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August 20, 2009

Oh Boy: Tom Ridge's Tell-All Says He Was Pressured to Raise Terror Threat Level on Eve of 2004 Elections

Not sure how true this is.

I assume Ridge is not lying. But I also assume he needs some hot facts, or even "facts," to sell a book.

Best case for Bush and Cheney: There was an elevated risk and Ridge was wrong; Ridge was too worried about the appearances of raising the level, whereas Bush and Cheney didn't care about appearances.

Second-best case for Bush and Cheney: As people tend to do, they viewed the data with their own best interests in mind, and thus arguable, on-the-line data was seen by them --- honestly, but wrongly, due to the powerful agent of subconscious self-interest -- as warranting a heightened threat level.

Bad case scenarios: I think the lefty blogosphere should have these well-covered.

See Wikipedia for the timing.

In addition, the alert has been raised to High on a select or partial basis three times: August 1 – November 10, 2004, for specific financial institutions in northern New Jersey, New York, and Washington, D.C., citing intelligence pointing to the possibility of a car or truck bomb attack, naming specific buildings as possible targets.[20][21]

July 7, 2005 – August 12, 2005, for mass transit systems only. The DHS secretary announced the level after the 7 July 2005 London bombings despite the absence of "specific, credible information suggesting imminent attack" in the United States.[22]

August 10, 2006 – present, for all domestic airline flights and all international flights to or from the United States, with the exception of flights from the United Kingdom to the United States. Flights from the United Kingdom to the United States had been under a severe alert, but were downgraded to a high alert on August 14, 2006.[19]

That seems like a pretty good reason to raise the alert level to me, but that assumes, I guess, a fair amount of confidence in the intelligence.

It also seems to me that by this point, many people, including Ridge himself, believed the color-coded terror alert system had outlived its usefulness. Indeed, that position seems to have prevailed; you never hear about it anymore.

So this seems to have occurred at a point when some people, like Ridge, were becoming convinced the system was pointless, and other people (presumably Bush and Cheney) thought it was valuable.

That right there suggests ample enough reason for disagreement.



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posted by Ace at 01:23 PM

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