Book By Ridge Discusses Pressure To Increase Terror Alert Level For Politcal Gain

During the 2004 election there was suspicion that that the Bush administration was issuing terror alerts for political gain, generally timed to occur whenever Kerry was picking up any momentum.  Tom Ridge had even hinted at this in the past. I suspect that this news report is actually  quite tame as to what actually occurred throughout the campaign. The The New York Times is reporting on a book by Tom Ridge which mentions a case where the Bush administration exerted pressure to raise the threat level:

Tom Ridge, the first secretary of homeland security, asserts in a new book that he was pressured by top advisers to President George W. Bush to raise the national threat level just before the 2004 election in what he suspected was an effort to influence the vote.

After Osama bin Laden released a threatening videotape four days before the election, Attorney General John Ashcroft and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld pushed Mr. Ridge to elevate the public threat posture but he refused, according to the book. Mr. Ridge calls it a “dramatic and inconceivable” event that “proved most troublesome” and reinforced his decision to resign.

The provocative allegation provides fresh ammunition for critics who have accused the Bush administration of politicizing national security. Mr. Bush and his Democratic challenger, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, were locked in a tight race heading into that final weekend, and some analysts concluded that even without a higher threat level, the bin Laden tape helped the president win re-election by reminding voters of the danger of Al Qaeda.

While this does show the political influences, it would be more interesting if Ridge discussed actual times in which the terror alerts were raised for politcal reasons as opposed  to portraying  himself as the good guy by discussing the time he didn’t go along.

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5 Comments

  1. 1
    Eclectic Radical says:

    Congratulations to Mr. Ridge, a long-time Republican liberal, for standing up to the political pressure from his right wing colleagues.
     
    Yes, that was sarcasm. Ridge’s telling us now is much like Colin Powell endorsing Obama. Great, but too late.
     

  2. 2
    Fritz says:

    Whew.  Eclectic, I was worried you were going soft.

  3. 3
    Chris says:

    It is upsetting because terror alerts scare the public. This should have never been used to promote their political agendas.

  4. 4
    Fritz says:

    Fear is the health of the State.

  5. 5
    Eclectic Radical says:

    “Whew.  Eclectic, I was worried you were going soft.”
     
    Me?
     
    Am I missing a subtle joke? Or have I been strangely mellow lately? 😉

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