- A state department report which showed an increase in
terrorism incidents around the world in 2004 was altered to strip it of
its pessimistic statistics, it emerged yesterday.
- The country-by-country report, Patterns of Global Terrorism,
has come out every year since 1986, accompanied by statistical tables.
- This year's edition showed a big increase, from 172 significant
terrorist attacks in 2003 to 655 in 2004.
- Much of the increase took place in Iraq, contradicting
recent Pentagon claims that the insurgency there is waning.
- Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, ordered the
report to be withdrawn and a new one issued minus the statistics.
- A Democratic congressman, Henry Waxman, has written an
angry letter about the change to Cameron Hume, the state department's inspector
general, arguing that Ms Rice's decision "denies the public access
to important information about the incidence of terrorism".
- Mr Waxman said: "There appears to be a pattern in
the administration's approach to terrorism data: favourable facts are revealed
while unfavourable facts are suppressed."
- Ms Rice's spokesman, Richard Boucher, denied the change
was politically inspired and said Ms Rice had decided the statistics would
be better handled by the national counter-terrorism centre.
- However, intelligence officials said there were no immediate
plans to publish the figures.