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Opening Arguments

Mug shot

I was surprised (but realize I shouldn't have been) to hear on TV this morning that the manhunt for those two escaped killers is costing $1 million a day. There's a reason for that:

The massive manhunt for two escaped murderers from the Dannemora prison has been hampered by State Police secrecy, inter-agency rivalries, and the disrupting involvement of Gov. Andrew Cuomo on the first day of the breakout, law enforcement sources have told The Post.

Cuomo’s surprise arrival at a still-unfolding escape scene a week ago Saturday generated considerable national publicity for the governor, but distracted investigators at a time when the full facts of the escape were not yet known, the sources said.

“Cuomo actually disrupted the early search efforts when he arrived at the ‘command center’ on Saturday and refused to enter the room until everyone was removed except state employees,’’ said a longtime law enforcement figure who has regular contact with many involved in the search effort.

“Cuomo’s aides came in and threw out the US marshal, the sheriff [David Favro, like Cuomo a Democrat] and others who were there to help coordinate the search effort.

“And they did it without even saying ‘Thanks for your help’ or such, just, ‘Get out so his highness can enter.’

“The State Police are trying to make sure that they’re the ones to catch these guys, that they get all the credit, and as a result, they’re not making full use of the assets that are available to them,’’ the source continued.

So not like Tommy Lee Jones in "The Fugitive." Nowhere to go, nowhere to hide, we will find you! It's been fascinating to watch this hapless search. They're one state over! No, they're in the woods right next to the prison!

I've seen a lot of high-level grandstanding in my career. You could usually tell how big a news story was by who showed up to mug for the cameras. If it was just a mayor, that was a pretty run-of-the-mill disaster. If the governor shows up, we're talking "break out of the local media coverage." And if it's the president, well, that's a disaster of epic proportions.

The headling on the story refers to a "cluster f--k," a very useful term that I heard a lot in the Army. In civilian life, not so much, although there are plenty of them out here.