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Friday, June 11, 2004

the bush administration’s difficulty with counting

The State Department acknowledged Thursday it was wrong in reporting terrorism declined worldwide last year.

Instead, both the number of incidents and the toll in victims increased sharply, the department said. Statements by senior administration officials claiming success were based “on the facts as we had them at the time. The facts that we had were wrong,” department spokesman Richard Boucher said.

i wonder if this’ll have much traction on funeral day?

looking back a few weeks… someone knew the report was “faulty” at best back in mid-may…

Faulty Terror Report Card [washington post, may 16, 2004]

“You will find in these pages clear evidence that we are prevailing in the fight,” said Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. As evidence, the “Patterns of Global Terrorism” report says that worldwide terrorism dropped by 45 percent between 2001 and 2003. The report even boasts that the number of terrorist acts committed last year “represents the lowest annual total of international terrorist attacks since 1969.”


So how did the report conclude that international terrorism is declining?

It accomplishes this sleight of hand by combining significant and nonsignificant acts of terrorism. Significant acts are clearly defined and each event is listed in an appendix, so readers can verify the data. By contrast, no explanation is given for how nonsignificant acts are identified or whether a consistent process is used over time — and no list is provided describing each event. The data cannot be verified.

the report is available in both html and pdf formats.

At our request, the Terrorist Threat Integration Center is revising the statistics for calendar year 2003. While we are still checking data for accuracy and completeness, we can say that our preliminary results indicate that the figures for the number of attacks and casualties will be up sharply from what was published. As soon as we are in a position to, we will issue corrected numbers, a revised analysis, and revisions to the report.

if this keeps up, will the american intelligence services ever get their credibility back? it’s one thing to miss a call about the future, but this is reporting with hindsight – isn’t that supposed to be, i dunno… easier?

posted by roj at 4:43 am