You know how the Bush administration keeps making those claims that we’re safer with him as president? Think again:
The State Department acknowledged yesterday that it was wrong in reporting terrorism declined worldwide last year, a finding that was used to boost one of President Bush’s top foreign policy claims: success in countering terror.
Instead, 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 A. Boucher said.
The report, issued in April, said attacks had declined last year to 190, the lowest level in 34 years, and dropped 45 percent since 2001, Bush’s first year as president. The State Department is now working to determine the correct figures.
Among the mistakes, Boucher said, was that only part of the year 2003 was taken into account.
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said the errors were partly the result of new data-collection procedures. “I can assure you it had nothing to do with putting out anything but the most honest, accurate information we can,” he said.
“Errors crept in that frankly we did not catch here,” Powell said.
As an example of the Bush mastery of the news cycle, this information was released just as the news media is gearing up for a big state funeral. Even in the “liberal” Washington Post, it was buried in “News in Brief” 9 pages inside.
Now, when Bush continues to campaign on his success in curbing terrorism, will anyone call him on it?