Report Offered By Bush Shows Terrorism Threat Evolving and Growing


Bush labels his own intelligence info ‘naive’
by Richard Sisk

WASHINGTON – President Bush criticized his own intelligence agencies yesterday as “naive” for saying the Iraq war was spreading terror worldwide and rallying new recruits for Al Qaeda.
In heated remarks, Bush said, “I think it’s a mistake for people to believe that going on the offense against people that want to do harm to the American people makes us less safe.”

“To suggest that if we weren’t in Iraq we would see a rosier scenario, with fewer extremists joining the radical movement, requires us to ignore 20 years of experience” of terror attacks, Bush said. “I think it is naive.”

Bush ordered excerpts of the highly classified National Intelligence Estimate to be made public yesterday because he implied they would support his argument.

But excerpts of the estimate, compiled by 16 spy agencies including the CIA, appeared to contradict Bush.

“The Iraq conflict has become a ’cause célèbre’ for jihadists,” the estimate said, and the occupation was “breeding a deep resentment of U.S. involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement.” …


The estimate also said that “the Iraq jihad is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives.”

Bush released the document and made his remarks against the backdrop of furious last-minute positioning by Republicans and Democrats on the top national security issue before Congress adjourns this week for the November elections.

The President said the secret document was initially leaked last week for political reasons.

“I think it’s a bad habit for our government to declassify every time there’s a leak,” Bush said. “But once again there’s a leak out of our government, coming right down the stretch in this campaign, in order to create confusion in the minds of the American people.”

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) said the estimate showed that, “The writing is on the wall and it doesn’t say ‘Mission Accomplished.’ It says: It’s time to change course.”

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the findings outlined “the unfortunate consequences of the administration’s decision to cherry-pick prewar intelligence, ignore our senior military leaders and completely fail to plan for the post-Saddam occupation.”


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