In a new book, former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge reveals new details on politicization under President Bush, reports US News & World Report's Paul Bedard. Among other things, Ridge admits that he was pressured to raise the terror alert to help Bush win re-election in 2004.
Ridge was never invited to sit in on National Security Council meetings; was "blindsided" by the FBI in morning Oval Office meetings because the agency withheld critical information from him; found his urgings to block Michael Brown from being named head of the emergency agency blamed for the Hurricane Katrina disaster ignored; and 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.
Dave Weigel, writing for the Washington Independent, notes that in the past, Ridge has denied manipulating security information for political reasons. In 2004, for example, he said, "We don't do politics in the Department of Homeland Security."
The Bush administration was forced to admit in the days after the 2004 alert that it was based on intelligence three or four years old. Officials then claimed there was a previously unmentioned "separate stream of intelligence" that justified the warning -- but offered little tangible information to support their new story..
ThinkProgress recalls, the AP reported that "even 'some senior Republicans' privately questioned Ridge's timing of a terror alert that came just three days after the Democratic National Convention."
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Recently one of my anti-war posts was noticed and belittled by a pro-war Canadian blogger - not a Conservative, but a Green voter. (Underscoring that the Greens are not necessarily progressive.) When I succumbed to the temptation to comment, he asked (paraphrasing), "If we didn't invade Afghanistan, then how would we retaliate for 9/11?"
There was obviously no question in his mind that the US and Canada should retaliate, that they must retaliate. The only question was how best to retaliate. He called the idea of not retaliating "masochistic". I believe he said masochistic didn't come close to describing such an idea. He was flabbergasted at the idea that the attacks of September 11th might themselves have been retaliation.
The same blogger was also aghast to hear that the war in Afghanistan has nothing to do with democracy or women's rights.
So here is Tom Ridge with some new information - only unsurprising as to its source - about the phony terror alerts. Every day we learn more about the lies and propaganda that were used to sell the invasion of Iraq, the so-called War on Terror, the unlawful imprisonment of Afghans and Iraqis, the clampdown on civil liberties at home.
Yet people cling to the simplistic fantasy that 19 guys with a couple of box cutters caught the mighty United States napping, and that the current wars - in coincidentally oil-rich and pipeline-laden countries - are saving Western civilization.