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. Teena in Denver

    Of course the Bush aide would say Mr. Ridge is saying this to profit, otherwise the former administration could be accused of manipulating the election. A Bush aide would never admit to manipulating the public even though it has been proven that they did so with the information leading up to the Iraq war.

    Sorry, Ms Townsend but your words ring hollow!

    August 22, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  2. Joe-Wilmington, DE

    ...or, maybe he is telling the truth.

    August 22, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  3. Mark Olsen

    This begs the question: is Frances Townsend trying to profit from being a former Bush administration official? Does she get paid to appear on CNN and other news outlets? It's the pot calling the kettle black, if you ask me.

    August 22, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  4. Yobee

    Here's a familiar scenario: former Bush administration official comes clean about the corrupt, manipulative nature of that league, remaining loyal cronies gather together to howl their indignant denials.

    How sad for the country, how pathetic for the loyal.

    August 22, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  5. Gus The Willie

    Who in King George's or Emperor George's court can be believable after all the fiasco of his eight year reign of terror on his kingdom. The rest of the civilize world stood shock and awe as he brandish his power threatening nation's who didn't agree with his policies of shoot first and ask questions later. But the war mongors of this nation will always be siding with him come rain or shine. A testimony we are no where near as civilize as we say we are.

    August 22, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  6. Rudy

    Yeah!

    You know the thing is Bush was not a bad man at all I really like him but the idiots around him really spoiled his time in office.

    Now, they all are talking rubbish but Pres. Bush himself is just aas humble as a dove-ya have to respect him for that.

    Ridge is a self centered butt kisser! He never thought to say anything stupid of false when he was seen sucking up to the President before his appointment!

    Shame on Ridge-what a dam crook!

    August 22, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  7. Anonymous

    Nothing would suprise me about Bush NOTHING! This coutry is in the dumpter because of him.

    August 22, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  8. lgn

    What Townsend is saying that under the same circumstances that is what I would be doing. Her response is autobigraphic.

    August 22, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  9. Joe

    Nothing upsets the Republicans so much as one of their own telling the truth. Stick to your guns, Ridge!

    August 22, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  10. colin in Bellingham

    I wish Ridge had mentioned this back in 2004.

    August 22, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  11. F W

    Here we go again; another top Bush administration official with inside knowledge of the former administration's motivations reveals how the administration misled the American people and is then summarily denounced by loyal Bushies.

    With all due respect to Ms. Townsend, I think that Ridge, the former SECRETARY of Homeland Security, probably has the better insight into the decision making process of the president than she does as a former adviser to Mr. Ridge's office.

    Nevertheless, it is fascinating to see this pattern repeat itself yet again. I hope that instead of giving equal time to top administration figures who criticize Bush and those figures' subordinates who defend the president, CNN will actually dispatch a reporter to investigate the claims.

    August 22, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  12. katiec

    Of course he is condemmed.
    Anyone speaking the truth will never be accepted by the
    republican party.

    August 22, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  13. mjc

    Well of course the most damaging,corrupt administration this country has ever known would do something like that

    August 22, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  14. Ron Booth

    So former administration officials condemning Ridge's remarks, did we expect them to come forth and say "Ridge is exactly right and there is a whole bunch of other stuff we did too but we ain't tellin' you'll have to find out for yourselves."

    August 22, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  15. Ren from Baltimore

    Cheney is separating himself from Bush. Colin Powell has separated himself. His press secretary separated himself. Who wouldn't want to do that?

    RIdge, by all accounts, is not a game-player, not a liar. If he is now ready to set the record straight, we have no reason whatsoever to believe him.

    Ms. Townsend, on the other hand....

    August 22, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  16. THAT'S ALL THAT'S IN HIS BOOK?

    I'm overwhelmed with that relevation!!!

    Is that all this is in it?

    August 22, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  17. John in Dayton

    Typical reaction. What else is new? God forbid anyone ever THINK there's a hint of politics in this. There is no other reason the Bush Administration would do this other than to keep the news focus on them – and on fear. It was the only way to win the election that year, and it worked.

    August 22, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  18. JFK

    Thats right, the Bush WH doesnt like defectors. The Bush WH needed every weapon in their arsenal to scare people into voting Bush in '04. Sadly it worked anyways with their fear tactics. Sounds familiar now with their "death panels" and health care horror stories today!

    August 22, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  19. JJ in WNY

    that's what we dems all thought, back in 2004! finally, someone "in the know" confirming our suspicions!!!

    August 22, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  20. Rubyredman, CA

    I believe him before I believe her...

    August 22, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  21. carlos, that one

    repugnants fighting among themselves???????......unbelievable!. Tom Ridge is more credible (??) than....well?, take your pick.....please do not mention that alaska woman, not even her initials...ugh

    August 22, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  22. Kevin -- Evansville, Indiana

    More likely, Townsend is clueless.

    The terror alert system had no practical use. Other than to rile people up, make everyone irrational and paranoid, for political purposes. The GOP doesn't like rational discussion, because they don't have good reasons behind their emotional gut impulses., and prejudices.

    August 22, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  23. John

    I believe in Tom Ridge.

    Bush is a Liar. Everything Bush did was a Hoax. Everything Bush did was False.

    Bush mislead American into Iraq war by fabricating a False Intelligence report that Iraq has WMDs.

    Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld should be in Jail.

    PUT THEM TO TRIAL and JAIL THEM.

    August 22, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  24. Fan of Common Sense

    Me thinks somebody's trying to sell some books. ;-)

    Hey Tom, if you're such a saint, is there some reason you didn't blow the whistle when it would have mattered......not just when it has the potential to make you some cash? Gosh, is there ANYONE in American politics today who is actually loyal to someone or something other than themselves?

    August 22, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  25. Brian

    Does anyone remember the day they raised the alert, Laura Bush was ringing the opening bell on Wall Street.

    Now you know GW would not allow his wife to be on WS if in fact there was a true threat of terror.

    Everyone knows Bush and his administration used fear to not only get reelcted, but also to shape and form policy.

    It does not take a rocket scientist to make that determination. The worst President in history along with the worst administration in history.

    August 22, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
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