The question of what the government actually is doing to enforce the nation's terrorism laws--and how well it does it--has become a matter of profound
concern. Recognizing this fact, Mark Fazlollah and Peter Nicholas lept at the opportunity to use the matter-by-matter listings available through TRACFED to explore the merit of cases that the Justice
Department had classified as involving either domestic or international terrorism. Through scores of interviews and the help of Knight Ridder reporters in California, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and
Washington, Fazlollah and Nicholas found dozens of cases in the five-year period ending September 30 where people who had committed garden-variety crimes were classified as terrorists. Current and
former Justice Department officials said the inflated numbers were used to justify the department's $22 billion a year budget, a portion of which goes to counterterrorism work.