Campaign 2010

Jun 22, 2004

Erroneous or Deliberate?

If you were an administration that had few scruples with bending the truth, and a report was going to come across your desk that completely undermined the entire crux of your campaign, what would you do?

Said Powell today:

“I can assure you it had nothing to do with putting out anything but the most honest, accurate information we can.”

Well what about when your deputies were thumping their chests after the original release?  Still facts only?

Said Armitage when it was originally released:

“You will find in these pages clear evidence that we are prevailing in the fight.”

Said Ambassador Cofer Black, the Department of State’s top counter-terrorism official, when it was originally released:

“We also saw the lowest number of international terrorist attacks since 1969, and that’s a 34-year low.”

Well, the Senate Democratic Policy Committee seems to think there is more to the matter:


Omissions appear to be deliberate. Despite Secretary of State Colin Powell’s assertion that the report’s mistakes were caused by “a data collection and reporting error” (Meet the Press, 6/13/04) rather than any political motivation, the faults of the report do not lie in the data, but in manipulation of the data. The report’s authors did not include terrorist attacks that occurred after November 11, 2003, a step which excluded several major events, including the bombings of several buildings in Istanbul, Turkey, which killed 62 and injured more than 700. Critics have identified several other flaws in the report, including:

  • despite President Bush’s contention that Iraq is the central front in the war on terrorism, the report failed to include scores of deadly attacks on coalition forces in Iraq because they did not meet the State Department’s definition of terrorism; and


  • despite Terrorism Director Cofer Black’s April 1 testimony before a House Committee that “there can be no accommodation with this evil” of al Qaeda, the report omits anumber of Al Qaeda attacks because they were not “international” in scope, including attacks carried out by al Qaeda affiliates against targets within the countries in which they operate.

    As Rahm Emanuel said:

    “Funny things happened on the way to the printer,” he said. “Unfortunately, this is not the first, second, or third instance, for that matter, of a Bush cabinet secretary having to rewrite a report from their own department.”

    In fairness, when the State Department spokesman says they based the findings “on the facts as we had them at the time. The facts that we had were wrong” - it sounds a little like it wasn’t all State’s fault, doesn’t it?

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