Former US homeland security chief Tom Ridge says that aides to George W. Bush pressured him to raise the "terror alert" level during the November 2004 US election.
Then defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld and attorney general John Ashcroft pushed Ridge to elevate the color-coded threat level, however he refused, according to a summary by his publisher based on his new book.
"After that episode, I knew I had to follow through with my plans to leave the federal government for the private sector," Ridge is quoted as writing in "The Test of Our Times: America Under Siege... And How We Can Be Safe Again."
Some of Bush's critics had repeatedly questioned whether the administration was using warnings of a possible attack to blunt the political damage from the unpopular Iraq war by shifting the debate to the broader "war on terrorism," which had wide popular appeal.
Ridge, a former governor of Pennsylvania, was the first secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security that the US Congress created in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist strikes.