George Bush is taking a PATRIOT Act lap around the country. The Washington Post caught his act, checked his math, and issued this corrective:

Flanked by Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, Bush said that "federal terrorism investigations have resulted in charges against more than 400 suspects, and more than half of those charged have been convicted."

Those statistics have been used repeatedly by Bush and other administration officials, including Gonzales and his predecessor, John D. Ashcroft, to characterize the government's efforts against terrorism.

But the numbers are misleading at best.

An analysis of the Justice Department's own list of terrorism prosecutions by The Washington Post shows that 39 people—not 200, as officials have implied—were convicted of crimes related to terrorism or national security.

What's more,

But a large number of people appear to have been swept into U.S. counterterrorism investigations by chance—through anonymous tips, suspicious circumstances or bad luck—and have remained classified as terrorism defendants years after being cleared of connections to extremist groups.

Lovely. Plenty more here; link via Marginal Revolution.