U.S. Intelligence Concludes Iraq War Worsens Terror Threat
(Source: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty; issued Sept. 24, 2006)
According to a report cited by "The New York Times," U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that the U.S.-led war in Iraq has given birth to a new generation of Islamic radicals and worsened the threat of global terrorism.

That assessment, according to the newspaper, is contained in the latest National Intelligence Estimate, a classified document that represents the consensus view of 16 U.S. government intelligence agencies.

The New York Times says it has confirmed the details of the confidential document with more than a dozen government officials and outside experts.

According to the newspaper, the document says the radical Islamic movement has now expanded from a core of Al-Qaeda operatives to include a new class of "self-generating" terrorist cells that have no direct ties to Osama bin Laden. The document cites the Iraq war as a reason for the spread of radical Islamic ideology.

The National Intelligence Estimate was prepared last April and is reportedly the first comprehensive appraisal of the global war on terrorism by U.S. spy agencies since the Iraq war began in March 2003.

Meanwhile, the latest reports from Iraq say at least five people were killed and some 20 injured in violence around the country today.

In the worst incident, a car bomb targeting a police patrol in eastern Baghdad killed two people and injured 13. Separately, the Health Ministry was hit by two mortar shells, seriously injuring three people. Attacks were reported in Tal Afar and Mosul as well.

Also today, the Iraqi authorities announced the capture of an insurgent leader near Baghdad. The man, whose name was not given, was identified as the head of the 1920 Revolution Brigades. Six of his associates were also captured in the operation in Kharnabat, a small town north of Baghdad.

The organization has claimed responsibility for attacks against U.S. forces. (ends)

Reports: US Intelligence Says Iraq War Increasing Terror Threat
(Source: Voice of America news; issued Sept. 24, 2006)
WHITE HOUSE --- American intelligence agencies have reportedly determined that the war in Iraq has increased the global threat of terrorism.

Major newspapers in the United States printed excerpts Sunday from a classified document, called the National Intelligence Estimate.

It is an assessment compiled from time to time by the 16 intelligence agencies in the United States. The last one was delivered to the White House before the start of the war in Iraq. The latest one, which was completed in April, indicates the war has contributed to an increase in the terrorist threat by giving rise to a new generation of Islamic radicals.

The White House says it does not normally comment on classified information, but adds the portions of the National Intelligence Estimate, first reported in The New York Times and The Washington Post, are not representative of the document in its entirety.

Members of the U.S. Congress are also refusing to comment on the contents of the classified document. But during an appearance on CNN's Late Edition program, Congresswoman Jane Harmon, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said she agrees that the war in Iraq has increased the terrorist threat.

"I am not going to comment on the document, because it is a classified document," said Jane Harmon. "But every intelligence analyst I speak to confirms that."

Appearing on the same program, Republican Senator Arlen Specter, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he shares these concerns. But he urged members of Congress to read the details of the document before jumping to conclusions.

"My feeling is that the war in Iraq has intensified Islamic fundamentalism and radicalism," said Arlen Specter. "And, I think it is a bigger problem."

On ABC's This Week program, the Republican leader in the Senate called for increased dedication to winning the war on terrorism. Senator Bill Frist acknowledged he had not seen the latest National Intelligence Estimate. But he stressed, Americans need to understand the importance of combating terrorism in Iraq and elsewhere.

"I think - and a majority of the American people think - what it shows is, we have got to win, we have got to win this war on terror wherever it is," said Bill Frist.

On a related matter, Frist said he expects Congress to pass legislation this week that would set rules for the interrogation and trial of suspected terrorists. The president has been pushing for such action before lawmakers leave Washington to campaign full-time in the weeks leading up to elections in November.

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