The State Department has been forced to correct major portions of its annual report on global terrorism that was released two months ago after major mistakes were cited. The original report concluded that the number of terrorist attacks in the world in 2003 had dropped to its lowest level in 34 years. Now the report will be rewritten and it may show that 2003 had more attacks than any year in the last two decades. Rep. Henry A. Waxman of California accused the administration of manipulating terrorism data so it could claim victory in the so-called war on terror.
Larry C. Johnson, a former CIA analyst and former deputy director of State’s counterterrorism office, is among those who have urged a wide-ranging correction. He 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.
The number of deaths in the tables was 390, not 307 as department officials asserted in public comments; the number of wounded was 1,895, not 1,593, Johnson said. He said the number of significant incidents — involving victims who were killed, injured or kidnapped — rose from 60 percent of incidents in 2002 to 89 percent in 2003.
He also noted, as did Waxman and scholars at Princeton and Stanford universities, that the report omitted acts of terrorism after Nov. 11, 2003. The department attributed this to a cutoff date for printing the report in time for its release on April 29. At a result, a Nov. 15 suicide bombing in Istanbul that killed 61 people and injured more than 300 was omitted.