In April, the nation’s spy agencies produced a National Intelligence Estimate. Here’s the New York Times report:
A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks…The report “says that the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse,” said one American intelligence official.
Here’s what the White House said about the report in today’s press gaggle:
QUESTION: Tony, does the President have any reaction to the reports in yesterday’s newspapers about the intelligence estimate, suggesting that the war in Iraq had, in fact, spawned new terror cells and made…
WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY TONY SNOW: I think it’s important — one thing that the reports do not say is that war in Iraq has made terrorism worse.
Clearly, they can’t both be right. Snow, for his part, appears to contradict himself a few moments later:
SNOW: This NIE examines global terrorism in its totality, the morphing of Al Qaida and its affiliates and other jihadist movements. It assesses that a variety of factors, in addition to Iraq, fuel the spread of jihadism, including longstanding social grievances, slowness of the pace of reform, and the use of the Internet.
One way to clear all this up: make the NIE public.