As we noted earlier this month, this year's version of the State Department's annual report on "Patterns in Global Terrorism" won't include statistics on . . . . global terrorism.
Officials at Condoleezza Rice's State Department says it's just too complicated, that questions about the methodology in counting terrorist attacks make the statistics the report has always included before suddenly meaningless now. But Larry Johnson, the former CIA analyst and State Department terrorist expert who first broke the story with a post on Counterterrorism Blog, has said from the beginning that the real reason is that the statistics would show that the administration's war on terrorism isn't working.
It appears that he's right. As the Washington Post reports this morning, the statistics that would be in the report -- but aren't -- show that the number of serious international terrorist incidents more than tripled last year. Overall, the Post says, there were 655 "significant" attacks last year compared to about 175 the year before. In Iraq alone -- the place George W. Bush likes to call the "central front in the war on terror" -- the number of terrorist attacks shot up from 22 in 2003 to 198 in 2004.
Although the State Department says publicly that year-to-year comparisons can't be drawn, department aides who participated in private briefings for congressional aides Tuesday said the statistics revealed a "dramatic uptick" in terrorist attacks, the Post says.
One Republican aide who attended the meeting called the State Department's claim that the statistics weren't relevant to the "Patterns in Global Terrorism" report "absurd." Meanwhile, Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman called on Rice to release the data publicly. "The large increases in terrorist attacks reported in 2004 may undermine administration claims of success in the war on terror," Waxman wrote in a letter to Rice, "but political inconvenience has never been a legitimate basis for withholding facts from the American people."