A 30-page National Intelligence Estimate completed in April cites the "centrality" of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and the insurgency that has followed, as the leading inspiration for new Islamic extremist networks and cells that are united by little more than an anti-Western agenda. It concludes that, rather than contributing to eventual victory in the global counterterrorism struggle, the situation in Iraq has worsened the U.S. position, according to officials familiar with the classified document.
"It's a very candid assessment," one intelligence official said yesterday of the estimate, the first formal examination of global terrorist trends written by the National Intelligence Council since the March 2003 invasion. "It's stating the obvious."
The NIE, whose contents were first reported by the New York Times, coincides with public statements by senior intelligence officials describing a different kind of conflict than the one outlined by President Bush in a series of recent speeches marking the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Yet Bush, Cheney and virtually every major Repubulican says they would have done things pretty much the same. You know the Washington Post has some pretty good reporters out there. Fred Hiatt out to consider reading his own paper on occasion.
So Mr. & Ms. non-delusional American, how can you possibly trust the Bush Administration and it's enablers from John McCain to Joe Lieberman? to do the right thing about this nightmare -- or anything -- in the future? They have, after all, just managed to give themselves carte blanche to torture people.
I wrote yesterday of the NY Times version of this same story, and Glenn Greenwald is spot on when he says this:
If I were shaping the Democrats' election strategy, I would create a television commercial where someone reads the following four paragraphs -- from a new report in the NYT today -- and then I would air it over and over and over every single day as much as possible until November 7:
A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.
The classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee, according to several officials in Washington involved in preparing the assessment or who have read the final document.
The intelligence estimate, completed in April, is the first formal appraisal of global terrorism by United States intelligence agencies since the Iraq war began, and represents a consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government. Titled “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States,’’ it asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe.
The report “says that the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse,” said one American intelligence official.
Numerous sources told the NYT about the contents of NIE, which "are the most authoritative documents that the intelligence community produces on a specific national security issue, and are approved by John D. Negroponte, director of national intelligence." So this assessment -- that the war in Iraq has increased the terrorist threat to the U.S. -- is from the Bush administration itself and is the consensus of the same intelligence community which the administration purged of all dissidents.
The Iraq invasion was Katrina with better photo ops.