Almost all Justice terror stats wrong

By SHAUN WATERMAN, UPI Homeland and National Security Editor

WASHINGTON, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- The U.S. Justice Department inspector general says all but two of 26 sets of statistics about terrorism prosecutions are inaccurate.

"Congress, department managers, and the public need accurate statistics in order to fully assess the (Justice) Department's anti-terrorism efforts," Inspector General Glen Fine said in a statement Tuesday, urging officials to "clarify the definitions (the department) uses in its anti-terrorism categories, maintain adequate support for the numbers, and improve internal controls to ensure the accuracy of its statistics."


Fine's office examined the accuracy of 26 sets of terrorism-related statistics produced by the FBI, the Justice Department's Criminal Division, and its Executive Office for United States Attorneys, "to help measure the department's counterterrorism efforts."

"These statistics are reported to senior department managers, Congress, and the public in various reports, budget documents, and testimony," said the statement, adding that auditors had chosen the figures they did "based on our assessment of the significance of the statistics to the department's counter-terrorism efforts."

The statement said they had specifically excluded "any statistics used ... solely for informational purposes, including ... in speeches, press releases, and on ... Web sites."


Eleven sets of statistics, including three relating to terror cases from Financial Years 2001-2002 were under-reported, 10 were over-reported, two were accurately reported, and three statistics that were reported multiple times were both under- and over-reported.

The statement called the department's collection and reporting of terrorism statistics "decentralized and haphazard."

"We found many cases involving offenses such as immigration violations, marriage fraud, or drug trafficking where Department officials provided no evidence to link the subject of the case to terrorist activity," it added.

In its response, the department said the poor counting reflected the strain officials were under in the wake of the 2001 terror attacks, when "substantial reorganizations and ... unprecedented focus on preventing future terrorist attacks ... strained internal systems designed to capture performance data."

It said many cases coded as anti-terrorist were "part of proactive initiatives designed to prevent terrorism by reducing vulnerabilities in critical facilities and systems nationwide."

Latest Headlines


Follow Us