Huffpost New York
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Len Levitt Headshot

Not Even Prison Walls Can Shut Bernie Up

Posted: Updated:
Print Article

The blog was dated Monday, June 7, 2010. The posting time read: 8:47 P.M.

Below the date, in red lettering, was the headline: "Terror Threat Should Have Prevented Disaster."

And then these words (albeit with a couple of misspellings) that the writer felt the world had to hear:

"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. ... 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 hate this country. ... The most recent arrests of Mohammed Mohood Allessa, (sic) 20, and Carlos Amonta, (sic) 24, both of New Jersey, is an example of that."

That's right, readers. The world's most irrepressible terrorism fighter, Bernard Kerik, has found a way to blog from inside federal prison in Cumberland, Maryland, on the West Virginia border, which he entered last month and where he could be spending the next four years.

Surprised that he was able to circumvent the barriers most prisoners face? Don't be. When it comes to Kerik, little is predictable.

Until he entered prison last month, Kerik continued to write on his website, insisting that despite his guilty plea to eight corruption counts, he was a victim of relentless government persecution.

Now in prison, Kerik's internet presence remains alive, apparently with help from someone on the outside who is receiving his emails and then posting them.

According to a source expert in prison ways, Kerik is allowed to write authorized emails using "Corrlinks," a service that bills itself as "a way for family and friends to communicate with their loved ones incarcerated in prison."

"The inmate has to register the individual, that person receives authorization to accept the emails," says the source. "They monitor everything he says."

Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman T Billingsley did not return a phone call.

Whoever that person is on the outside, he's packaging the emails to launder Kerik's past.

For example, a square box at the top of the page tells us in capital letters that "Bernard B. Kerik was the 40th Police Commissioner of the New York City Police Department and in command of the NYPD during and in the aftermath of the attacks on America on Sept. 11, 2001. He later served as the interim Minister of the Interior of Iraq and in December, 2004, was nominated as the Secretary of the U.S. Dept of Homeland Security."

Absent is any mention of Kerik's departing Iraq after just three months with no explanation.

Nor is there mention of his problems forcing him to withdraw his nomination for the Homeland Security job.

In addition, there's nothing about his guilty plea or his four-year prison sentence, which goes 15 months beyond federal guidelines because he disregarded a judicial order, barring him from leaking sealed grand jury material to the media.

That included a reckless and unsupported internet posting, declaring that the feds had threatened to destroy him and his family if he didn't plead guilty to bribery and conspiracy charges - which he subsequently did.

Over on the right hand side of the page, the title reads, "About Me" with a slimmed-down snapshot of Kerik without those massive shoulders that he seemed to have lost since being placed under house arrest after he pleaded guilty. It begins: "Bernard Kerik is one of the most accomplished law enforcement executives in the United States." Sounds like Bernie never left home.

It's one thing to plead guilty to federal corruption charges, as Kerik did. It's another to be permitted to blog from prison and claim, in effect, that his guilty plea never occurred.

On the other hand, you've got to give Kerik credit. He just won't quit.

DARKNESS AT NOON. The forces of darkness won big last week when a federal appeals court sided with the police department.

Overturning two lower court decisions, the court ruled that the NYPD could keep secret 1,800 pages of documents about the work of its Intelligence Division undercover officers who were sent all over the world to spy on groups planning to protest the 2004 Republican National Convention at Madison Square Garden.

While protective of the NYPD, the decision is disastrous for the city and will encourage even more secrecy in a department that provides less information to the public than any in modern city history.

Obviously spooked by fears of another terrorist attack, the judges' ruling came just three days after authorities arrested two more mopes, this time from New Jersey, who were plotting "jihad" against us.

Four years ago, an undercover detective of Egyptian descent from the NYPD's Intelligence Division befriended the two, Mohamed Mahmood Alessa and Carlos Eduardo Almonte when they were 20 and 16-years-old respectively.

Since 2006, the undercover has secretly tape-recorded their threats to harm America.

Authorities arrested the pair last weekend as they boarded separate planes for Egypt, supposedly to join a Somali terrorist group "to commit violent jihad," according to the government's press release.

Here's hoping the government didn't play too heavy a hand in leading the two along the primrose path, as the FBI did a year ago with four other terror mopes from upstate Newburgh.

In that case, a Bureau informant supplied the four with fake explosives and a fake Stinger surface-to-air missile so that they could blow up two Bronx synagogues and a military aircraft.

As for the two Jersey terror mopes, let's see who paid for their airlines tickets to Egypt. Let's hope it wasn't the NYPD or the feds.

MIKE BAD, JOE WORSE. So prosecutorial mistakes have forced Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes to drop murder charges last week against Jabbar Collins, who had served 15 years in prison for a murder that he didn't commit.

Hynes' action seemed designed to prevent testimony, scheduled the next day, from his top prosecutor, Michael Vecchione, and from a former Assistant District Attorney, Stacey Frascogna, about Vecchione's alleged misconduct in the case.

Collins' defense attorney, Joel Rudin, had accused Vecchione of secretly promising leniency to a witness when he and Frascogna had traveled to Puerto Rico together in 1995 to subpoena the witness. Vecchione has claimed there were no deals.

This is the second time that Hynes moved to shield Vecchione from questions in that case.

In 2000, Your Humble Servant, then in the employ of Newsday, also sought some answers about the case but for a different reason.

Vecchione and Frascogna were rumored to have been having an affair and sources in the DA's office had accused Vecchione of promoting her and others based on personal relationships.

Newsday filed a Freedom of Information request, seeking hotel records and expense reports of that 1995 trip to Puerto Rico. Hynes refused to provide the records and threatened to sue if Newsday wrote about the matter.

"In the event Newsday chooses to publish any of the contents or allegations ... we will be forced to pursue the matter with legal action," his press secretary, one Kevin Davitt, wrote to Newsday's editor-in-chief Anthony Marro.

Undeterred, Newsday sued in Brooklyn State Supreme Court for the information. In March, 2001, Brooklyn State Supreme Court Justice Edward K. Pincus ordered Hynes to answer Newsday's questions: specifically, how long did Vecchione and Fracogna stay in Puerto Rico? Did they fly coach or first class? How much was the cost of meals and hotels? Did they have separate rooms?

On March 29, 2001, Vecchione contacted Your Humble Servant, saying that he was speaking with Hynes' approval.

He acknowledged that while chief of the homicide bureau, he and Frascogna had traveled to Puerto Rico in 1995 to subpoena a witness to testify against Collins. He said he and Frascogna stayed in separate rooms at the San Juan Hilton hotel.

He also said that Frascogna, who speaks Spanish, had established a rapport with the witness and proved so "charming" that the witness voluntarily returned to testify against Collins.

Vecchione added that his actions were perfectly proper and that only some months later did he and Frascogna begin a relationship that lasted through 1998.