Bin Laden intel declassified ahead of commencement.

“President Bush, trying to defend his war strategy, declassified intelligence Tuesday asserting that Osama bin Laden ordered a top lieutenant in early 2005 to form a terrorist cell that would conduct attacks outside Iraq — and that the United States should be the top target.”

Frances Fragos Townsend, the White House homeland security adviser, said the intelligence bolsters the Bush administration’s contention that al-Qaida wants to use Iraq as a staging area to launch terrorist attacks around the world, including the United States. […]

Townsend disclosed the information to The Associated Press and other news agencies in advance of Bush’s commencement speech Wednesday at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Bush is expected to emphasize the continuing threat of terrorism and recount steps taken by his administration to prevent attacks.