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Polishing reputations

July 15, 2005

If patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels, as Dr. Samuel Johnson wrote in 1775, what are we to make of some former NYPD officials of dubious reputation who resurfaced after last week's London train bombing?

Let's begin with the NYPD's Lost Son, former commissioner Bernard Kerik, who after flaming out as the future Homeland Security director six months ago, reappeared on a half dozen news shows.

Lisa Pinto of CNN actually introduced Kerik as follows: "You've been all over. You were in Giuliani Partners. You weren't just commissioner of New York. You visited a lot of different cities."

Perhaps Pinto was in one of those cities during Baghdad Bernie's public demise and missed the revelations of his bankruptcies, associations with alleged mob cronies and use of a Ground Zero love nest - in short, the reasons he was forced to leave Giuliani Partners.

There beside Kerik on the airwaves was another NYPD self-promoter, the former detective turned "Imus in the Morning" radio celebrity, Bo Dietl. So what expert words did the Bo-man offer? He told CNN: "Immediately you see somebody - some package that looks suspicious, go to that cop. That's the most important thing. Everybody has their eyes and their ears open."

Then there was that charming rogue Nick Casale, the former first grade detective and professional coat-holder for former Chief of Department Louie Anemone. Last week, Casale dissed the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for its security failures in the city's subways.

The television reporters who flocked to Casale's office Wednesday never asked about his and Anemone's dismissals from the MTA after both the Queens and Manhattan district attorneys concluded Casale had created a phony informant as he and Anemone investigated alleged MTA corruption.

At Casale's side sat his attorney Norman Siegel, who formerly defended the downtrodden as head of the New York Civil Liberties Union and who tried to forestall questions about Casale's troubles, maintaining they were "not relevant" to the news conference.

In our topsy-turvy, post-9/11 terrorism world, Siegel called Casale "the quintessential whistle-blower.

"Et tu, Ray? Even Police Commissioner Ray Kelly couldn't restrain himself after the London bombings. He told a reporter that NYPD detective Ira Greenberg, stationed in London as part of Kelly's overseas terrorism spy service, was working with London cops and had provided key information within 24 hours of the blasts.

What information this was, Kelly didn't say. London officials have acknowledged their preliminary findings - such as the timing and sophistication of the bombs - were incorrect.

The fighting McCarthys. Deputy Commissioner Garry McCarthy not only had his gun taken by Palisades Interstate Parkway police but also was handcuffed, along with his wife, Gina, after a scuffle with two parkway officers, Newsday has learned.

According to a police source, the scuffle occurred after McCarthy and his wife arrived in an NYPD-issued Ford Explorer minutes after their daughter, Kyla, telephoned to say she had been ticketed for parking in a handicapped zone.

McCarthy, gun in his waistband, banged on the driver's side of the officers' car, preventing the driver from exiting. The officer's partner came around and a scuffle ensued. The officers handcuffed McCarthy, took his gun and placed it in their patrol car, but it was retrieved by McCarthy's wife, who was also handcuffed. The two were taken to parkway headquarters. McCarthy was released after officers learned he was an NYPD deputy commissioner. His gun was returned - but not handed back. In a gesture of disgust, the cops threw it in the back seat of the Explorer.

Ranting. Officer Edward Polstein may have been exercising his constitutional right to free speech by bad-mouthing Kelly and other top brass on his Web site, NYPD Rant. But let's just say you can't believe everything that appears on it.

Take Sunday's claim that Kelly sent a message to the troops, stating they had to use their police ID number to sign in and out of the Rant.

Kelly sent no such message, although one Ranter posted the following response: "Do we get overtime?"

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© 2005 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.