Many people have breathlessly seized on the supposed revelations from former Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge's upcoming memoirs, despite the obvious lack of credibility of most political tell-alls. Ridge apparently claims that he was pressured to raise the terror alert level before the 2004 election, and that he believed that senior administration officials -- specifically John Ashcroft and Donald Rumsfeld -- were trying to manipulate the terror warning level for political purposes. Naturally the usual suspects -- primarily on the left, but some others as well -- have swallowed his assertion without hesitation, despite the fact that they will quickly reject anything Ridge has to say that differs from their preconceived notions about what went on during the Bush administration.
Here's what Ashcroft and Rumsfeld will say, if they bother to comment or even acknowledge wanting to raise the alert level in 2004. They'll maintain that the intelligence picture at the time warranted raising the threat level, or that the very fact of a presidential election automatically meant that the chances of an attack were more likely. Maybe they'll be lying and the whole thing was purely political. Maybe it was at least partially political. Or maybe they'll be telling the truth as they saw it. There's really no way to tell. The opinion of one former administration official writing the usual self-serving memoir is hardly anything definitive. That might be something to keep in mind the next time some advanced BDS case starts screaming, "see, see, this proves that Bush was manipulating the terror alerts for political reasons!!"