Thursday, May 12, 2005

New Evidence : Terror Alerts Were Used As Electoral Weapons

05/11/05 - - Via Parker's diary on the subject. Remember the chart that showed the relationship between Bush's approval rating and terror alters? The chart clearly suggested that terror alerts were used more frequently during times of unpopularity for Bush. Now, new evidence, from Tom Ridge himself, suggests that there was indeed massive outside pressure on the department on homeland to security to often raise the terror alert despite flimsy evidence:
The Bush administration periodically put the USA on high alert for terrorist attacks even though then-Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge argued there was only flimsy evidence to justify raising the threat level, Ridge now says.

Ridge, who resigned Feb. 1, said Tuesday that he often disagreed with administration officials who wanted to elevate the threat level to orange, or "high" risk of terrorist attack, but was overruled.

His comments at a Washington forum describe spirited debates over terrorist intelligence and provide rare insight into the inner workings of the nation's homeland security apparatus.

Ridge said he wanted to "debunk the myth" that his agency was responsible for repeatedly raising the alert under a color-coded system he unveiled in 2002.

"More often than not we were the least inclined to raise it," Ridge told reporters. "Sometimes we disagreed with the intelligence assessment. Sometimes we thought even if the intelligence was good, you don't necessarily put the country on (alert). ... There were times when some people were really aggressive about raising it, and we said, 'For that?' "

Combined with what Ridge has said, and the chart linked above, can there be any doubt that the Bush administration was frequently raising the terror alerts to help his election chances and increase his political capital rather than to signal actual threats? As Parker says, Howard Dean was right. Terror alerts have undoubtedly been used as a electoral weapon rather than as a safety measure. For more on this subject, JuliusBlog.


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