State Dept. Acknowledges

Terrorism Report Facts 'Wrong'

The State Department acknowledged yesterday that it was wrong in reporting terrorism declined worldwide last year, a finding that was used to boost one of President Bush's top foreign policy claims: success in countering terror.

Instead, the number of incidents and the toll in victims increased sharply, the department said. Statements by senior administration officials claiming success were based "on the facts as we had them at the time; the facts that we had were wrong," department spokesman Richard A. Boucher said.

The report, issued in April, said attacks had declined last year to 190, the lowest level in 34 years, and dropped 45 percent since 2001, Bush's first year as president. The State Department is now working to determine the correct figures.

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

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said the errors were partly the result of new data-collection procedures. "I can assure you it had nothing to do with putting out anything but the most honest, accurate information we can," he said.

"Errors crept in that frankly we did not catch here," Powell said.

Rehnquist Panel to Study Courts

A panel named by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and led by another Supreme Court justice said it would spend about two years on a study to answer congressional criticism that judges have been lax in policing themselves.

The review will not include criticism of members of the Supreme Court itself. Rehnquist has directed the six-member committee to review only issues related to a 1980 federal law that allows punishments of federal judges who engage in "conduct prejudicial to the effective and expeditious administration of the business of the courts."

Some critics complained that the panel's mandate is not broad enough.

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) wrote the panel's leader, Justice Stephen G. Breyer, last month that there were "significant judicial ethics concerns" about the Supreme Court that should be dealt with at the same time.

Federal Deficit Shows More Red Ink

The government ran a deficit of $344.3 billion in the first eight months of the 2004 budget year, according to the latest snapshot of the nation's balance sheets.

The data released by the Treasury Department yesterday showed more red ink than the $290.9 billion shortfall for the corresponding period last year.

For the current budget year, which began Oct. 1, spending has totaled $1.53 trillion, 5.5 percent more than the same period a year ago. Revenue came to $1.19 trillion, 2.3 percent more than the previous year.

-- From News Services