I have to hand it to the Department of Homeland Security. That threat advisory system they invented is a great way to bring families closer together: you can teach kids their colors, then explain why the bad men want to kill us. But according to a new book from former Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge, sometimes the system involved some, shall we say, artificial coloring…
[Ridge asserts] that he was pressured by top advisers to President George W. Bush to raise the national threat level just before the 2004 election in what he suspected was an effort to influence the vote.
After Osama bin Laden released a threatening videotape four days before the election, Attorney General John Ashcroft and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld pushed Mr. Ridge to elevate the public threat posture but he refused, according to the book. Mr. Ridge calls it a "dramatic and inconceivable" event that "proved most troublesome" and reinforced his decision to resign.
Most troublesome indeed! Tut, tut, John and Don. That was a very naughty thing you did. What do you have to say for yourselves?
Mr. Ashcroft could not be reached for comment. But Mark Corallo, who was his spokesman at the Justice Department, dismissed Mr. Ridge’s account. "Didn’t happen," he said. "Now would be a good time for Mr. Ridge to use his emergency duct tape."
Coincidentally, Tom Ridge's own personal color-coded threat advisory system has now been raised to fuschia.
Tags: Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush, Homeland Security, John Ashcroft, Tom Ridge