US News reports that in a new tell-all book, Tom Ridge admits manipulating terror threat levels for political motives. In the forthcoming book, Ridge reportedly acknowledges for the first time that he was pushed to raise the security alert on the eve of President Bush's re-election, something he "saw as politically motivated and worth resigning over." But as The Atlantic points out, Ridge apparently gave in to the White House demands anyway, resigning only after the election. Huffington Post also provides additional discussion on this developing story.
Inside the White House.... brought to you by Something Awful. Elaborate SA put-on, or so insane it must be true? I can't decide. DailyKos summary. [morey]
Tom Ridge's war profiteering. Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge has been reported to hold investments in at least seven different companies directly benefiting from new Homeland Security projects. "In response to a late afternoon telephone inquiry, DHS spokesman Brian Roehrkasse first said the department did not have enough time to answer questions ... Pressed further, he shouted an expletive to a reporter and hung up. "
"Tom Ridge unveils a redesigned Air Force 1, painted like the General Lee car from Dukes of Hazzard. No longer will there be a carpeted stairway; instead passengers will have to enter through the windows and holler like they're feeding pigs when boarding the President's jet." Enter the Guess the October Surprise contest and win a coffee mug.
Eastasia plans attacks on Eurasia "Efforts each of you make to be vigilant – such as reporting suspicious items or activities to authorities – do make a difference. Every citizen using their common sense and eyes and ears can support our national effort to stop the terrorists. Thank you for your continued resolve in the face of the ongoing threat of terrorism. We must continue to work together – to ensure that the freedom we just celebrated continues as the hallmark of this great nation." Are you scared yet?
D.H.S. - The Series. "... a multimillion-dollar episodic series, will explore the inner workings of the Department of Homeland Security, teaming the FBI, CIA, Secret Service, and National Security Administration (NSA) together with "first responders" such as local police, fire and safety administrators." The series is being pitched to prospective networks today and has the full support of President Bush and Tom Ridge. "They love it. They think it is fantastic," say the series' producers at Steeple Productions, located in the Seventh-Day Adventist Community of Zillah, Washington. Not familiar with Steeple Productions? Well, perhaps you might find their four-episode "Creation Vs Evolution" series enlightening.
The Skyline Terrorist Survival Kit. Tom Ridge's suggested kit may not be enough. How can you be prepared for a terrorist attack without a martini glass, a can of Ranch Style Beans and a copy of Red Dawn?
Tom Ridge wants you to be ready. Kind of like Airtoons for the Homeland. I particularly like how Texas is the location of the radiation threat.
I don't know about you, but this scares the hell out of me. Do we really need a "Tom Ridge Jugend?" How soon will these 'outcasts from society' get snazzy uniforms and their own ceremonies?
Department of Homeland Security to be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act and the Whistleblower Protection Act?
Department of Homeland Security to be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act and the Whistleblower Protection Act? The last episode of NOW ran a piece on the FOIA which described how back in 1974 President Ford and his staff, which included Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, opposed Congress' strengthening of the FOIA, and Ford tried unsuccessfully to veto it. Now this new exemption looks like the continuation of a 28 year-old feud. Ridge says it is in order to not "draw a road map of critical infrastructure vulnerabilities," but are complete exemptions really necessary for that? The potential for abuse seems quite dangerous. (Some previous discussions of FOIA revelations here and here).
Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge won't testify before Congress (NYTimes link) but will testify before Lou Dobbs Moneyline?
U.S. Tightening Rules on Keeping Scientific Secrets [NYTimes free subscription required] "One White House proposal is to eliminate the sections of articles that give experimental details researchers from other laboratories would need to replicate the claimed results, helping to prove their validity " It's a new monkey to keep See, Hear, and Speak no evil company: Publish no scientifically replicable evil.
Ridge Announces Security Alert ...again. President Bush's homeland security chief asked Americans to return to a high state of alert Monday, citing threats of more terrorist attacks, possibly around "important religious observations'' this month.
Potential missile defense system stronger or weaker? In different days the creation of a cabinet post called "Director of the Office of Homeland Security" would make a lot of people nervous. The choice of Tom Ridge (former Governor of Pennsylvania) could be worse. He served in Vietnam and is known as being "tough on crime". An interesting note is that while in Congress he "led repeated fights against the anti-missile system nicknamed Star Wars." Meanwhile, would you want this guys job?