Calling everybody back from the beach for this news flash: Former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge has written a book in which he reveals that the Homeland Security color coded system for describing terrorist threat levels was influenced by political considerations. Who could have guessed that?
- Osama Bin Laden is a Muslim
- Pat Boone was never a suspect in the assassination of John F. Kennedy
- Jim Henson had a thing for puppets
- Snakes have developed a way to get around without any arms or legs
The surprise in Tom Ridge’s book isn’t that the color code system is a sham. The surprise is that a former member of the Department of Homeland Security is willing to admit to the sham.
Okay, so it’s a good thing that Tom Ridge now openly admits that the Bush Administration was creating the false appearance of an ongoing terrorist threat in order to gain political power. However, if no one in the current government is going to follow up revelations like this with public investigations that pull Bush Administration officials before cameras under oath, what is the practical point?
Furthermore, despite promises of reform, the Obama Administration is still using the color-coded terrorist risk system. Even though there hasn’t been a serious, credible terrorist threat in years, Homeland Security under Obama is still using the same color warning level as George W. Bush did. A revelation I’d like to see would come from President Obama himself: An explanation of why he still claims that there is a “high risk” (code orange) of terrorist attack against domestic flights in the United States.
That assessment doesn’t seem to be reality-based, so I’d like to see the same kind of questions about political motivation for Homeland Security threat advisories under Obama as we saw under Bush. If Obama won’t alter the fear-based Homeland Security system, he ought to be held accountable for that lack of change.