US declassifies small portion of controversial security report
The White House has declassified only a small portion of a government report that many allege states the war in Iraq has made America more vulnerable to terrorism, RAW STORY has learned.
Among some of the assessments in the NIE report are that "Iraq is shaping a new generation of terror leaders," and that the war in Iraq has become "a 'cause celebre' for jihadists."
President Bush had earlier promised to declassify the document to quiet critics.
The 30-page National Intelligence Estimate, compiled from information collected by 16 spy agencies and assessed by top security analysts, was leaked last week. Reports indicated that among its 9-pages of key judgments was the finding that the Iraq war fueled terrorism.
Some reports have indicated or implied that it also found that the war made the United States more vulnerable. However, White House Advisor Frances Fragos Townsend told the Washington Post earlier today that this was not the case--the report simply indicated that the war was being used as a recruiting device by extremist cells.
In all, roughly 3 pages of the 9-page key judgment section were finally released by the White House.
The full text of the declassified portion may be read below. It is immediately followed by images of the government release.
United States-led counterterrorism efforts have seriously damaged the leadership of al-Qaida and disrupted its operations; however, we judge that al-Qaida will continue to pose the greatest threat to the Homeland and US interests abroad by a single terrorist organization. We also assess that the global jihadist movement--which includes al-Qaida, affiliated and independent terrorist groups, and emerging networks and cells--is spreading and adapting to counterterrorism efforts.
We assess that the global jihadist movement is decentralized, lacks a coherent global strategy, and is becoming more diffuse. New jihadist networks and cells, with anti-American agendas, are increasingly likely to emerge. The confluence of shared purpose and dispersed actors will make it harder to find and undermine jihadist groups.
Extremist networks inside the extensive Muslim diasporas in Europe facilitate recruitment and staging for urban attacks, as illustrated by the 2004 Madrid and 2005 London bombings.
We assess that the Iraq jihad is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives; perceived jihadist success there would inspire more fighters to continue the struggle elsewhere.
We assess that the underlying factors fueling the spread of the movement outweigh its vulnerabilities and are likely to do so for the duration of the timeframe of this Estimate.
Concomitant vulnerabilities in the jihadist movement have emerged that, if fully exposed and exploited, could begin to slow the spread of the movement. They include dependence on the continuation of Muslim-related conflicts, the limited appeal of the jihadists' radical ideology, the emergence of respected voices of moderation, and criticism of the violent tactics employed against mostly Muslim citizens.
If democratic reform efforts in Muslim majority nations progress over the next five years, political participation probably would drive a wedge between intransigent extremists and groups willing to use the political process to achieve their local objectives. Nonetheless, attendant reforms and potentially destabilizing transitions will create new opportunities for jihadists to exploit.
Al-Qa'ida, now merged with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's network, is exploiting the situation in Iraq to attract new recruits and donors and to maintain its leadership role.
We assess that the resulting splinter groups would, at least for a time, pose a less serious threat to US interests than does al-Qa'ida.
Other affiliated Sunni extremist organizations, such as Jemaah Islamiya, Ansar al- Sunnah, and several North African groups, unless countered, are likely to expand their reach and become more capable of multiple and/or mass-casualty attacks outside their traditional areas of operation.
We judge that most jihadist groups--both well-known and newly formed--will use improvised explosive devices and suicide attacks focused primarily on soft targets to implement their asymmetric warfare strategy, and that they will attempt to conduct sustained terrorist attacks in urban environments. Fighters with experience in Iraq are a potential source of leadership for jihadists pursuing these tactics.
Anti-US and anti-globalization sentiment is on the rise and fueling other radical ideologies. This could prompt some leftist, nationalist, or separatist groups to adopt terrorist methods to attack US interests. The radicalization process is occurring more quickly, more widely, and more anonymously in the Internet age, raising the likelihood of surprise attacks by unknown groups whose members and supporters may be difficult to pinpoint.
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