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I’m sure liberals will be buzzing about this Washington Post story, which purports to show the Bush administration has overstated the number of successful terrorism prosecutions.

Two leading Bush critics who might feel sorely tempted to gloat are war-on-terror opponents New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and Georgetown law professor David Cole. Just one teeny, tiny problem: both have falsely asserted that there have been no successful terrorism prosecutions at all since 9/11. A leading Bush critic who might feel sorely tempted to gloat is war-on-terror opponent New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. Just one teeny, tiny problem: he has falsely asserted that there have been no successful terrorism prosecutions at all since 9/11.

Krugman wrote on May 11, 2004:

After two and a half years, during which he arrested and secretly detained more than a thousand people, Mr. Ashcroft has yet to convict any actual terrorists. (Look at the actual trials of what Dahlia Lithwick of Slate calls “disaffected bozos who watch cheesy training videos,” and you’ll see what I mean.)

He repeated that allegation on June 15, 2004:

First, there’s the absence of any major successful prosecutions. The one set of convictions that seemed fairly significant–that of the “Detroit 3”– appears to be collapsing over accusations of prosecutorial misconduct.

Cole argued in The Nation last fall:

With the latest Detroit convictions overturned, Ashcroft has not convicted a single person of terrorism since 9/11.

According to the Post story, 39 people–not zero–have been convicted of crimes related to terrorism or national security.

Neither Cole nor Krugman has corrected their false allegations. Too bad they won’t be able to join in all the Bush-bashing fun. Krugman has not corrected his false allegation. Too bad he won’t be able to join in on the Bush-bashing fun.

Correction, 6/13: Why are we back in Iraq? points out that the quote I attributed to Cole was actually added by AlterNet. I apologize for my error and retract what I wrote about Cole (see edits above). (I also added links to Krugman’s columns and expanded the quoted excerpt from his May 11 column.)

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Paul Krugman 
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