Bob Woodward's "State of Denial" got scooped on what was presented on national TV as the book's most sensational revelation -- that enemy attacks in Iraq have been escalating.
The Government Accountability Office and the Department of Defense beat Woodward to reporting this information, and reported it in greater detail.
The government's open reporting on the increasing number of enemy attacks also refutes the charge Woodward made in collaboration with Mike Wallace on CBS's "60 Minutes" on Sunday that the administration kept this "trend" secret to deceive people about how bad the war is going.
Woodward writes about a May 24, 2006, Joint Chiefs of Staff intelligence assessment that was classified "Secret." It included two charts indicating enemy attacks in Iraq were escalating. A bar graph (reproduced on page 472 of the book) indicated that between January and May of this year, average attacks per day had increased from 72 to 113. A line graph (reproduced on page 473) indicated attacks per month had risen from less than 500 in May 2003 to more than 3,500 in May 2006.
On page 476, Woodward concedes that two days after the "Secret" JCS intelligence assessment was circulated in May, DOD published its quarterly report to Congress on the Iraq war and included a similar chart on the attack trend. "Though there was a chart buried in the middle of the 65-page document showing that average weekly attacks were up to over 600," wrote Woodward, "the document put the most positive spin on stability and security."
In fact, where Woodward's "Secret" graph showed only the trend in the average daily attacks from January to May of this year, DOD's public graph showed the trend in average weekly attacks for six different periods of the war. The latest was February-May of this year, which DOD called the "Government Transition" period, when attacks were more than 600 per week. The report stated plainly, "Overall, average weekly attacks during this 'Government Transition' period were higher than any of the previous periods."
Yet, on "60 Minutes," Woodward's second chart from the "Secret" JCS intelligence assessment was presented as evidence the administration had tried to cover up this trend.
"When you say the Bush administration has not told the truth about Iraq, what do you mean?" Wallace asked Woodward.
"I think probably the prominent, most prominent example is the level of violence," said Woodward.
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