Friday, August 21, 2009

Frances Townsend: Politics Never Played a Role in Homeland Security

Ex-White House Homeland Security Adviser Frances Townsend bristled at Tom Ridge's assertion that political pressure was applied to increase the threat level during the 2004 elections. The Boston Globe reported:

Frances Townsend, said yesterday that politics never played a role in determining alert levels.

Note Fran's focus on "the facts."

She noted that in the weeks leading up to the election two videotapes were released by al Qaeda, including one by terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, that she said contained “very graphic’’ and threatening messages.

"Politics" never played a role in Homeland Security is pure hyperbole, coming from the author of the White House Lessons Learned report. Frances omitted the hospital with the highest patient death toll. Memorial Medical Center lost 35 patients after Hurricane Katrina. This warranted not one mention in Mrs. Townsend's tome.

Her omission benefited two hospital companies, Tenet Health and LifeCare Hospitals. The Carlyle Group, a politically connected private equity underwriter (PEU) purchased LifeCare just weeks before Katrina sideswiped New Orleans. Back to her defense of the Bush White House:

Townsend said that any time there was a discussion of changing the alert level, she first spoke with Ridge and then, if necessary, called a meeting of the homeland security council. The group then made a recommendation to the president about whether the color-coded threat level should be raised.

Asked if there was any reason for Ridge to have felt pressured, Townsend said: “He was certainly not pressured. And, by the way, he didn’t object when it was raised, and he certainly didn’t object when it wasn’t raised.’’

Resigning one's job isn't a form of objection? The good news is Mrs. Townsend landed a risk management consulting job with Baker Botts. She did so after managing the risk for James A. Baker's buddies at the Carlyle Group. Big money shepherds the loyal. Fran earned a planeload of frequent liar points with her Ridge discount. Look for more of her commentary on CNN.

Recall the Washington Post flier hawking access to top Obama White House advisers for $25,000? The blond on the left (with her hand around a glass) is Elizabeth Baker Keffer. She's in the same business for the Atlantic. The woman in the middle is Tammy Haddad.

Another ex-Bushie, Andy Card, rushed to discredit Tom Ridge. Politico reported:

“We went over backwards repeatedly and with great discipline to make sure politics did not influence any national security and homeland security decisions,” former White House chief of staff Andy Card told POLITICO. “The clear instructions were to make sure politics never influenced anything.”

Where else will politics intrude its ugly head?

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