This is straight from the horse's mouth--the official who ran Homeland Security, Tom Ridge.
We suspected the Bush Administration was using terror alerts to keep Americans fearful and to boost Dubya's poll numbers through phony scare tactics in the run-up to the 2004 elections.The truth is out.
THE SWASH ZONE HAS A POST ON THIS AS WELL. LINK HERE.
The Bush Administration cynically used Homeland Security--the largest government agency ever instituted under any US president--for political reasons, when it should have been protecting the American people. Ridge, writing in his soon-to-be-released book, "The Test of Our Times/America Under Siege ... and How We Can Be Safe Again," stated that his office was "pressured to connect connect homeland security to the international war on terror," according to a release from his publisher.
This revelation would lead us all to wonder if the warnings were all manipulated and underhandedly worked to influence the 2004 elections.
As I stated, we on the Left always suspected this. Now we know we were right:
Ridge: Rumsfeld and Ashcroft wanted to raise terror threat level because it helped Bush’s approval rating.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette pours through Tom Ridge’s new book and offers the relevant passages where the former Homeland Security chief discusses the Bush administration’s desire to increase the terror threat level for political reasons. Ridge reveals that Attorney General John Ashcroft and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld argued in favor of raising the threat level by noting the correlation it had with Bush’s approval rating:
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?’”