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Keeping quiet about summons

March 4, 2005

The blue wall of silence is alive and well at One Police Plaza.

No, the blue wall isn't protecting the four cops in the fatal shooting of Amadou Diallo. Nor is it abetting the cops in the sodomy of Abner Louima.

Rather, the silence at the top of the NYPD involves Deputy Commissioner Garry McCarthy, who, with his wife and daughter, received a summons last month from the Palisades Interstate Parkway Police in New Jersey.

Deputy Commissioner for Public Information Paul Browne said McCarthy's summons does not rise to the department's level of discipline.

How does Browne know? Did he question the parkway police who issued the summons? Did Internal Affairs conduct an investigation?

According to Det. Lt. Nelson Pagan of the parkway police, no one from the NYPD has contacted them.

Asked whether the black Ford Explorer McCarthy was driving that night - his wife with him - was a Police Department vehicle, Browne said, "No comment."

Asked whether McCarthy was carrying a pistol and whether, as a civilian, he was permitted to carry out of state, Browne said, "No comment."

Asked whether drinking might have precipitated McCarthy's conduct, Browne did not respond.

The incident began at 11:20 p.m. on Feb. 18 when McCarthy's daughter, Kyla, was summoned for parking in a handicapped space at a gas station north of the George Washington Bridge.

According to the police report, which was made available to Newsday, she told the officer who issued her the summons, "My father is a deputy commissioner for the NYPD."

Half an hour later, McCarthy and his wife, Regina, arrived. McCarthy, Pagan said, was given a "personal violation" under New Jersey's disorderly conduct sub-section for "obstructing vehicular or pedestrian traffic." His wife received a summons under the same sub-section for "unreasonable noise."

McCarthy has served as deputy commissioner of operations for three commissioners. Then-Commissioner Howard Safir appointed him. Safir's successor Bernard Kerik threatened to fire McCarthy twice for reasons that are unclear, a ranking police official and a top Kerik aide told Newsday. Each time, they said, aides talked Kerik out of it.

Since 2002, McCarthy has served current Commissioner Ray Kelly apparently without incident - until now.

Asked his position on McCarthy's incident in New Jersey, Kelly said Wednesday, "I have no comment."

Two-way street? In the past, it was a one-way street: The FBI refused to share information with local authorities and credited itself when arrests were made.

The revelation that the Madrid train bombers had a crude drawing of Grand Central Terminal indicates this has changed.

Note the following:

A year ago, right after the Madrid bombings, the NYPD and FBI separately sent representatives to interview the Spanish authorities. The FBI later complained the NYPD wasn't sharing its information.

In November, Spanish authorities gave the Grand Central drawing information to the FBI. The FBI passed it to the NYPD. Wednesday, it was Kelly, not anyone from the FBI, who discussed the situation publicly.

Asked at his news conference whether the NYPD had shared its info with the FBI, Kelly answered, "Yes." He did not elaborate.

Asked the same question - and whether that information was provided in a timely manner - FBI spokesman Jim Margolin appeared to hedge.

"We are not going to engage in a dialogue about what information has been shared or how timely this sharing has been," he said.

As Bernie turns. Here's the latest version of Kerik's tale of Homeland Security woes as related by one of his followers:

Kerik's key White House supporter was President George W. Bush's chief of staff, Andrew Card. Point man was Bush's then-counsel and now attorney general, Albert Gonzalez, to whom Kerik revealed everything - three wives, bankruptcy and foreclosure in New Jersey, daughter born out of wedlock, $5-million sale of Taser stock and relationship with alleged mob associate Larry Ray, who paid for Kerik's 1998 wedding.

And it really was Kerik's Mexican immigrant nanny - not the disclosures about his past - that sunk him. The nanny, whose name Kerik still refuses to divulge, supposedly gave her sister's Social Security number when Kerik's wife hired her.

Is any of this true? Reader, you decide.

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© 2005 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.