CNN Evening News for Thursday, Aug 20, 2009
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(Washington: Ed Henry) Explosive allegations from former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge about how in 2004 former President George Bush's administration wanted to raise the terrorism threat level following the release of a videotape from Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden featured; Ridge's book "The Test of Our Times" about the politics behind the decision quoted. [In 2004, former Vice President Dick CHENEY - speaks about possible terrorism.] [In 2004, RIDGE - denies politics at Homeland Security.] The stunning allegations from Ridge about the Bush administration, how this could be damaging to Bush's legacy & how this episode may have stunted presidential candidate Senator John Kerry's chances discussed.
(Studio: Anderson Cooper) Live discussion held former homeland security official Frances Townsend & Democratic strategist Paul Begala about the Ridge allegations. [TOWNSEND - says she chaired the meeting in which politics never came up despite the videotapes from bin Laden & Adam Gadahn; explains why old material came up at the time & was considered; emphasizes the context for the two tapes & the intelligence picture.] [BEGALA - comments on the reasoning behind raising the threat level after the Democratic convention: that the Bush administration politicized the national security issue.] Other material: Ridge's statement on the bin Laden tape & security measures quoted.