State Dept. Admits Error in Terrorism Report

by TChris

For those who have the time and hard drive space to keep track of all the Bush administration's misleading statements, add this one to the list:

Two months ago, the Bush administration released its annual report card on counterterrorism and gave itself an A. The number of terrorist attacks around the globe, according to the State Department report called "Patterns of Global Terrorism," was at the lowest ebb in the past 34 years.

Not long afterward, however, the report was pilloried by academics, a lawmaker and others. They said its math defied the reality of a steady growth in the number and significance of terrorist attacks in 2003, as well as the worst type of attacks spreading from just a few countries to at least 10.

Yesterday came the State Department's response to its critics: "Oops. Busted. Our bad." Translated from its bureaucratic equivalent: "We anticipate that a correction to the 'Patterns of Global Terrorism' will be publicly issued as soon as possible."

[O]ne senior official, speaking on the condition that he not be cited by name, said the corrections could fill eight pages, including a revised chronology of events, "a list of some things that should have been put in or left out," and various explanatory notes.

Officials have not yet determined whether those statistics, chronologies, and explanatory notes will include, for instance, the truth.

Larry C. Johnson, a former CIA analyst and former deputy director of State's counterterrorism office ... said that even using the report's own data, as presented in its statistical tables, the total number of terrorist incidents in 2003 rose, not fell, compared with 2002.

Will the administration still find a way to give itself an A when the report is revised?

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