Former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge confirms that the national threat level was manipulated in order to President Bush’s help re-election prospects.
Osama bin Laden had released a videotape with one more ominous sounding but unspecific threat against the United States. Neither Mr. Ridge nor any of the department’s security experts thought the message warranted any change in the nation’s alert status.
“…at this point there was nothing to indicate a specific threat and no reason to cause undue public alarm,” he writes.
But that view met resistance in a tense conference call with members of the intelligence community and several other Cabinet officers including Attorney General John Ashcroft and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
“A vigorous, some might say dramatic, discussion ensured. Ashcroft strongly urged an increase in the threat level and was supported by Rumsfeld.”
Noting the correlation found between increases in the threat level and the president’s approval rating, Mr. Ridge writes, “I wondered, ‘Is this about security or politics?’”
Wow, he figured that out all by himself. No wonder they put him in charge of duct tape and plastic sheeting.