Former Bush Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge is releasing a book on September 1 titled, “The Test of Our Times: America Under Siege…and How We Can Be Safe Again.” U.S. News’ Paul Bedard reports that, in the book, Ridge reveals that he considered resigning because he was urged to issue a politically-motivated security alert on the eve of Bush’s re-election:
Among the headlines promoted by publisher Thomas Dunne Books: 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.
Playing politics with terror was a relatively frequent occurrence in the Bush administration. In August 2004, 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. According to the AP report, “One top GOP operative, who works closely with Bush’s political team, said the White House appeared to overplay its hand, and voters may smell politics behind the warning.”
David Weigel recalls this 2004 quote by Ridge: “We don’t do politics in the Department of Homeland Security.”