John Nichols @ The Nation - Ridge's upcoming book, The Test of Our Times: America Under Siege... And How We Can Be Safe Again, accuses the Bush-Cheney White House of pushing the homeland security chief to "raise the national security alert just before the 2004 election."
According to the former Pennsylvania governor's publisher, the book will reveal that Ridge was, for political reasons, "pressured to connect homeland security to the international ‘war on terror.'"
The alleged manipulations of terror alerts around the time of the 2002 and 2004 elections represent the ugliest and most troubling of the alleged assaults by the Bush-Cheney administration on the democratic process and on national security. Ridge says he resisted some of the pressure, but his charges open up serious questions about the extent to which the alerts were used to warp voting and policy-making to fit the dictates of White House political czar Karl Rove's electoral strategies.
It is entirely reasonable to suggest that voting patterns and perhaps even results were influenced by the dialing up of the fear factor. At the very least, it taints the claims of mandates by conservative Republicans in 2002 -- when able senators such as Georgia's Max Cleland were defeated -- and by former President Bush in 2004.Just as significantly, it begs the question of whether Americans were endangered by members of the Bush-Cheney administration. Read more.