Unplugged: Ridge On Homeland Security Frustrations – CBS News

Former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge said on “Washington Unplugged” Friday that “trying to match cultures and build the relationships necessary so you can better coordinate an effort to secure America” sometimes left him frustrated when he served as the head of the then-newly formed Department of Homeland Security from 2003 through 2005.

Ridge, who has a new book out called “The Test of Our Times: America Under Siege,” told host Bob Schieffer that he never attended a national security council meeting despite his role as director of Homeland Security. He said he was not involved in war planning decisions, something he said he did not find off-putting since his role was confined to homeland security.

Schieffer asked if the creation of the Homeland Security bureaucracy was a mistake, suggesting that “we just put a giant bureaucracy on top of other bureaucracies.”

Ridge responded that he “still think[s] it was a good idea,” but added that “the fact that I ran into so many challenges with having aggregated 180,000 people who were bits and pieces in other organizations, and then we bumped up against them – that was a challenge. And I think the challenge still exists.”