From News Services
Monday, September 25, 2006
The conclusion of U.S. intelligence analysts that the Iraq war has increased the threat from terrorism is only "a fraction of judgments" in a newly disclosed National Intelligence Estimate, Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte said yesterday.
The NIE, completed in April, reflects the consensus view of 16 government intelligence services, including the CIA. The Washington Post, New York Times and Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that the classified document concludes that the invasion and occupation of Iraq has fueled Islamic extremism and contributed to the spread of terrorist cells.
"What we have said, time and again, is that while there is much that remains to be done in the war on terror, we have achieved some notable successes against the global jihadist threat," Negroponte said in a statement. "The conclusions of the intelligence community are designed to be comprehensive, and viewing them through the narrow prism of a fraction of judgments distorts the broad framework they create."
Democrats yesterday seized on the intelligence community's assessment.
The document, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (Mass.) said in a statement, "should be the final nail in the coffin for President Bush's phony argument about the Iraq war."
Rep. Jane Harman (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said on CNN's "Late Edition": "Even capturing the remaining top al-Qaeda leadership isn't going to prevent copycat cells, and it isn't going to change a failed policy in Iraq."
But leading Senate Republicans said that the intelligence finding shouldn't cause the United States to abandon military operations in Iraq.
"We need to prevail in Iraq and . . . if we fail, then our problems will be much more complicated," Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) said on CBS's "Face the Nation."