terror trials drop to pre-9/11 levels

*sniff, sniff* ... i smell a pretext ...

from washington times: The federal government has fallen back to prosecuting international terror suspects at about the same rate it did before September 11, 2001, according to a study based on Justice Department data.

The surprising decline followed a sharp increase in such criminal prosecutions in the year after the 2001 attacks, according to the study, released yesterday by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a data research group at Syracuse University.

The analysis of data from the Justice Department's Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys also found:

•In the eight months ending in May, department attorneys declined to prosecute more than nine out of every 10 terrorism cases sent to them by the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other federal agencies. In nearly four in 10 of the rejected cases, prosecutors found weak or insufficient evidence, no evidence of criminal intent or no evident federal crime...

The report comes at a difficult time for the Bush administration, which is sagging in public opinion polls just before congressional midterm elections. Democrats hope to regain control of at least one house of Congress, and President Bush has urged Republicans to run in part on his record in the war on terror.