Flashback: Ridge Offered to Take Lie Detector Test to Prove 'Politics Played No Part' In Threat Levels

In his forthcoming book, former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge reveals being pressured by Attorney General John Ashcroft and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to raise the terror alert right before the 2004 presidential election. Ridge wrote:


I wondered, "Is this about security or politics?" Post-election analysis demonstrated a significant increase in the president's approval rating in the days after the raising of the threat level. … I consider the episode to be not only a dramatic moment in Washington's recent history, but another illustration of the intersection of politics, fear, credibility and security.

The New York Times' Peter Baker notes that Ridge's new claim is a reversal from his previous statements:

Until now, he has denied politics played a role in threat levels. Asked by Eric Lichtblau of The New York Times if politics ever influenced decisions on threat warnings, he volunteered to take a lie-detector test. "Wire me up," Mr. Ridge said, according to Mr. Lichtblau's book, "Bush’s Law." "Not a chance. Politics played no part."

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close
alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.