Tom Ridge: I Was Pressured to Raise the Terror Alert to Help Bush
This revelation from former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge’s new book, nabbed by Paul Bedard, might shed some light on why Ridge passed on a 2010 U.S. Senate bid.
[He] was pushed to raise the security alert on the eve of President Bush’s re-election, something he saw as politically motivated and worth resigning over.
That’s a charge Ridge avoided every time it came up. On Aug. 3, 2004, he denied any such political pressure or politicization with a quote DHS recycled for every question on this.
We don’t do politics in the Department of Homeland Security.
If Ridge really quit DHS because it became so politically rotten, good for him; his successor Michael Chertoff, however, somehow managed to hold the job for four years without issuing a conveniently timed alert. And it’s worth remembering that the idea that Ridge might do this was seen, in 2004, as political conspiracy-mongering. In a Sept. 4, 2004 Washington Post piece, Richard Morin cited the “politicized color code” worry to make fun of skeptical Democrats.
Ever since Sept. 11, 2001, it has been an article of faith that the terrorism issue works to the huge political benefit of President Bush and to the disadvantage of the Democrats. As a consequence, some Democratic stalwarts privately wonder whether administration officials might spring a late October surprise in the form of an orange alert in order to help President Bush win reelection. Such cynicism!
This post has been updated for clarity.