Former Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge says the Bush administration “never pressured” him to raise the US terror threat level, backing down on a claim made in his book, USA Today reports. In the book, Ridge writes that John Ashcroft and Donald Rumsfeld pushed him to elevate it before the 2004 election, despite “absolutely no support” from his department. “I wondered, 'Is this about security or politics?'” he wrote. He now says he’s “not second-guessing my colleagues.”
In the book, he asserts that his department was treated as second-class; he wasn’t invited to National Security Council meetings and wasn’t kept informed by the FBI. He writes that Ashcroft and Rumsfeld wanted to raise the threat level after the election-season appearance of a new Osama bin Laden tape, despite the fact that such tapes emerged frequently.