From THINK PROGRESS:
Ridge’s Groveling Tour: I Never Meant To Accuse The Bush Administration Of Politicizing Homeland Security
A few weeks ago, former Bush Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge was thrust back into the public spotlight with news of his upcoming book, which is out today. Of particular interest was Ridge’s revelation that officials may have pushed him to raise the security alert level for political reasons on eve of Bush’s re-election. An excerpt from the book:
A vigorous, some might say dramatic, discussion ensured. Ashcroft strongly urged an increase in the threat level and was supported by Rumsfeld. There was absolutely no support for that position within our department. None. 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.
Ridge was immediately ripped by loyal Bushies for speaking out. A spokesman for former attorney general John Ashcroft said, “Now would be a good time for Mr. Ridge to use his emergency duct tape.”
Ridge is now trying to get back into their good graces. He has been on an apology tour this week, insisting that he never meant to insinuate any bad motives on his former colleagues. […] In all the appearances he criticized people for misinterpreting what he had written:
– But there’s never been any doubt in my mind that any of these individuals, Secretary Powell, Attorney General Ashcroft, Secretary Rumsfeld, the FBI Director Mueller, they’ve always had the security of America as the number one reason they would say, let’s go up or let’s not go up. I don’t think it ever was politics.” [CNN, 9/1/09]
– “”Is there any other reason that’s out there and perhaps this — expressed it unartfully — but I’m not suggesting that anybody in that room on that occasion or any other occasion was interested in doing anything other than the right thing to protect America.” [ABC, 9/1/09]
– “I was musing in the book, as I was trying to think back on those discussions. … Is there something else that I am missing or my department’s missing? Pure and simple. It’s not an accusatory statement. Wasn’t intended to be. And if people want to talk about it in that fashion, in this world — see, security is not black and white.” [Fox News, 8/31/09]
(Video at link)
Speaking of Faux News, it appears that they barely even remembered who Tom Ridge was until he went on his groveling tour. From MEDIA MATTERS (August 21, 2009):
Big surprise, right? Former Department of Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge admits in his upcoming book that he was pressured by very senior Bush White House officials to raise the nation’s terror level warning and to do it for purely for political reasons.
The story’s a big deal and it’s been widely reported and commented upon in the last 24 hours. Except at GOP-friendly Fox News, of course, which continues to play dumb about the news story.
According to TVeyes.com, since the terror level story broke yesterday, CNN has mentioned “Tom Ridge” on the air at least 41 times, MSNBC has done it 62 times, and CNN’s Headline News, which covers fewer stories each day, mentioned “Tom Ridge” 18 times so far.
Any guesses for Fox News? Did I mention FNC was playing dumb on an epic level?
If you guessed t-w-o, you are correct. According to TVeyes, Fox News has been able to almost completely ignore the Ridge story. It basically does not exist. Four sentences. To date, that’s been the sum total of Fox News’ reporting on the Ridge controversy. The four sentences were aired on Thursday’s Special Report, which was then re-broadcast during the overnight.
From the raw story:
During a three-part interview with former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge on Tuesday night, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow made some hard-hitting points on revelations that the “Terror Threat Level” system was manipulated for political purposes during the Bush Administration.
On the program to promote his new book “The Test of Our Time”, the former Pennsylvania governor seemed taken aback as Maddow took him to task as being a “crucial” part of a “false case to the American people.” As Jay Rosen aptly tweeted, “To work himself out of the bind she had gotten him into, Ridge actually disavowed the jacket copy of his own book under Maddow’s questioning.”
(Video of the entire interview at link)