My first Obsidian Wings post: Did Bushies push to flout threat alert rules on election eve?
My first post for Obsidian Wings. Tom Ridge claims that Rumsfeld and Ashcroft pressured him to raise the terror threat level to orange over the release of a new Bin Laden tape. Ridge says that Rumsfeld and Ashcroft sought to influence the outcome of the election. But how does Ridge know what their motives were? Rumsfeld admits that he pushed for an eleventh-hour terror alert, but he says that he was going on the intelligence. Ashcroft has yet to comment publicly.
I considered the color-coded Homeland Security Advisory system to be pure political theater from its inception. It was never a serious public information tool. The threat levels were too vague to be useful for anything besides provoking free-floating anxiety. The early HSA threat increases were the equivalent of screaming, "Alert: Something bad might happen somewhere in the world!"
In 2003, Homeland Security tightened the guidelines for increasing the threat level. In order to go from yellow (elevated) to orange (high), there had to be specific, detailed, credible evidence of an imminent attack in the U.S..
As I argue at ObWi it's very unlikely that the Bin Laden tape even came close to that threshold. Yet Bush administration officials were reportedly pushing for an orange alert anyway.
The Republicans were selling themselves as the only party capable of defending the nation against terrorism. Their ground game was all about suppressing voter turnout. So, a last-minute terror alert would have been doubly advantageous for the GOP.
(Note: I won't be giving up Majikthise. Some of my posts will appear on ObWi and Majikthise, but there will continue to be Majikthise-only content.)