I heard Tom Ridge, the former secretary of Homeland Security, speak about his new book at Barnes and Noble on September 21. Hearing him reinforced my opinion that everything in the George W. Bush administration was political. The Department of Homeland Security was highly politicized under Mr. Ridge, who was little more than a stooge for the White House. Mr. Ridge denied that the ridiculous color-coded terror alert system was manipulated for political benefit, although that was widely accepted at the time — especially just before elections.

I wondered why Mr. Ridge still needed the four security guards watching over him in peaceful West Windsor. Perhaps he is taking the subtitle of his book “America Under Siege” too seriously.

When asked if any useful intelligence was gained by waterboarding prisoners at Guantanamo, Mr. Ridge replied “Not to my knowledge.” A followup comment was made that Dick Cheney had said that much useful information was obtained through torture. Mr. Ridge then said that he wasn’t privy to all of the intelligence that Cheney was. So if we are to believe him, intelligence was being kept from the director of homeland security by the vice president.

My feeling is that during the Bush presidency everything was political. The required breakfast cereal was undoubtedly Wheaties, Breakfast of Champions.

Ronald A. LeMahieu

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