Members of President Bush’s administration today denied accusations by former Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge in an upcoming book that the White House pressed him to raise the terror threat level ahead of the 2004 election. Former White House chief of staff Andrew Card and former homeland security adviser Fran Townsend both tell Politico that Bush officials did not try to use the threat level for political gain.
“We bent over backwards repeatedly and with great discipline to make sure politics did not influence any national security and homeland security decisions,” said Card. “The clear instructions were to make sure politics never influenced anything.” Added Townsend: “I’m a little mystified. Never in my experience did I see any political influence exerted on the cabinet secretary.”