Politics or Security? - Tom Ridge finally comes clean
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- "Former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge says he successfully countered an effort by senior Bush administration officials to raise the nation's terror alert level in the days before the 2004 presidential vote." - August 21, 2009
It was blatantly obvious to any reasonable person that the Bush Administration manipulated intelligence (or lack thereof) to instill fear in the public to further its political agenda. It was their standard "modus operandi".
So it's hardly a surprise that Tom Ridge (George Bush's Secretary of Homeland Security) has finally come clean and confirmed in a new book that top aides to then-president George Bush pressured him to raise the "terror alert" level to sway the November 2004 elections. Attorney General John Ashcroft and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld strongly advocated raising the security threat level
Ridge has acknowledged that much of the information used to justify raising the terror alert just before the 2004 elections was old data (as much as three years old). Ridge has also detailed his frustration when the White House rejected his suggestion of establishing homeland security offices in major cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, and even New Orleans.
Ridge goes on to state that the FBI withheld information from him and that he was never included or paticipated in National Security Council meetings - a point I find completely puzzling since he was the Secretary of Homeland Security.
Another charge levelled by Ridge is that he urged his successor, Michael Chertoff, to reconsider the appointment of Michael Brown as the head of the Federal Emergency Response Agency (FEMA), whose response to the killer storm drew widespread criticism.
CNN reports: "Ridge said that he had mixed emotions about the incident at the time, and that after it ended, he knew he had to follow through on his plans to leave the government."