The Justice Department has routinely misrepresented the number of terrorism prosecutions, possibly undermining decision-making in the war on terrorism, says a department inspector general’s study reported by McClatchy Newspapers. The study said the department in most cases “could not provide support for the numbers reported or could not identify the terrorism link used to classify statistics as terrorism-related.”
Inspector General Glenn Fine said the department routinely counted criminal cases as terrorism-related even when prosecutors had found no links to terrorism. He cited a “decentralized and haphazard” system. Said a department spokesman: “While such cases often result in convictions for other crimes, their underlying purpose is to prevent and deter terrorist infiltration.” Congress’s Government Accountability Office has found fault with the Justice Department’s statistics in previous reports. The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, an affiliate of Syracuse University, found last year that the number of terrorism cases had dropped to nearly the same levels as before the 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.