Maddow Interviews Tom Ridge About Iraq Intelligence, Hurricane Katrina, Politicized Threat Levels (VIDEO)
***UPDATE*** TPM makes the good point that Maddow got Ridge to contradict what was written on the jacket of his book. After repeatedly denying that politics played any role in the decision to raise the nation's threat level for a terrorist attack, Maddow quoted to Ride from the jacket description of the book:
'He recounts episodes such as the pressure that the DHS received to raise the security alert on the eve of of the '04 presidential election.' That's wrong?
Ridge replies, "Those aren't my words. Read the book." As TPM wryly notes, "But not the book's jacket. That stuff just can't be trusted." (Watch the third video below.)
Rachel Maddow interviewed former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge tonight, who is out promoting his new book The Test of Our Times, and she confronted him over his statements linking domestic security to going to war in Iraq.
Ridge denied that any political considerations went into the decision, instead saying that it was all based on intelligence. Maddow replied:
When I look at your record, I feel like you didn't slip in a reference to the president and a reference to Iraq once in this mention in 2004. You were a crucial, authoritative part of making what turned out to be a false case to the American people abut Iraq being a threat and us needing to attack them.
Maddow then quoted back Ridge a statement of his from 2003, a month before the invasion of Iraq began, in which he stated that he agreed with Bush that Iraq has chemical and biological weapons, and is trying to develop nuclear ones, and has the "means of delivery." She asked Ridge if looking back, he regretted that statement. Ridge answered, "No." Does he still think it's true: "At the time I think it's true, and subsequent to that [Bush's] leadership and the things we've done have kept America safe."
Ridge insists, to a skeptical Maddow, that Iraq was an intelligence failure and not a politicized decision.
The interview covers a lot of ground and it's worth watching in full. It's split into three parts below.
Maddow discusses Iraq War intelligence with Ridge:
Ridge on what happened during Hurricane Katrina:
Ridge clarifies quote on politics being considered when raising the nation's threat level: