New Evidence Terror Alerts Were Used As Electoral Weapons

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.

Tags: General 2008 (all tags)

Comments

12 Comments

What the chart clearly shows
is that without the Iraq war, no way Bush wins reelection. Look at the downward trend after 9.11. Erase the large blip from the start of the Iraq war, and Bush would be low 40s before election time. Why did we go to war again?
by TJonBergman 2005-05-11 10:20AM | 0 recs
chart before and after Election Day?
I'd love to see terror alert patterns for the 6 months before and after Election Day...  has anyone done this?
by sarany 2005-05-11 11:11AM | 0 recs
but...
you would think that IF the terror threats actually worked to increase bush's support, you should see an uptick in his approval numbers.  But his approval numbers never went anywhere, once they hit the upper 40's/low 50's.  So I don't see a connection, unless we're positing that Bush's approval would be in the 20's without the terror alerts.
by NCDem 2005-05-11 11:11AM | 0 recs
Talk about a smoking gun!
Tom Ridge's declaration is a perfect opportunity for Democrats to attack Bush's credibility on everything he does. But then what do I know? I'm a secret Republican operative.
by Gary Boatwright 2005-05-11 11:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Talk about a smoking gun!
Tom Ridge's declaration is a perfect opportunity for Democrats to attack Bush's credibility on everything he does.

yeah ... I am sure LIEberman, Hilliary and Kerry are all over it....NOT

by Parker 2005-05-11 11:23AM | 0 recs
Evidence vs. Bush would fill encyclopedia factory
The one thing we really don't need is more evidence against Dubya. We already have enough evidence to fill a factory full of encyclopedias. It would take several US national classes of law school graduates to process all the required depositions.

We need some of the people in power supposedly on our side to start screaming the evidence we have against Dubya from the rooftops. We need the people on our side to buy a news network that will broadcast/publish all the damning concrete evidence we already have.

by afs 2005-05-11 12:16PM | 0 recs
The hits just keep on coming!
Kevin Drum links to a War and Piece story about Bolton's people that links to an article in The Hill, Report Could Hurt Bolton.

Money quote:

Given the report's classification as sensitive, Democrats are unlikely to discuss it at tomorrow's hearing or on the Senate floor.

Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Intelligence Committee, declined to say whether he was familiar with the report: "I'm not going to comment at all."

Sen. Russ Feingold (Wis.), another Democratic member of the committee, said, "I've heard something about it, but I'm not ready to comment."
Andy Fisher, the Republican spokesman for the committee, said he had not heard of the report.

Sensitive classification?

Additional info from War and Piece:

As of 8pm, when I talked to committee staff, the State Department had neither delivered the documents mentioned here, nor indicated to the Senate Foreign Relations committee in any way whether or when or what they plan to do about the Democrats' narrowed document request. Getting sort of late, with less than 40 hours before Thursday's hearing is supposed to begin, and with Lugar having pushed for all materials to be received by last Friday.

Late Update: This is truly incredible. Former Nigeria and Ferdinand Marcos lobbyist Matthew Freedman maintains private paid outside clients while working as a Special Advisor with a $110,000 a year salary for Bolton at State? From the this transcript of the Freedman interview with SFRC staff:

by Gary Boatwright 2005-05-11 11:53AM | 0 recs
Everyday is Watergate these days.
Everyday is Watergate these days.
by Democracy For Puget Sound Dot Com 2005-05-11 02:57PM | 0 recs
what does that chart show?
I honestly dont see any relation at all. The terror alert seem randomly skewed on the bottom... can someone explain it?
by srolle 2005-05-11 03:44PM | 0 recs
Re: what does that chart show?
I'll explain it, if you explain the inexplicable term "randomly skewed"...
by NCDem 2005-05-12 04:54AM | 0 recs
He made similiar comments on TDS
I have no idea whether or not to believe him.
by Geotpf 2005-05-11 04:24PM | 0 recs
Wow
That is the first time I have seen that graph.  The last few months were very telling.  
by Bonddad 2005-05-12 05:58AM | 0 recs

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