Friday Document Dump of the Week
This week's winner is the NCTC, for their report on global terrorism, which reveals that terrorist attacks in 2005 have more than tripled over the past year, with twice as many deaths.
As ericbrewer notes, this report has been a political football for some time. The information used to come out of the State Department. In 2004 they undercounted terror attacks by completely omitting two months from a survey, showing a decline when there actually had been an increase. Condoleezza Rice knew just how to rectify this situation - she wouldn't reveal any numbers at all. After criticism she moved the report to the National Counterterrorism Center, and now the spin is that the NCTC's data collection is vastly different than State's, and so you can't compare the numbers that show massive increases. Of course, they used the same reasoning in today's report, even though they ran the data themselves for 2004:
The 2004 data set was compiled in a relatively short time and focused on those incidents that had relatively high fatality levels; as such it did not completely capture those incidents where there were few or no casualties and can not be compared to the far more comprehensive 2005 data set.
Once again we see the government trying to explain away reality. I love the other justification that is used, that many of the attacks that account for the increase were in Iraq, as if that makes it OK because it's to be expected that, three years after invasion, Iraq is a terrorist outpost that shows no sign of abatement. I mean that's a given. But everywhere else, terrorism is only going up slightly, ever since we coordinated this massive effort to fight it! Isn't that great? Of course, the only reason the numbers show that is because we have far more comprehensive data this year. Just like we had last year!
Well, there's your answer, guys, if you want to stop terrorism, stop putting so many data collectors in the field to find those terrorist events! It's a war on data!