Ridge, Chertoff: New Authors on U.S. Security

Only three individuals have headed the Department of Homeland Security since its formation in January 2003. Two them have books coming out this week.

Tom Ridge, the chief from 2003 to 2005, caused a rumpus among former players in the Bush administration earlier this month when details emerged from his new book "The Test of Our Times: America Under Siege...and How We Can Be Safe Again" (Thomas Dunne Books, $25.99). In the book, Ridge reveals that he felt pressured to raise the color coded threat advisory system.

Michael Chertoff, who presided over the agency from 2005 to the end of the Bush administration, is releasing a similar work about the department - though he hasn't received the headlines his predecessor has.

In "Homeland Security: Assessing the First Five Years" (University of Pennsylvania Press, $24.95), he argues, among other things, that transnational gangs, cyber terrorism and improvised explosive devises detonated at home are emerging threats; the fight against terrorism should be viewed as a contest between freedom and tyranny; exercising "soft power" is the best way to prevent terrorism; FEMA should not be removed from DHS; and international law hinders the security needs of individual states.

In an interview with The Los Angeles Times, Chertoff cautioned against shutting down detention camps for detainees and prosecuting CIA interrogators. He tells the Times: "I spent four years working real hard to keep people who were trained in al-Qaeda camps from coming into the country. The idea that we [might] bring them in and let them go is not a happy prospect."

At Border Lines, a blog by the liberal advocacy group Center for International Policy, Tom Barry casts a dubious eye on the book, viewing the arguments as Chertoff's sales pitch for his security consulting company, the Chertoff Group. "The homeland security industry is emerging as the country's fastest growing government-industry complex. It's an industry where Chertoff and an array of ex-Bush administration officials are playing leading roles," Barry writes.

-- Stephen Lowman

By Steven E. Levingston |  August 31, 2009; 3:35 PM ET
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If Eisenhower was/were giving his farewell address today, he'd likely warn us against the "military-industrial-SURVEILLANCE complex." No wonder we have no money for....

Posted by: lheffelkcrrcom | September 1, 2009 10:22 AM

The problem is that none of your red-neck readers know who Eisenhower was and if you try to tell them, they just say he was a commie liberal from the past. In fact he was the last decent Republican president we've had.

Posted by: frluke | September 2, 2009 2:36 PM

If the red necks that read this article and your comments new who President Eisenhower was, the last decent President the Republican party has produced in this century, they might, maybe, but probably not, understand the intelligent post you have made.

Posted by: frluke | September 2, 2009 4:11 PM

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