Terror danger (not really) greater, but you won’t hear it from US State Department

This story doesn’t offer nearly as much ammunition for opponents of the Bush administration as it seems to. According to Jonathan S. Landay, writing for Knight-Ridder, “The State Department decided to stop publishing an annual report on international terrorism after the government’s top terrorism center concluded that there were more terrorist attacks in 2004 than in any year since 1985, the first year the publication covered.” This story apparently first appeared in the Counterterrorism Blog where Larry C. Johnson writes, “For Secretary of State Rice these numbers are a disaster. It is tough to argue we are winning the war on terrorism when the numbers in the official Government report will show the largest number of incidents ever recorded since the State Department started reporting on terrorist incidents.”

But Johnson continues: “In the Secretary’s defense, however, the sharp jump in numbers has more to do with a change in methodology of counting rather that an actual surge in Islamic extremist activity. In fact, if you take time to parse the numbers, the actual scope of terrorism by Islamic extremists in 2004 appeared to decline relative to the attacks during 2003 (except for Iraq). Rather than run from the numbers the State Department and the Intelligence Community should seize the opportunity to really get their hands around the issue and provide Congress and the American people with a clear, apolitical assessment about the reality of the terrorist threat we face.”

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