Monday, August 31, 2009

Ridge Reconsiders Allegation In Memoir

As we suggested in a previous posting, former Department of Homeland Security boss Tom Ridge is backpedaling on his marketing-driven claim that politics entered into the pre-election national terror-threat level. From USA Today:
Former Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge, speaking for the first time about accusations made in his new book, says he did not mean to suggest that other top Bush administration officials were playing politics with the nation's security before the 2004 presidential election.
"I'm not second-guessing my colleagues," Ridge said in an interview about The Test of Our Times, which comes out Tuesday and recounts his experiences as head of the nation's homeland security efforts in the first several years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks...
His most explosive accusation: that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Attorney General John Ashcroft pressed him to raise the national threat level after Osama bin Laden released a videotape criticizing President Bush shortly before Election Day 2004. Ridge writes he rejected raising the level because bin Laden had released nearly 20 such tapes since 9/11 and the latest contained nothing suggesting an imminent threat...
Now, Ridge says he did not mean to suggest he was pressured to raise the threat level, and he is not accusing anyone of trying to boost Bush in the polls. "I was never pressured," Ridge said.
And this from ABC:
On Good Morning America today, Ridge said that "a lot of people are hyperventilating about that passage," but he suggested that "this was one of several times that the process worked" since ultimately the threat level was not elevated. He said he never questioned "any of my colleagues' motives or rationales."
Ridge also agrees with former Vice President Cheney that going after CIA officers is a mistake:
"I think [Cheney is] right, pure and simple," Ridge said on 'Good Morning America' Monday. Ridge said of Holder's decision, "it's wrong, it’s chilling, and it’s inappropriate."

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