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Context of '(Summer 2001): FBI Agent O’Neill Tells New York Police Commissioner Kerik Something ‘Enormous’ Will Happen'

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Logo of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.Logo of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. [Source: International Association of Chiefs of Police]John O’Neill, special agent in charge of the FBI’s national security division in New York, tells New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik that something “enormous” is going to happen, but it is likely to occur abroad rather than in the United States. The two men talk at a meeting of the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Washington, DC, which is about terrorism. They have a long discussion during which O’Neill says there is “an enormous amount of chatter,” Kerik will later recall. “There is something that’s going to happen,” he says, and “it’s going to be big, it’s going to be enormous.” According to Kerik, O’Neill believes this event—presumably a terrorist attack—will occur somewhere other than in the US. “His assumption at the time and what he told me personally” is that “whatever was going to happen was going to happen outside of this country,” Kerik will say. [9/11 Commission, 5/18/2004] O’Neill and Kerik are members of the terrorism committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. [City of New York, 9/20/2001; US Congress. Senate. Committee on the Judiciary, 12/11/2001; Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/11/2006] O’Neill is also “the FBI’s top expert on al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden,” according to New York magazine. [New York Magazine, 12/17/2001] The two men have “a very good relationship,” Kerik will comment. [9/11 Commission, 4/6/2004]

Entity Tags: Bernard Kerik, John O’Neill

Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

Senator John McCain (R-AZ), considered a leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, says former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik did an irresponsible job training police officers in Iraq (see May 2003 - July 2003). McCain’s criticism of Kerik is an indirect means of attacking former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, another Republican presidential contender. Kerik withdrew his name from consideration for head of the Department of Homeland Security—a position Giuliani recommended him for—amid questions about his corrupt business practices (see December 13, 2004). McCain, whose comments are made the same day Kerik surrenders to face federal corruption charges in New York, says Giuliani’s longtime friendship and business relationships with Kerik are reason to doubt Giuliani’s judgment. McCain says of Kerik’s job performance in Iraq: “I don’t know Mr. Kerik. I do know that I went to Baghdad shortly after the initial victory and met in Baghdad with [then-ambassador Paul] Bremer and [Lieutenant General Ricardo] Sanchez. And Kerik was there. Kerik was supposed to be there to help train the police force. He stayed two months and one day left, just up and left.… That’s why I never would’ve supported him to be the head of homeland security because of his irresponsible act when he was over in Baghdad to try and help train the police. One of the reasons why we had so much trouble with the initial training of the police was because he came, didn’t do anything, and then went out to the airport and left.” McCain is joined on the campaign trail by former DHS Secretary Tom Ridge, who says of Giuliani: “It was clear the mayor and I had a different view what the department does and the kind of leadership it needed. His judgment would’ve been different than mine.… We’re not talking about some urban city patronage job. That’s not what a Cabinet secretary’s about.” [Associated Press, 11/9/2007]

Entity Tags: US Department of Homeland Security, Bernard Kerik, John McCain, Rudolph (“Rudy”) Giuliani, Tom Ridge

Timeline Tags: Iraq under US Occupation

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