Ridge: BushCo Pressured To Raise Terror Alert To Sway Election
In a new book, former Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge claims that the Bush administration pressured him to raise the terror alert level to sway the November 2004 election.
Then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Attorney General John Ashcroft pushed him to elevate the color-coded threat level, but Ridge refused, according to a summary from his publisher, Thomas Dunne Books.
“After that episode, I knew I had to follow through with my plans to leave the federal government for the private sector,” Ridge is quoting as writing in “The Test of Our Times: America Under Siege … And How We Can Be Safe Again.”
But Ridge did issue warnings that, it turned out, were three years old, in what seemed to be a way to appease the administration.
Bush’s Homeland Security adviser at the White House, Fran Townsend, called his department ahead of an August 1, 2004 speech to ask Ridge to include a reference to “defensive measures … away from home” — language that he read as being a reference to the Iraq war.
In those remarks, Ridge said he was raising the threat alert level for the financial services sector in New York City, northern New Jersey, and Washington DC, and went on to praise Bush’s leadership against extremism.
“Such operations and partnerships give us insight into the enemy so we can better target our defensive measures here and away from home,” he said at the time.
Ridge later acknowledged he was acting on three-year-old information.Click here for reuse options!
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