April 16, 2005

U.S. terrorism report axed.

Every year since 1986, the US State Department has issued a report called 'Patterns of Global Terrorism.' That report contains, as you'd guess, an accounting of all the terrorist attacks that took place in the preceding year.

There isn't going to be a 2004 report, however. And the reason for that appears to be because the new report would have shown that terrorist attacks in 2004 reached the highest level in two decades, despite Dubya's 'war on terrorism.' A State Department spokesperson denies that the decision to eliminate the report, which was made without fanfare a few weeks ago, was for political reasons. Right.

[Current] and former officials charged that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's office ordered the report, "Patterns of Global Terrorism," eliminated weeks ago because the 2004 statistics raised disturbing questions about the Bush's administration's frequent claims of progress in the war against terrorism.

"Instead of dealing with the facts and dealing with them in an intelligent fashion, they try to hide their facts from the American public," charged Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst and State Department terrorism expert who first disclosed the decision to eliminate the report in The Counterterrorism Blog, an online journal.

A senior State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, confirmed that the publication was eliminated, but said the allegation that it was done for political reasons was "categorically untrue."

According to Johnson and U.S. intelligence officials, statistics that the National Counterterrorism Center provided to the State Department reported 625 "significant" terrorist attacks in 2004. That compared with 175 such incidents in 2003, the highest number in two decades.

The statistics didn't include attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq, which President Bush as recently as Tuesday called "a central front in the war on terror."

The intelligence officials requested anonymity because the information is classified and because, they said, they feared White House retribution. Johnson declined to say how he obtained the figures.

Kudos to the Counterterrism Blog, which posted about the dropping of the report well before the mainstream press found out about the story.

Via AP.

Posted by Magpie at April 16, 2005 10:13 AM | War on Terrorism | Technorati links |