Jewish World Review Dec. 13, 2004 / 30 Kislev, 5765
Kerik: bin Laden was my gardener
Nominee withdraws over memory goof
Former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik withdrew his name from consideration for the post of Homeland Security Secretary after admitting that he employed al-Qaeda terror kingpin Osama bin Laden as a gardener during the late 1980's.
Speaking in Washington, Mr. Kerik said he regretted not remembering earlier that Mr. bin Laden had been in his employ, calling the memory lapse "a stupid mistake."
"When the president asked me if there was anything in my past that might disqualify me for the Homeland Security job, I've got to admit that I drew a blank," Mr. Kerik said. "I didn't even think of the three years that Osama bin Laden was my gardener."
Mr. Kerik's bombshell caused shockwaves throughout official Washington, with many administration figures wondering how an international terror mastermind came to work for the former police commissioner in the first place.
"The Osama bin Laden I knew was not an evil madman," Mr. Kerik said. "Back then, he was just a guy who was good with hedges."
But hours after Mr. Kerik's announcement, Mr. bin Laden appeared on the Arabic-language al-Jazeera network to say that he was "hurt" that Mr. Kerik had forgotten about the years he spent tending the police commissioner's flower beds.
"After all of the pruning, raking and mowing I did for Bernard Kerik, this is a real slap in the face," Mr. bin Laden said. "And people wonder why I'm so mad all the time."
Elsewhere, President Bush voiced support for U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, warning that a new head of the U.N. would mean "a whole other name I'd have to learn to pronounce."
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JWR Contributor Andy Borowitz, the first-ever recipient of the National Press Club's Award for Humor, is a former president of the Harvard Lampoon,and a regular humor columnist for Newsweek.com, The New Yorker, The New York Times and TV Guide. Recognized by Esquire magazine as one of the most powerful producers in television, he was the creator and producer of the hit TV series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and producer of the Oscar-nominated film Pleasantville. He is the author of, most recently, "The Borowitz Report : The Big Book of Shockers" Comments by clicking here. Visit his website by clicking here.
© 2004, Andy Borowitz