In the rapid political news cycle that circles Washington, D.C. Americans are used to hearing different versions of the same story from politicians. That’s politics, some would argue. Different world views and different ways of finding solutions to the same problem.

But when two senior officials in Washington disagreed on an important statistic this week—the number of deaths caused by global terrorism—you have to pause a moment to consider how this could happen.

Here’s what happened.

At a congressional hearing Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry applauded the United States’ efforts to combat terrorism and said that the threat of violent death from terrorism for Americans is lower than it has been in a century.

The next day, however, the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, testified that 2014 was the deadliest year in the past forty-five years that terrorism deaths and data have been collected.

Hmm. Somewhere in the middle of political word manipulations and agendas somebody got the wrong information. The question is, who?

Maybe it’s the skeptic in me, but I trust facts and research. Research like Clapper used to back up his statements that last year was a deadly year for terrorism.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that 2014 was filled with terrorism. Deaths in Iraq from ISIS aside, suicide bombings in Nigeria, the hostage situation that occurred in Australia, and a radicalized Islamist convert using a hatchet in New York have filled the news.

Does it seem like terrorism is in a lull, like attacks in the name of religious angst and hate have decreased? Not really, Secretary Kerry. Not at all.

The question then remains, how could a senior White House official—someone who is privy to the top intelligence information and statistics collected by the government—be so wrong?

With the Obama administration trying hard to rein in the spread of terror group ISIS and demonstrate that it can exert control and power in a radicalized world, administrative rhetoric seems to have taken the place of facts.

No matter which way you bend it, terrorism is still a global threat. And last I checked America was still a part of the globe. But it is disheartening and a little scary that senior Obama officials seem unable to grasp reality. Are they living with blinders on or just not paying attention?

Either way Americans are in a no-win situation if top officials continue to deny the threat of terrorism. If America made a mistake by withdrawing troops from Iraq and providing the perfect vacuum for ISIS we should admit it.

That’s something you learn as an adult in this world. Sometimes you have to own up to your mistakes, make amends, and move forward.

Unfortunately the Obama administration seems unable to recognize that it could have done wrong. And that’s the most worrisome part of this debacle.


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