August 22nd, 2009
04:32 PM ET
12 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.

Full story

Filed under: Frances Townsend • Tom Ridge
soundoff (103 Responses)
  1. 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 |
  2. Professional liars

    Here we go. Bush's people trying to flip the blame.

    They're so good at that and lying, too.

    August 22, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  3. Wise Latina

    9 TREEELLION dollars deficit in only 6 months. This incomprehensible debt will place an enormous burden on our children's children's children's children. We're MORE than broke.

    The dangerously inexperienced and socialist Obama already went "all-in" and lost. How do you like THAT for change!

    August 22, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  4. vic nashville , Tn

    Is this story is familiar to the current story “Gov will pull plug on grandma”

    August 22, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  5. Robert

    Come on Townsend! I know your a good Republicans BUT ....

    The truth hurts doesn't it.

    August 22, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  6. Jeanne H.

    Oh come on! Ridge is not telling anything new that we didn't know before. I remember the stupid hypes about possible attacks, even talks about delaying the election if there was serious threats etc.. Bush learned that he could win by spreading fear because the american people reacted the same way every time he hyped fear, but it gets old after a while and people start realizing they've been manipulated. Ridge's information is nothing new.

    August 22, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  7. Jeff Brown

    Bush and the GOP using fear and intimidation as a political tool? I'm shocked, SHOCKED I tell you!!!!!

    August 22, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  8. Debbie

    The thing is, it's actually very believable what Tom Ridge is saying. I thought it way back then when it was happening. There was no way the Bush administration was going to lose that election and they've already proven on so many other occasions, i.e. firing federal judges for political reasons, that they would do anything to get what they want. It was a very corrupt government and this is just one more story that fits into their web of lies. I'm not surprised or shocked and I think most Americans will think the same.

    August 22, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  9. safari

    Anyone, who worked in the Bush Administration, gets slammed when they tell the truth. The Bush administration has to be the most corrupt group of republicans ever assembled to run this Country. With Cheney and Rove, in it, what do you expect.

    August 22, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  10. LMC

    fIt was easy to notice that the alert levels seemed to get higher around election times and when public opinion was flagging. Of course the Bush administration would deny it!

    August 22, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  11. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    I remember when this happened. Even though I voted AGAINST Kerry, I knew good and well that the Bushies were playing politics. It was obvious to me that the whole color-coded terrorist-alert system was nothing but a political tool. (Big duh.)

    The fact of the matter is our politicians have been frightening the American public to get their way since the revolution. If we aren't smart enough to realize it, then it's shame on us. And even though the Bush administration was manipulative, it was STILL better than a Kerry Administration would have I'm GLAD they did this. People who think and behave like sheep deserve to be deceived.

    August 22, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  12. GP

    Anything Ridge may say now is too little, too late. He had an opportunity to be a true patriot back in 2004.

    The terror threat level was such a wonderfully useful tool. While I doubt many people were heavily influenced by the system (the threats were purposely vague at best), it served as a constant reminder that we were under attack. Just as we and every nation in the history of the world has been 'under attack'. It's the nature of the world.

    August 22, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  13. mk

    I have no respect at all for anyone in the Bush adminisrtation, including Tom Ridge. The whole lot of them should be rotting in jail right now, including Townsend.

    August 22, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  14. Republicans are the American Taliban

    The first victim of the Taliban is always THE TRUTH......

    August 22, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  15. pkb

    I have watched Townsend on tv talk shows. She has no credibility and is a typical Bush/GOP persona. Of course, Ridge is correct. All Americans remember the tapes of Bin Laden which surfaced in the nick of time. Those tapes were phoney and we all knew they were. Democrats just didn't have the guts or power to say they were.

    August 22, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  16. "You have to wonder if this is not just publicity meant to sell more books," Townsend said.

    no, just shinning some sunlight on some very evil people

    August 22, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  17. Troy from NJ

    The Bush administration is ridiculous. The proof is mounting that they were a corrupt administration, yet t hey want to tell us what we are seeing with are own eyes is not the truth. Maybe they should take their little magician show on the road!

    August 22, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  18. MishaJohn

    CNN has given more coverage and more attention to the former Bush officials' pushback against Ridge than it gave to Ridge's claims!

    I noticed that yesterday's ticker featured Townsend as the top story all day along – and here she is, again, leading CNN's coverage for a second day.

    Sheesh. Isn't one pro-Bush cable outlet / FoxNews enough?

    Buh-bye CNN, been nice knowing' ya ....

    August 22, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  19. Blue Dog

    Shame on Ridge. He's a sniveling oppourtunist intent on selling books. He's played right into the hands of the far left. Continue to blame Bush while they slip us further into a Socialist dictatorship.

    I guess he and Colin Powell drank from the same batch of Kool-aide!

    Just fade away Tom, you pathetic ass-clown!

    August 22, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  20. Margaret Anderson/Boise, Idaho

    Peoples reputations were ruined during this administration. Tom Ridge has every right to defend what went on concerning his role. At the time of the alerts I was certain these were not genuine. How many times can you cry wolf before people become skeptical about the validity of these alerts? There is a cloud of shame hanging over the Bush administration.

    August 22, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  21. eolufemi

    The entire terror alert system was a fear tactic. It didn't tell us anything that could protect us, and only served to reinforce fear of the Islamic threat by our more racist American citizens. Who primarily comprised Bush's base.

    August 22, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  22. Jackie in Stone Mountain, GA

    I think it just awful, about what these politicians are doing these days. We need a lots of prayers for everyone.

    Long time ago politicians were held accountable. Where's the law in all of this?

    It all about profit and nothing else, while everybody else is just getting by. As I said
    we need a lots of prayers, that's what I'll be

    He should have said something when it happened
    not now. Ridge I'am talking about.

    August 22, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  23. Party Purity will never bring Political Power!

    I would believe Ridge over this shrill shill for the neo-cons.

    She has to keep a lid on how repubs used the American people for the party's benefit.

    August 22, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  24. CR

    Another Bush administration insider spilling the beans. Scoundrels all of them. Shame on CNN for pushing spin doctors billed as "contributors" to perform damage control.

    August 22, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  25. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    I believe Ridge. And I put nothing past the rotten Bush/Cheney administration since they specialized in lies and fear mongering. It makes perfect sense. Did Bush find his WMD yet?

    Where are the criminal charges?

    August 22, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
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