Michael Balboni: Governor Spitzer’s Homeland Security Lackey – By George J. Marlin

Republican Michael Balboni believed a stint in the Spitzer Administration as Homeland Security Deputy Secretary would enhance his image as an anti-terrorist expert and enable him to rake in the dollars as a security consultant in his next life.

Recent events, however, had to deflate Balboni’s future financial expectations.

First there was Balboni’s failure to detect a security problem in his own office.  Balboni had to banish his top aide, William Howard, when it was revealed that he was a key plotter in the Troopergate scandal.

Now Balboni must be the chief cheerleader for Spitzer’s ill-conceived plan to give driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants.

Despite the fact that Mayor Bloomberg, most law enforcement officials and county clerks, and 72 percent of New Yorkers oppose the plan, Balboni must shout “right on” when Spitzer labels opponents as immoral, unethical or on the fringe of society.

Balboni looked like a fool when he returned from Washington last week with a revised three-tier program which permits issuance of driver’s licenses to illegal aliens; an enhanced license for citizens to cross the Canadian border without a passport; and a license that will be accepted as valid I.D. for citizens to enter airports and federal buildings.

To rationalize the need for this ridiculous “compromise” program (which will be confusing and a nightmare to administer) Balboni whined that it was the feds fault.   “[They were] ready to say [Spitzer’s original plan] was a threat to national security,” Balboni said.

But the Feds quickly blew Balboni’s cover.  U.S. Homeland Secretary Michael Chertoff, when asked to comment on the new plan, said, “I don’t endorse giving driver’s licenses to people who are not here legally [but] federal law does allow states to make the choice.”

Sent on the road to promote this new policy, Balboni fell flat on his face at a meeting of the Sheriff’s Association.  The organization rejected Balboni’s argument that it was really a security enhancement, stating “…we do not feel that providing a driver’s license to illegal immigrants is appropriate and, as an association, we do not support that program.”

Livingston County Sheriff, John York, reflected the views of his colleagues saying, “When you allow people you know are lawbreakers to be legitimized with a New York license, what kind of example are you setting?”

By defending the indefensible, Michael Balboni is viewed by federal and local law enforcement officials as a laughing stock.  And when he leaves the Spitzer Administration, he will not be hailed as the new Giuliani of the safety industry.

[For more on Balboni see the September 9 posting “Michael Balboni:  Albany’s Lonely Man.”]

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One Comment on “Michael Balboni: Governor Spitzer’s Homeland Security Lackey – By George J. Marlin”

  1. Jacob Says:

    Balboni has jumped the shark. He should have stayed in the Senate.


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