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Terror Warning Raises Some Red Flags

August 05, 2004

Re "Ridge Points to Al Qaeda File Use," Aug. 4: The motivations concerning the timing of the latest terrorist alerts have come into question. Homeland Secretary Tom Ridge said, "We don't do politics in the Department of Homeland Security." Yet, when he made the initial announcements on Sunday, Ridge ended his remarks with: "We must understand that the kind of information available to us today is the result of the president's leadership in the war against terror." If that isn't political, could the secretary explain the difference?

Robert A. Fruge

Cathedral City

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Had Bush administration officials explained that the terrorist plans were not recent yet other factors coupled with events that are to take place in New York City this month made tightened security in specific areas prudent, there would be no grounds for criticism.

By omitting the complete context of the threat, the impression was left that the threat plans were recent and terrorist action was imminent. Administration officials' lack of candor not only makes their actions suspect but should a more specific or concrete threat be uncovered, would it then be given the credence it deserves?

Michael A. Fox

Pasadena

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Re "Bush Supports 9/11 Panel but Not on Details," Aug. 3: If President Bush was serious about the "war on terrorism," he would want to have the head of intelligence in the Cabinet and by his side.

And it seems to me that the emphasis on the fact that the president can hire and fire at will would reduce the efficacy of the intelligence if officials had to guess on how the data would be received by the president. Wasn't that part of the problem with the pre-9/11 and pre-Iraq-invasion data? The head of intelligence should be in the Cabinet. Or is there something the president doesn't want to know? Or us to know?

John Otterness

San Pedro

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Bush administration officials can build barricades on Wall Street, Main Street and every other street, but until they focus not just on immediate terror threats but also long-standing causes of terrorism I won't feel a bit safer.

Tom Silvestri

Calabasas

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