and furthering their agenda. This is one reason why the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, the alleged mastermind of the attacks on America on 9/11, should not be allowed to take place in New York City. The international press and media coverage would be every bit as intense as it was in the aftermath of the attacks on the Towers, and would be a inspiration to every maniac out there who thinks nothing of strapping on a bomb belt and blowing himself and as many innocents as possible into a thousand pieces, believing it’s the right thing to do.

The security concerns for a trial like this would come close to shutting down southern Manhattan, as we did in the aftermath of 9/11. Businesses, government agencies, and residents alike would suffer greatly, as caution dictates that abundant security elements would be needed to secure areas around the courthouse, detention center, FBI headquarters, other government buildings, and a myriad of soft targets.

The reality is that it would be in the best interest of New York City and the American people that this trial does not happen in New York City or, for that matter, in any other major city in our country.
If the reports that the venue for the terror trial has been changed from New York City are true, this should be broadened to “Any American city.” A trial in DC, for example, would provide a tremendous backdrop for pro-terrorist propaganda. Los Angeles would provide Hollywood contrasts. Kansas City would let them set their propaganda against the Heartland. All cities would suffer tremendous security costs and risk being targeted for revenge attacks.

Consideration should be given to situating all trials of suspected terrorists and enemy combatants against the U.S. on a secluded military installation that can provide the perimeter security required for such an event and that can accommodate the security requirements for detention and court proceedings. Indeed, it wouldn’t be foolish to keep the location secret for as long as possible.

I strongly believe that it’s time we change the way we are handling the enemy altogether. Forget what the Clinton or Bush Administrations have done in the past and who was tried when and where or how prior incidents were handled. Forget what Bush or Obama has or hasn’t done and just face the reality, that terrorism is here to stay, and here in a bigger way than ever before in our history.
We need to prepare now, for how we will handle terrorism and attacks against the United States by enemies foreign and domestic.

Does new legislation need to be drafted, to outline how suspected terrorists will be detained – where and by whom – and where and how they will be tried? If those detained are truly enemy combatants, as I believe they are, then are there laws on the books to provide the necessary funding, resources and tools we need to get us from point A – Z, once they are captured and taken into custody?

If there are grey areas in the law, now is the time to turn those areas into black and white, and get it over with. We can’t continue to play political hot potato every time one of these guys is taken into custody in the United States or abroad.

An enemy is at war with us in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Africa, and even right here, right in our own backyard. Just because they don’t wear the uniform of another country or follow the orders of its leader doesn’t mean a terrorist shouldn’t be considered an enemy of the state. That’s what the terrorists are and the tactics they employ, exploiting out society’s freedom of movement and protections of individual rights, are especially dangerous.

These people are malicious chameleons, that can’t be seen; they are especially deadly because they can’t be seen – something we may have to address with legislation as well. This is the terrible dilemma that we face:we have an enemy that exploits our freedoms and then turns them against us.
We must continue to defend our freedoms but we need to learn how to balance our right to privacy against the dangers we face and our God given right to live in a safe and secure environment.

If the Geneva Convention no longer fits the kind of warfare in which we are now engaged, then let’s amend it. If the United Nations is incapable of enforcing its own rules, then we must ignore it to save ourselves.

Let’s not worry about what other people around the world think because history has clearly demonstrated that, when it comes to our national security, we’re on our own.
We need to fix a system that’s obviously broken before it is too late.

This is a new enemy that we must learn how to deal with. It’s time to face the fact that we’re going to have to carve out a new path to victory over those who are attempting to use our own constitution and institutions to destroy us.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Crisis in Haiti

Every disaster, natural or man-made, demands a response tailored to its particular challenges, but the lessons learned through handling past disasters can help avoid predictable mistakes.

The most substantial difference between the response to the attack on the World Trade Center and Katrina disaster was the management of the crisis. It remains an open question how well disaster relief for Haiti will be managed and coordinated.

In New York City, after the attacks of September 11th, there was a unified command structure, with the Mayor or Governor sitting in charge at executive management meetings three to four times a day. Those meetings consisted of all of the agencies responsible for running the city or state. Anything and everything that had to be done was coordinated in those meetings and delegated to the appropriate agency for handling. There was constant follow-up at these meetings to insure that the tasks assigned to agencies were carried out.By having so many regularly scheduled, highly focused meetings, crisis management strategies could be quickly modified as conditions changed or new information became available. If additional follow-up was required, it was only a matter of hours before the next meeting would be held, and any problems not taken care of in the field could be resolved quickly.

Coordination of volunteer assistance and resources is essential, and, just as there must be a unified executive command, the operational areas must also have a defined chain of command and mechanisms to promptly communicate necessary information from the executive command center to the operational or event commanders in the field.

In contrast to New York’s handling of September 11th, this kind of executive leadership never happened during the Katrina crisis. Although all parties were well intentioned, the Governor was going one way and the Mayor of New Orleans another, with the Mayor failing to communicate with federal assistance personnel. This chaotic absence of coordinated management only added to the crisis at hand.

September 11th and Katrina posed immense management challenges. The situation in Haiti, however, is far worse. The Haiti crisis is of epic proportion. All the issues we had to deal with in the United States during 9/11 or Katrina will be multiplied a hundred-fold, perhaps a thousand-fold. The importance of a unified command that efficiently manages the flow of information and resources to operational commanders in the field cannot be overstated. These are absolutely essential components for the best outcome for Haiti catastrophe relief efforts.

Haiti needs all the resources they can get through charitable contributions and foreign governments. Collecting, transporting, storing, and distributing resources poses an immense, complex challenge.
First and foremost, getting water and food and medical supplies to the people is a top priority. Relief leaders must do whatever it’s going to take to prevent the spread of disease. To minimize risk, supplies should be delivered within the first 72 hours – and the quake struck last Tuesday. Every passing hour in an area with contaminated water, insect-borne disease, and insufficient sanitation facilities puts survivors and rescuers at greater and greater risk.

For those interested in donating money to a Haiti-related charity, there are two things to keep in mind. You want to make sure that as much of your charitable dollar as possible reaches those who are suffering, rather than to support the administrative costs of whatever charity you’re considering giving to. A good rule of thumb is to choose a charity whose administrative fee does not exceed 10%. You can find this information for free online, through the searchable database at Charity Navigator. You don’t want to donate money to a life-and-death cause like Haiti relief, only to find that 50% of your money is going toward the charity’s administrative costs and employee salaries.

The other thing you should be aware of is that you must make sure the charity you’ve chosen will direct the full amount of your donation to Haiti relief. Even with a legitimate charity, you want to direct and to verify that all that the money you donate is going to Haiti relief, not to a bigger pot with only a portion of it going to Haiti.

We saw an historic problem of this kind in New York after September 11th. The Red Cross set up a fund to provide relief to the victims of the terrorist attacks.By November, 2001, the fund totaled $564 million in donations. Red Cross officials then decided to use 2/3 of these donations for other purposes, such as upgrading Red Cross computer and phone systems, which resulted in public outrage and Congressional hearings. So it’s important, even with the most trustworthy charity, to write your check so that the charity is obliged to use your money in the way you intend.

The President has already committed $100M in support to the government of Haiti and other governments should be doing the same. However, under no circumstance do I think that we should do so without conditions being put on that money, as to where it goes and how it should be spent, with methods of accountability installed to insure that it is used for the purpose it was granted.

I believe Haiti is going to be a test case for international compassion and coordination, and already it is pretty evident that the United States once again will lead the way. Where are Russia, China, and some of the other countries on the so-called world stage? China has pledged $1 million – a far cry from the $100 million the U.S. has pledged.

If other powerful nations can’t produce at times like this, when an entire country is on the verge of extinction, then we and the rest of the world need to seriously re-evaluate what we do for them, and with them.

God bless the people of Haiti, and Godspeed to those who go there to help the Haitian people.