An explosive new book by former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge in which he details the politicization of his office under President Bush is drawing sharp criticism from some former Bush aides.
In the book, titled “The Test of Our Times: America Under Siege...and How We Can Be Safe Again,” Ridge says he was pushed to raise the security alert on the eve of President Bush's 2004 re-election and that he saw the move as politically motivated and worth resigning over.
The excerpts were published in US News & World Report.
"Under no circumstance was Tom Ridge or anyone else directed to change the threat level," former homeland security adviser Frances Townsend tells Politico. "It didn't work that way, and it certainly didn't work that way in 2004. It was always an apolitical process."
Former White House chief of staff Andy Card told Politico “We went over backwards repeatedly and with great discipline to make sure politics did not influence any national security and homeland security decisions." Card added, "The clear instructions were to make sure politics never influenced anything."
Among other headlines in the book reported by US News: Ridge was never invited to sit in on National Security Council meetings; was "blindsided" by the FBI in morning Oval Office meetings because the agency withheld critical information from him; found his urgings to block Michael Brown from being named head of the emergency agency blamed for the Hurricane Katrina disaster ignored.
Ridge has yet to speak publically since word of the book was first reported yesterday. Thomas Dunne Books is the book’s publisher.