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New Agency to Take Over Terror Reporting

The State Department (search) has decided to stop publishing an annual statistical account of terror incidents worldwide, turning the task over to a government center established last year by Congress.

"They are the people who do the detailed work," department spokesman Richard Boucher said in announcing the National Counterterrorism Center (search) would take on the job.

Last year, the department reported a decline in significant incidents of terror and then had to issue a corrected version showing an increase.

The falloff had been used by senior Bush administration officials to bolster President Bush's claim of success in countering terrorism.

Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., said at the time that the Bush administration had "tried to take self-serving political credit" based on inaccurate information.

"The numbers were off," then-Secretary of State Colin Powell acknowledged. He said "we have identified how we have to do this in the future."

Powell also said the initial report was not designed "to make our efforts look better or worse."

This year, the State Department again will, however, make public and provide to Congress by April 30 a country-by-country assessment of terrorism and will again list organizations it accuses of supporting terror.

"The people of the United States will get all the facts," Boucher said Monday. "The world will get all the facts,"

Referring to last year's errant report, the spokesman said "all of us found last year that the statistics, depending on how they are compiled, depending on the definitions used.... can sometimes be misleading."