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August 20th, 2009
09:37 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 8/20/09

We have new information tonight about an alleged struggle within the Bush administration just days before the 2004 presidential election. According to Former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, senior officials including former Attorney General John Ashcroft and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, pushed to raise the terror threat level to orange after Osama Bin Laden released an audiotape critical of then President George W. Bush.

And victims' family members and advocates are grieving today as the only man convicted in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland - which killed 270 people - was released on humanitarian grounds Thursday from a British prison. We speak to one man whose brother was killed in the attack.

Want to know what else we're covering? Read EVENING BUZZ

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Filed under: Live Blog • T1
soundoff (163 Responses)
  1. Brian F. -PA

    Good Evening Anderson and fellow bloggers
    I find the news that the Bush White House increased terror warnings as a purely political move a mix of horrifying and not terribly surprising....The fact that it is not surprising makes it all the more terrifying.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  2. Marian

    Ridge brought it up in his book to focus on to what lengths some in the Bush administration would go to win an election. The fact that it was suggested is the relevance.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  3. Steve

    It's amazing how this Bush witch hunt continues. Tom Ridge is merely "speculating" this is what "he felt" was happening. Everyone can draw their own conclusions.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  4. Gene White

    No surprise here. The politics of fear was the overwhelming theme of the Bush administration. Republican politics at it's worse

    August 20, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  5. Dulcie - Denver

    Even at the time, I remember getting fatigued by all the fear-mongering of the Bush administration. I'd just think, "Yeah, right, whatever" because nothing ever happened.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  6. David, Indiana

    Good evening Anderson, Erica, Isabel, everyone. Yes Friday coming up.

    @Isabel, My Thrusday did go well, thanks. How was yours?

    It sounds like both politics and security Anderson. So far what I've got is that Tom Ridge was wondering if he was being pressured. That is explosive given he was the first HS Sec, but didn't the media totally go into the possibility of political motivation of raising the alert level at the time?

    August 20, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  7. Kay

    Why is everyone surprised? This is probably just a tiny bit of what went on. And by the way where is G.W.? I don't remember any outgoing Pres. not ever being seen. Very odd.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  8. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    OK, so what of the Lockerbie bomber is sick. 270 people are dead. They had families who are still suffering. This release is a huge mistake. Probably the first and last time I'll agree with Obama.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  9. sharon, sydney, ns

    They say nothing was done. Whether he did it or not in that specific case no one may ever know. However, the whole terror alert thing was meant to do only one thing. Scare people. It had nothing to do with protecting the country. I mean really, did anyone's day really change pending the alert color given? No, people just worried more or less as to whether or not they were going to get blown up that day. To do that to a nation is just plain sick.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  10. lampe

    That was 5 years ago. What is discussing it now, going to do? And, at the time maybe it was better to raise it, and error on the side of caution?

    August 20, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  11. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    Jo Ann, North Royalton, Ohio,
    I agree with you, I either not trust former pres. Bush too.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  12. Steven Lewis - West Union, OH

    I would not be surprised to hear that the Bush administration tried to spin homeland security threat levels to their advantage, especially near elections.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  13. Clayton

    Does anyone think it is time to let the past be the past when it comes to the Bush error?

    August 20, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  14. Erica Fagien

    It doesn't surprise me that the Bush Administration was even more corrupt that everyone presumed.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  15. starr, formerly known as vincent

    I'm sorry Ms. Townsend, i'm not buying your explanation.

    This smells to high heaven! Now watch as the Bush supporters come out and Blame Tom Ridge for everything they can think of. It sure seems that's what Fran Townsend was doing.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:12 pm |
  16. Sarah Atlanta, GA

    Its just one thing after another with the Bush administration. I'm not surpised though.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:11 pm |
  17. Lisa A. Philadelphia, PA

    Howdy bloggers ... i remember them raising the threat level after the democratic convention and then everyone "knew" it was a "chess" play on Bush's part – no one is surprised by Tom Ridge's book.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:10 pm |
  18. Jo Ann, North Royalton, Ohio

    I can't say that I am surprised by Ridge's "revelation." I was always suspicious of those threat levels and I never trusted Bush.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:10 pm |
  19. nancy

    @Mike, it was done...

    August 20, 2009 at 10:10 pm |
  20. Isabel • Brazil

    The complicated part is the lack of trust in politicians.
    They deceive, manipulate, spoof.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:10 pm |
  21. Dodie ~ California

    John Kerry probably knew about it but could do nothing... maybe one reason he just did not have the stomach to run again

    August 20, 2009 at 10:09 pm |
  22. Tabitha

    However, I agree that they shouldn't have considered raising the threat level for purely political reasons.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:09 pm |
  23. Cynthia, NC

    Good evening everyone. Why does Tom Ridge now find it necessary to reveal his concerns about being pressured to raise the terror level just before the 2004 election? I bet a number of people are now curious about the contents of his new book ,which will contribute to good sales for that book....

    August 20, 2009 at 10:08 pm |
  24. Fay - California

    Tom Ridge's revelation does not come as a surprise to me – the timing of the terror alerts always seemed suspect.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:08 pm |
  25. sharon, sydney, ns

    Is there anything the Bush administration did honestly? This Ridge thing is terrible, yet not really surprising.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:08 pm |
  26. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Wow, 'punish them'? For what? They didn't raise the threat level, and with Bin Laden's tape it sounds like there was cause to raise it.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:07 pm |
  27. Tabitha

    If nothing was actually done, maybe we shouldn't waste our time discussing it? There are plenty of other things to cover.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:07 pm |
  28. Sharon Hastings

    I don't get the Ridge thing??? And, anytime anyone in Washington says politics was not an issue, I tend to giggle.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:07 pm |
  29. Stacy

    @Minou @Nancy: No surprise here either. Anyone who was paying any attention at that time already knows this.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:07 pm |
  30. Jacqueline, NY

    Is anyone rally surprised at this? I said way back when such truths would one day come out and so it has.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:07 pm |
  31. Staci

    Wow. Those allegations are extremely grave. To think, if we could only gain those four years back, who can guess where our economy, country and lives would be like...and it turns out, they could've been based on fallacy?

    August 20, 2009 at 10:06 pm |
  32. Max

    Hello everyone....This is a matter of double standard....If a democrat had done anything even close to what the Bush admin. did, there would've been consequences and we would never heard the end of it....Why do the republicans always get away with murder?

    August 20, 2009 at 10:06 pm |
  33. Dodie ~ California

    Good Evening Anderson and everyone.

    This does Not surprise me at all. Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney have always been corrupt. It will be interesting what will be done about this and how it will be carried out!

    Janine from PA (lol)

    August 20, 2009 at 10:06 pm |
  34. JC-Los Angeles

    Good evening; my heart goes out to the families of the Lockerbie tragedy; I have very fond memories of playing tennis with JP Flynn, Brian's brother, and one of the victims; he was a great guy.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:06 pm |
  35. starr, formerly known as vincent

    Hello Anderson, Erica & Team 360.

    Hi fellow bloggers.

    I'm enjoying the Tom Ridge remarks, because that's exactly the way i read it at the time!

    August 20, 2009 at 10:05 pm |
  36. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    @nancy, since it wasn't done, how was it 'cheating'?

    August 20, 2009 at 10:05 pm |
  37. Heather - Spokane, WA

    Is anyone really surprised about these new allegations about the previous administration? I think thats why the colored threat level chart was created, to scare everyone

    August 20, 2009 at 10:04 pm |
  38. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    So we are raising a flap over something that was discussed, but upon reflection never done?

    August 20, 2009 at 10:04 pm |
  39. Anthonia-(Bay Area)California

    Hey Everyone! Mann today has been an awesome day!

    Finally we all can know the truth about politics! finally!
    thank you CNN!

    August 20, 2009 at 10:04 pm |
  40. Janine from PA.

    Good evening AC 360
    The Bush administration using fear to get reelected? NOOOOOOO! That can't be! Yes I am being sarcastic.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:04 pm |
  41. Dulcie - Denver

    Why does this not surprise me?

    August 20, 2009 at 10:04 pm |
  42. nancy

    Is anyone really surprised that the Bush Admin cheated to win the second term too?

    August 20, 2009 at 10:04 pm |
  43. Paolo

    Hello everyone! I am not surprised by the allegations that anything to do with the terror threat level would raise then President Bush's ratings. Kerry even conceded that was it for him. But the fact that these were all politically motivated coming from Tom Ridge?

    August 20, 2009 at 10:03 pm |
  44. Minou, New York City

    hi all.

    I am not one bit surprised by the Bush-news. Is anyone? I hope Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Ridge, and anyone involved in this will be punished for this.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:03 pm |
  45. Isabel • Brazil

    Hey Anderson, friends, David (Indiana) and 360º team!

    I hope your Thursday went well.

    Tomorrow is Friday! At last! Lol...

    August 20, 2009 at 10:02 pm |
  46. AndreinFL

    Good night everyone, I hope everyone had a good day and energized to have good discussion.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:01 pm |
  47. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    Helloooo Anderson, Erica, Ed Henry, David Gergen and my friends Twitter/Facebook Bloggers!!!!!
    Happy Thursday night!!!! 🙂
    I found out that Abdel Basset Al-Megrahi freed from jail, I agree with our America people have to right angry who lost 270 perish by Pam Am flight 103 cause plane crash by (bomb). I am opposite free man, I hope he have to jail, Shame on Scotland! Also, I am agree with Pres. Obama said "it is mistake."

    August 20, 2009 at 10:00 pm |
  48. Sharon Hastings

    Good evening Anderson and all bloggers. Sounds like an interesting show tonight.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:00 pm |
  49. Jacqueline, NY

    Tweety-tweet, Anderson! I mean good evening all!

    August 20, 2009 at 10:00 pm |
  50. Heather - Spokane, WA

    Evening Anderson and everyone. One more day til Friday!

    August 20, 2009 at 10:00 pm |
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