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Profile: Tom Ridge

 
  

Positions that Tom Ridge has held:

  • Secretary of Homeland Security Department
  • Governor of Pennsylvania


 

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Tom Ridge actively participated in the following events:

 
  

September 20, 2001: Tom Ridge Named Homeland Security Secretary      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Tom Ridge.
President Bush announces the new cabinet-level Office of Homeland Security, to be led by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge. [Associated Press, 8/19/02] In November, Ridge becomes secretary of a new Homeland Security Department.
People and organizations involved: Tom Ridge, George W. Bush, Department of Homeland Security
          

May 20-24, 2002: Government Terrorist Warnings Believed Political      Complete 911 Timeline

       The Bush administration issues a remarkable series of terror warnings that many believe are politically motivated. Vice President Cheney warns it is “not a matter of if, but when” al-Qaeda will next attack the US. [CNN, 5/20/02] Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge says the same thing. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld says terrorists will “inevitably” obtain weapons of mass destruction. FBI Director Mueller says more suicide bombings are “inevitable.” [Washington Post, 5/22/02] Authorities also issue separate warnings that al-Qaeda militants might target apartment buildings nationwide, banks, rail and transit systems, the Statue of Liberty, and the Brooklyn Bridge. USA Today titles an article, “Some Question Motives Behind Series of Alerts.” [USA Today, 5/24/02] David Martin, CBS's national security correspondent, says, “Right now they're putting out all these warnings to change the subject from what was known prior to September 11 to what is known now.” It had been revealed the week before that Bush received a briefing in August 2001 entitled, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US” (see August 6, 2001). [Washington Post, 5/27/02] Remarkably, even Press Secretary Ari Fleischer says the alerts were issued “as a result of all the controversy that took place last week.” [Washington Times, 5/22/02; Village Voice, 5/23/02] Time notes, “Though uncorroborated and vague, the terror alerts were a political godsend for an administration trying to fend off a bruising bipartisan inquiry into its handling of the terrorist chatter last summer. After the wave of warnings, the Democratic clamor for an investigation into the government's mistakes subsided.” [Time, 5/27/02]
People and organizations involved: Tom Ridge, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, al-Qaeda, Ari Fleischer, Robert S. Mueller III, David Martin
          

November 25, 2002: Bush Creates Department of Homeland Security      Complete 911 Timeline

      
This Homeland Security department logo of an eye peeking through a keyhole was copyrighted but apparently not used.
President Bush signs legislation creating the Department of Homeland Security. Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge is promoted to Secretary of Homeland Security. The Department will consolidate nearly 170,000 workers from 22 agencies, including the Coast Guard, the Secret Service, the federal security guards in airports, and the Customs Service. [New York Times, 11/26/02 (C); Los Angeles Times, 11/26/02] However, the FBI and CIA, the two most prominent anti-terrorism agencies, will not be part of Homeland Security. [New York Times, 11/20/02] The department wants to be active by March 1, 2003, but “it's going to take years to integrate all these different entities into an efficient and effective organization.” [New York Times, 11/20/02; Los Angeles Times, 11/26/02] Some 9/11 victims' relatives are angry over sections inserted into the legislation at the last minute. Airport screening companies will be protected from lawsuits filed by family members of 9/11 victims. Kristen Breitweiser, whose husband died in the WTC, says, “We were down there lobbying last week and trying to make the case that this will hurt us, but they did it anyway. It's just a slap in the face to the victims.” [New York Times, 11/26/02 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Tom Ridge, Department of Homeland Security, Secret Service, US Coast Guard, George W. Bush, US Customs Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Kristen Breitweiser, Relatives of September 11 Victims, Central Intelligence Agency
          

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