There is another former U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary with a book coming out on September 1st.
Just as news was hitting the web (and my Blackberry) about Tom Ridge’s blockbuster charges on political pressure to raise the color terror alert in his new book “The Test of Our Times: America Under Siege … And How We Can Be Safe Again,” I was walking down Vermont Avenue in Washington on my way to an interview with Michael Chertoff whose new book, Homeland Security: Assessing The First Five Years, coincidentally is also being released on September 1st. I wrote about the content of Chertoff’s book contents in June.
So, when I got to Chertoff’s office I showed him the initial story by Paul Bedard at USNews.com. He had not seen the news nor has read the Ridge book yet. I had planned to ask him about how he would recommend changing the color alert system and what he told the task force looking into that question. But of course now I had to inquire whether he had received any political pressure on the alerts. He said he “never” was. During Chertoff’s tenure, DHS raised the alert twice: in 2005, after the transit bombings in London, and again in 2007, after the announcement of a plot to bomb airliners going from England to the U.S.
I will be writing up my interview with Chertoff next week when his book is released. I also expect to speak to Ridge about his book as well.