Ray Kelly is ready to return to Washington.
The NYPD commissioner is “definitely” interested in heading up the US Department of Homeland Security, a law-enforcement source told The Post.
“He definitely would like it and would seriously consider the job if it’s offered to him,” the source said.
President Obama on Tuesday called Kelly, 71, “very well-qualified” to run the department as the administration searches for a replacement for the departing Janet Napolitano.
But the president stopped short of offering the job to Kelly, saying he expected to have “a bunch” of qualified candidates for the high-profile anti-terrorism post.
Support for Kelly is building among New York’s congressional delegation and within the law-enforcement community.
“I think he’d be terrific, I really do. He’s got all the relevant experience,” former federal judge and Attorney General Michael Mukasey told The Post.
“The mandate of the Department of Homeland Security is to deal with terrorism, with the border, with natural disasters. He’s had experience dealing with all of it. He has a complete understanding of the issues, and he’s got his head screwed on straight,” said the Bronx-born Mukasey, who has known Kelly since serving as AG under President George W. Bush from 2007 to 2009.
“He has also run perhaps the best intelligence-gathering operation outside the federal government,” he added. “He’d be superb.”
New York lawmakers from both sides of the aisle were also on board.
“Commissioner Kelly would be the perfect choice because he is the epitome of leadership, a consummate professional and his vast experience puts him on anyone’s short list,” said Rep. Mike Grimm (R-SI), a Marine vet and former FBI agent.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand joined fellow Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer in boosting Kelly’s candidacy.
“The federal government would benefit from Kelly’s hands-on experience in successfully thwarting over a dozen terrorist attacks,” Gillibrand said.
It wouldn’t be the first federal gig for the 43-year NYPD veteran, a Democrat.
He served under then-President Bill Clinton as undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at the Treasury from 1996 to 1998, and then as commissioner of Customs from 1998 to 2001.
Republished with permission of The New York Post