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Date Posted:01:29:43 08/30/09 Sun Author:Bobby N. Harmon, CPCU Subject: EX-DHS SECRETARY TOM RIDGE LINKS POLITICS TO TERROR ALERTS
"EX-DHS CHIEF LINKS POLITICS TO TERROR ALERTS" - (An Exhibit in CV05-00030 - U S Dept of Justice vs Harmon)
August 28, 2009
From: "Bobby Harmon"
To: "President Barack Obama" , "U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder" , "David Farmer" , "Steven Guttman" , "Carol K. Muranaka" , "Judge David A. Ezra" , "Judge Kevin S.C. Chang" , "Judge Barry M. Kurren" , "Securities & Exchange Commission Enforcement Division" , "U.S. Treasury Dept. Office of Inspector General" , "Office of Inspector General US Dept of Justice" , "Executive Office for U.S. Trustees" , "Judge Robert Faris" , "SEC Office of The Inspector General" , "Hawaii State Bar Association" , "Hugh Jones" , "Insurance Division Fraud Branch" , "Lawrence Reifurth" , "Linda Lingle" , "Jo Ann Uchida" , "Office of Inspector General Civil Rights Complaints" , "Mark Bennett" , "American Arbitration Association" , "Judith Neustadter" , "Benjamin J. Cayetano" , "All Representatives" , "All Senators" , "Andrew Walden" , "Aon Insurance Managers" , "Arthur Rath" , "Bradley Tamm" , "Carl Morton" , "Charles Hurd" , "David Shapiro" , "Dee Jay Mailer" , "J C Shannon" , "James B Nicholson" , "James B. Farris" , "James Cribley" , "James Wriston" , "Jeffrey Watanabe" , "Jim Dooley" , "Joe Moore" , "John D. Finnegan" , "Judson Witham" , "Ken Conklin" , "Lyn Flanigan Anzai" , "Margery Bronster" , "Michael N. Tanoue" , "Michelle Tucker" , "Nathan Aipa" , "Paul Alston" , "Randall Roth" , "Rick Daysog" , "Robert Bruce Graham" , "Robin Campaniano" , "Samuel P. King" , "William K Slate" , "Jim Terrack" , "Rocco Sansone" , "Ted Pettit" , "Laura Thielen" , "Vaughn & Lynda Robinson" , "Catbird" , "James Duca" , "Ian Lind" , "Roy F. Hughes" , "Jack Cashill" , "Marshall Chriswell" , "Laser Haas" , "Lucy Komisar" , "Democrats.com" , "Debra Sweet" , "Jane Kirtley" , "John Jubinsky" , "Yamil Berard" , "Global Exchange" , "William K. Black" , "Carole Williams" , "Susan Tius" , "Human Rights in China" , "Michelle Malkin" , "Phil J. Berg" , "Amnesty International U.S.A." , "Michael Moore" , "Thomas Fitton" , "Ron Branson" , "ACLU Online" , "Louanne Kam" , "Eric Martinson" , "Bruce Nakaoka" , "Oswald Stender" , "Crystal Rose" , "Peter Dale Scott" , "IndictBushNow.org" , "National Whistleblower Center" , "Ernest Fukeda" , "Orly Taitz" , "The Whistler" , "F. William Engdahl" , "James Paul" , "Alex Chasck" , "9th Circuit Court Mediation Program" , "Joseph Zernick" , "Glenn Beck"
Ex-DHS chief links politics to terror alerts
By DEB RIECHMANN and EILEEN SULLIVAN, Associated Press Writers
WASHINGTON – Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge claims in a new book that he was pressured by other members of President George W. Bush's Cabinet to raise the nation's terror alert level just before the 2004 presidential election.
Ridge says he objected to raising the security level despite the urgings of former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, according to a publicity release from Ridge's publisher.
In the end the alert level was not changed. Ridge said the episode convinced him to follow through with his plans to leave the administration; he resigned on Nov. 30, 2004.
Bush's former homeland security adviser, Frances Townsend, said Thursday that politics never played a role in determining alert levels.
Two tapes were released by al-Qaida in the weeks leading up to the election — one by terrorist leader Osama bin Laden and the other by a man calling himself "Azzam the American." Terrorism experts suspected that "Azzam the American" was Adam Gadahn, a 26-year-old Californian whom the FBI had been urgently seeking.
Townsend said the videotapes contained "very graphic" and "threatening" messages.
Townsend said that anytime there was a discussion of changing the alert level, she first spoke with Ridge and then, if necessary, called a meeting of the homeland security council comprising the secretaries of defense and homeland security, the attorney general and CIA and FBI directors. The group then made a recommendation to the president about whether the color-coded threat level should be raised.
"Never were politics ever discussed in this context in my presence," she said.
Asked if there was any reason for Ridge to have felt pressured, Townsend said: "He was certainly not pressured.
And, by the way, he didn't object when it was raised and he certainly didn't object when it wasn't raised."
Ridge's publicist, Joe Rinaldi, said Ridge was out of town and was not doing interviews until his book, "The Test of Our Times: America Under Siege ... and How We Can Be Safe Again," is released on Sept. 1.
In 2004, Ridge explained why he didn't feel the alert should be raised. "We don't have to go to (code level) orange to take action in response either to these tapes or just general action to improve security around the country," he said then.
In 2005, months after he resigned, Ridge said his agency has been the most reluctant to raise the alert level. "There were times when some people were really aggressive about raising it, and we said, 'For that?'" he said during a panel discussion in May 2005. But his book appears to be the first time he publicly attributes some of the pressure to politics.
The Homeland Security Department, which Ridge was the first person to lead, faced criticism in 2004 from Democrats who alleged that raising the alert level was designed to boost support for the Bush administration during an election year.
Ridge, a former Republican congressman and governor of Pennsylvania, was widely named as a potential running mate to John McCain in 2008 before the GOP candidate chose Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Dear President Obama, Attorney General Holder, Trustee Farmer, Mr. Guttman, Ms. Neustadter, Judge Kevin Chang, Judge David Ezra, and All Concerned:
Due to the discovery of NEW FACTS related to this lawsuit which I maintain is a "prior restraint" of my constitutional rights of Free Speech and a violation of Federal and State Anti-SLAPP statutes, I am adding the subject Exhibit. You will find additional information on-line at:
Mr. Farmer and Mr. Guttman, in light of this new Exhibit, I again ask you to accept my standing offer that we attempt to NEGOTIATE an out-of-court GLOBAL SETTLEMENT in this case, including my unanswered insurance claims against you and your professional liability insurance carriers, rather than continuing indefinitely these costly court proceedings. These negotiations could be held in complete confidentiality and if no agreement were reached between parties, these legal matters and my separate insurance claims can proceed as before.
Or, as an alternative to NEGOTIATION of a global settlement, I ask if you would be willing to submit the subject case only to non-binding MEDIATION.