August 22nd, 2009
04:32 PM ET
5 years ago

Ridge condemned for trying to profit from terror alert assertions

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A former Bush administration official said she thinks former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge's recent charges that politics were behind raising the terror level in 2004 were "personally motivated."

In a new book, Ridge says top Bush administration officials may have tried to raise the nation's terror alert for political reasons in the days before the 2004 presidential vote.

In response, Frances Townsend, a former Homeland Security adviser to President George W. Bush and now a CNN contributor, told CNN's "American Morning" that she believes Ridge is trying to profit by separating himself politically from Bush's record.

"You have to wonder if this is not just publicity meant to sell more books," Townsend said.

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Filed under: Frances Townsend • Tom Ridge
soundoff (103 Responses)
  1. Pa mom

    I liked Tom Ridge as our govenor but I no longer respect him. When will individuals stop revealing past administration decisions? They do not have all the details behind these...just their opinions as Ridge states in his book. He never says he knows for certain! I also wish Obama would stop digging up and revealing Bush administration papers. This is dirty tactis and since he never stepped foot in the WH until he was elected, HE knows nothing!
    Hoe does this make our country look to other nations? It is bad enough when a President apologizes for past actions. He has no right to apologize for me!

    August 22, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  2. unshrub

    OR maybe she is lying to defend Bush!!!!!!!!!

    August 22, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  3. John E Lexington KY

    The Republicans are a ruthless pack of wolves. If any one of them turns even slightly they devour him. The list of Bush officials who have revealed terrible events is long, each one cut as they served the public with the truth. Makes you wonder what isn't being said by those too afraid to come forth.

    August 22, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  4. mike j

    Sounds like ANY politician....doesn't matter if it's Republican or Democrat, set yourself up for a big payday!

    August 22, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  5. Dale

    And we all trust the Bush administration, don't we? (sarcasm)

    August 22, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  6. Bill

    I caught on to that WH tactic long ago. Not only did they do this at re-election time, but also whenever 'ol W's favorablility slipped, which was pretty often.

    August 22, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  7. dave

    oh how quickly the right wing slime machine turns on one of it's own whistleblowers. Truth hurts, doesn't it , oh slimy ones??

    August 22, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  8. Henry

    Standard Republic playbook. When someone says something critical say they are just trying to make money, they are disgruntled, they have an axe to grind.
    It was blatantly obvious what the Bush cronies were doing manipulating the threat level. I did not need Ridge to say it to me to know that at the time.
    Unrepentant beasts!

    August 22, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  9. capnmike

    Bush's entire administration was focused on frightening the public and prosecuting a war based on LIES and scare tactics! Why should this issue be any different? We cannot believe anything they say.

    August 22, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  10. JO

    So what is the lesson from this? CNN should better understand the perils of hiring foxes to comment on the contents of the hen house.

    August 22, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  11. ganesh dore

    Ms Townsend did not say Ridge was lying or that Ridge was incorrect in his assertions.

    Ridge is running for president in 2012 and he needs the swing vote.

    August 22, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  12. Brian MacDougall

    Of course it's meant to sell more books. Duh. It's also likely true, knowing what we know about Rove and Cheney. Notice she didn't say it was false.

    August 22, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  13. rob

    Its absolutely meant to sell more books. No matter what your writting about, if you trash George Bush, it'll get non-stop coverage in the liberal MSM.

    August 22, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  14. Obama supporter

    I know for a fact that Bush raised the alert level in order to get re-elected. That's no secret. Bush ruled using the fear factor for 8 years. Keep them scared and in the dark. How he ever got re-elected remains a mystery to me. Always will.

    August 22, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  15. Ruty

    Of course Ms. Townsen if going to take up for George Bush. She worked for him! I voted for Bush twice. Sure wish I could take my votes back. That man is a crook, in my opinion, and should be investigated. He was in office 2902 days and was on vacation 977 days. What does that tell you? A third of the time in office was spent on vacation. Washington would turn over in his grave.

    August 22, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  16. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    Frances, and I wonder why you ever took the job with Pres. Bush.

    SURELY you saw what an evil man he is????

    Please CNN, get rid of this woman. Nothing she says on air is credible.

    August 22, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  17. Vincent Petrosino

    Baloney. Townsend is dead wrong. Tom Ridge is very respected here in PA and known to be ethical. Didn't the GOP just try to get him to run against Arlen Specter because they thought Twoomey was too polarizing? Ridge's suspicions are spot on!

    August 22, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  18. James, Ho. TX

    Tom Ridge needs to be pushed ; We might just become aware of who really was behind 9/11 !

    August 22, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  19. Post always rejected by CNN

    Have you ever seen a republican yet that would own up to their dastardly deeds. If you should dare expose them they go bonkers. We all know about the terror alerts. Ridge didn't have to tell us. So what in Hades are the republican whinning and moaning about..If they would try to do their jobs they were elected for to help the American people and not big business the country would improve . The want to get re-elected. and we can'g stand any more of the type of eight years of greed, corruption and absolute mess that the bush administration with the help of republicans in congress did to us.

    August 22, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  20. T'SAH from Virginia

    What does RIDGE gain by saying top officials of the Bush Administration "... may have tried to raise the nation's terror alert for political reasons in the days before the 2004 presidential vote."

    I believed it at the time – many others believed it at the time – Ridge believed it at the time – Ms. Townsend stated at the beginning of her conversation that SHE believed it at the time too but OTHERS in homeland security did believe it...

    Look at the words used in all of their conversations – "wondered", "maybe", "felt", "believed" - those are the TOPNOTCH political words.

    While they 'all' WONDERED, MAYBE, FELT and BELIEVED, the threat level was raisded and it was around ELECTION TIME – and on top of that, NOTHING HAPPENED!!! ................... It's all POLITICS!

    August 22, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  21. charlie in Maine

    Ridge sounds like one of a select few. Honest people in the W administration.

    From what I can see it was Colin Powell Ridge and that guy who said Iraq was a mistake. Other than that there wasn't an honest one amongst em.

    Next time any of you feel like complaining about Obam's learningg curve stop and remember what dis-honest incompetence really looks like.

    August 22, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  22. Keith in Austin

    I always liked Tom Ridge, if this is true, I will put him with most politicians that are only concerned with padding their own pockets.

    August 22, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  23. T'SAH from Virginia

    Wow – it seems that EVERYONE that comes out with a TELL ALL BOOK about the BUSH ADMIN are called LIARS!!! What would Colin Powell be called if and/or when he comes out with a TELL ALL book!!!??? Hmm, I wonder!!!

    I, for one, love and respect Colin Powell and he should – TELL IT ALL!!!

    August 22, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  24. Casey - California

    Hey, I think George W. Bush's reasons for putting this country into IRAQ and killing over 2000 men and women WERE PERSONALLY MOTIVATED.

    What Ridge is saying is FACT. I hope he sells a million books about it. And point out ONE author - be it for a book or "contributing to CNN" - that ISN'T personally motivated.

    How stupid do people like this think we are?

    August 22, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  25. Tim

    Well, of course, for members of the Bush Administration, telling the truth has nothing to do with telling the truth, but with selling books.

    Let's see if the same charge of "publicity meant to sell more books" is leveled against Cheney when he tries to write a book.

    August 22, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
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