In the yearly terrorism report released in April, the State Department assured Americans that low terrorism figures are in fact proof that U.S efforts have been successful in curbing international threats.
However, the department retracted those numbers two months later, citing that major terrorist acts have reached a 21-year high. They have attributed the mistake to no specific causes until last Tuesday, but maintain that there was “nothing surreptitious involved,” according to a statement released to the Associated Press by Patricia Yorkman, a spokeswoman for the office.
According to Yorkman, the mistakes stemmed from the following factors:
- The database used to prepare the report was changed. The CIA had been responsible for the database in the past, but this year it became the responsibility of the new nationwide terrorism analysis office, the Terrorist Threat Integration Center.
- Changes in staffing resulted in a lack of trained personnel working on the report.
- Coordination and oversight by the department were inadequate.
Senator John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, openly accused the Bush administration of purposely trying to exacerbate the success of the war on terrorism, but the scandal wasn’t enough to sway the election in his favor. With the administration now accepting the distorted figures as a mistake on their behalf, some voters wonder why they waited until after the election to fess up, and if this information would have had any effect on the outcome of the election.