Pre-publication hype builds for Tom Ridge book

By Ric Bohy

August 23, 2009 at 12:11pm

Now that he has a book to sell, it appears that the first and former secretary of homeland security, Tom Ridge, is the latest member of the Bush administration to talk about deceiving the American public for political reasons.

To be fair, Ridge isn’t saying – like former Bush press secretary Scott McClellan in his own tell-all – “I lied then, but believe me now.” He’s saying he was pressured by other cabinet members to raise the level of terror alerts, and further winch up the fear of the American people, to help Bush win his second term as president.

In his version of recent history – The Test of Our Times: America Under Siege … and How We Can Be Safe Again – Ridge describes the alleged attempted deception as the straw that broke his will to serve, and led him to resign on Nov. 30, 2004.

Tom Ridge
Tom Ridge

Ridge’s claim, first reported Wednesday by U.S. News & World Report, is getting the old push-back from the Bush faithful, and more is expected once the book is released.

Writing in her self-named blog, conservative commentator Michelle Malkin makes a point that may be politically useful for the right or the left. Citing an interview Ridge gave to The New York Times’ Eric Lichtblau for that reporter’s May 2009 book, Bush’s Law, Malkin says Ridge answered, “Not a chance. Politics played no part,” when asked if they had influenced Homeland Security’s color-coded threat warnings.

“So,” Malkin writes, “either he lied to Lichtblau. Or he’s deliberately fudging now to create book hype and interest among Bush-hating liberal journalists. Who’s politicizing national security, Mr. Ridge?”

Ridge’s book is scheduled for release on Sept. 1 (wouldn’t Sept. 11 have more political gravitas?), and his publicist says the author won’t be available for interviews until the debut.

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  • #1.   Tom Degan 08.23.2009

    Of course they exploited America’s utter post 9/11 paranoia for the most cynical political reasons. Ridge’s book is not news. The only thing newsworthy is the fact that someone who was in the know is finally admitting it. He should have written his book five years ago. He should have resigned at that moment. Shame on him for not doing so.

    I knew what was going on in the hours leading up to the election of 2004. It was so embarrassingly obvious, you had to be an idiot to miss it.

    On the first posting on my blog on June 2, 2006, I wrote the following:

    “PREDICTION: George W. Bush will be remembered in history, primarily, as the first (pray last) former chief executive to go to federal prison. Sound crazy? Stay tuned.:

    I stand by those words.

    Tom Degan
    Goshen, NY

  • #2.   Mike Licht 08.23.2009

    Republicans using political fearmongering ….

    Everything old is new again.


  • #3.   MJ 08.24.2009

    I feel like the general reaction in the media was that this revelation was disgusting but not surprising. The expression on Joe Scarborough’s face when Mika Brzezinski comments on the story and expresses her desire for Ridge to have come forward immediately is priceless

    It seems that there is no move made my anyone in Washington without calculating the political or monetary gain, and Ridge is no different.

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