In his new book, the first Homeland Security chief, Tom Ridge, accuses top aides to President George W. Bush of pressing him to raise the terror alert level to influence the 2004 presidential election.
Ridge writes that there was a "vigorous, some might say dramatic, discussion" about raising the threat level. He says his aides told the White House that doing so would politicize national security.
"I believe our strong interventions had pulled the 'go-up' advocates back from the brink," Ridge writes. "But I consider the episode to be not only a dramatic moment in Washington's recent history, but another illustration of the intersection of politics, fear, credibility and security."
"After that episode, I knew I had to follow through with my plans to leave the federal government for the private sector," Ridge, who resigned soon after the election where Bush defeated Democrat John F. Kerry, writes in "The Test of Our Times: America Under Siege ... And How We Can Be Safe Again."