The Washington Post’s John Mintz and Lucy “Rusty” Shackleford on the next Homeland Security Czar’s interesting C.V.
Bernard Kerik, President George W. Bush’s nominee to head the Department of Homeland Security, recounts a time 20 years ago when he was expelled from Saudi Arabia amid a power struggle involving the head of a hospital where Kerik helped run the security staff.
In his 2001 memoir “The Lost Son,” Kerik described his discomfort at investigating employees’ private lives but said it was necessary because of Saudi laws prohibiting drinking and mingling of the sexes in public.
Since he was nominated last week to be homeland security secretary, however, nine former hospital employees have said that Kerik and his colleagues were carrying out the private agenda of hospital administrator Nizar Feteih, and that the surveillance involved people’s private affairs.
Feteih used the hospital’s security staff to track the private lives of women with whom he was romantically involved and men who came in contact with them, the ex-employees said.
Kerik personally surveilled some employees and confronted them with the results, employees said.
“Kerik was a goon,” said John Jones, a former manager, who said he felt harassed by security men. “They were Gestapo.”
“Kerik used heavy-handed tactics in following single men around and keeping them away from some women,” said Dr. Ted Bailey.
Added paramedic Michael Queen, “Men and women had to be careful with security, but Bernie was the one we watched out for the most.”
“Bernie Kerik was an enforcer” for the head of the security office and for hospital administrator Feteih, Dr. Dan Mackey said. “It was sinister.”
Dr. John Froude recalled that in one encounter with Kerik, “he summoned me to his office and slid a piece of paper toward me and said, ‘I want you to tell me what is incorrect in this,'” Froude said. “It was an account of how I’d dated some women. I said, ‘Besides the spelling errors, it’s correct.’ He got out of his chair and said, ‘Don’t get fresh with me, doc.'”