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UPDATED: 09:25, June 22, 2004
US State Department to report rise in casualties, incidents
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U.S. State Department is prepared to announce a sharp increase last year in terror victims worldwide as it corrects findings that were used to boost one of President Bush's chief foreign policy claims �� success in countering terror.

A revised report to be released Tuesday shows a dramatic increase in both the number of deaths and other casualties, as well as a less dramatic boost in incidents, a senior State Department official said.

Still, the revised report shows that international cooperation and a heightened awareness of the terror threat were bringing positive results, said the official, who spoke Monday on condition of anonymity.

The initial report was issued in April. On June 10, the State Department acknowledged the findings were inaccurate. Secretary of State Colin Powell attributed the errors partly to a new data system and said there was no attempt to cook the figures to polish Bush's image.

When the report was issued senior administration officials claimed it showed Bush's counter-terror campaign was a success.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the report was based "on the facts as we had them at the time. The facts that we had were wrong."

The April report said attacks had declined last year to 190, down from 198 in 2002 and 346 in 2001. The 2003 figure would have been the lowest level in 34 years and a 45% drop since 2001, Bush's first year as president. The department is now working to determine the correct figures.

Democratic Rep. Henry A. Waxman of California had challenged the initial findings. He said he was pleased that officials "have now recognized that they have a report that has been inaccurate, and based on the inaccurate information they tried to take self-serving political credit for the results that were wrong."

Among the mistakes, Boucher said, was that only part of 2003 was taken into account.

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

"Errors crept in that frankly we did not catch here," Powell said. The report showed both a drop in the number of attacks worldwide in 2003 and the virtual disappearance of attacks in which no one died.

Source: Agencies

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