A couple of AP reporters, Katherine Shrader and Jennifer Loven, blasted Bush’s assertion that the “formerly classified” NIE classified assessment of global terrorism supported the Bush administration’s arguments that the “world is safer because of the war.” Their headline tonight, “Iraq is ’cause celebre’ for extremists,” caused at least a couple of right wingnut bloggers to accuse AP of “sad commentary” and a “hatchet job.” Oh my, the truth about Bush’s lies hurts… don’t it. AP reports:
In the bleak report, declassified and released Tuesday on Bush’s orders, the nation’s most veteran analysts conclude that despite serious damage to the leadership of al-Qaida, the threat from Islamic extremists has spread both in numbers and in geographic reach.
Bush and his top advisers have said the formerly classified assessment of global terrorism supported their arguments that the world is safer because of the war. But more than three pages of stark judgments warning about the spread of terrorism contrasted with the administration’s glass-half-full declarations.
It appears that “virtually all assessments of the current situation” in Iraq, “were bad news.” The few positive notes it contained “were couched in conditional terms, depending on successful completion of difficult tasks ahead for the U.S. and its allies.”
In one example, analysts concluded that more responsive political systems in Muslim nations could erode support for jihadist extremists.
John Kerry fired off a statement about the “newly declassified” section of the secret report that Bush ordered released today. Kerry said, “The National Intelligence Estimate provides jarring confirmation that the disastrous policy in Iraq is weakening our hand in the war on terror.”
“Terrorist organizations from Al Qaeda to Hezbollah are thrilled that we are bogged down in Iraq, even as the Administration misleads America with fear and sloganeering.
“No matter how much the administration pretended otherwise, as we were debating a Senate resolution to change course on Iraq, our intelligence agencies were telling this Administration that America is less safe and more endangered by terrorists because of the failed stay-the-course policies in Iraq.
“The truth is clear: Rather than being the central front in the war on terror President Bush claims, Iraq is a fuel depot for terror, fanning the flames of worldwide jihadism. Their arrogance, incompetence, and ideological blindness has left us with more terrorists in the world who want to kill Americans.
“Make no mistake, there is no way to regain lost ground in the war on terror without redeploying out of Iraq and making Iraqis stand up for Iraq. We must set a deadline to get out of Iraq and refocus on the real war on terror. Every day that this Administration refuses to face facts and change their failed approach in Iraq is another day they play into the hands of the terrorists.”
Key points in the newly unclassified document said:
• The increased role of Iraqis in opposing al-Qaida in Iraq might lead the terror group’s veteran foreign fighters to refocus their efforts outside that country.
• While Iran and Syria are the most active state sponsors of terror, many other countries will be unable to prevent their resources from being exploited by terrorists.
• The underlying factors that are fueling the spread of the extremist Muslim movement outweigh its vulnerabilities. These factors are entrenched grievances and a slow pace of reform in home countries, rising anti-U.S. sentiment and the Iraq war.
• Groups “of all stripes” will increasingly use the Internet to communicate, train, recruit and obtain support.
Bush ally, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, “in Washington for a Thursday meeting with Bush, found himself drawn into the political dispute,” and he issued his own slap down of Bush in a “CNN interview about an assertion in his new book that he opposed the invasion of Iraq because he feared that it would only encourage extremists and leave the world less safe.”
“I stand by it, absolutely,” Musharraf said. “It has made the world a more dangerous place.”
Elsewhere in the blogosphere, TPMmuckracker reports that Rep. Harman has called for the release of a second secret Iraq report. That’s right — “There’s a second damning Iraq report floating around the intelligence community.” Taylor Marsh has more here.