Iraq war fuels threat, report says Intelligence paper shows far less rosy post-9/11 picture than White House claims MARK MAZZETTI; The New York Times Published: September 24th, 2006 01:00 AM WASHINGTON â A stark assessment of terrorism trends by U.S. intelligence agencies has found that the U.S. 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 classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee, according to several officials in Washington, D.C., who were involved in preparing the assessment or have read the final document. The intelligence estimate, completed in April, is the first formal appraisal of global terrorism by U.S. intelligence agencies since the Iraq war began. It represents a consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government. Titled âTrends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States,â it asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than retreating, has metastasized and spread across the globe. An opening section of the report, âIndicators of the Spread of the Global Jihadist Movement,â cites the Iraq war as a reason for the diffusion of jihad ideology. The report âsays that the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse,â said one U.S. intelligence official. More than a dozen U.S. government officials and outside experts were interviewed for this article. All spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were discussing a classified intelligence document. The officials included employees of several government agencies, and both supporters and critics of the Bush administration. All of those interviewed had either seen the final version of the document or participated in the creation of earlier drafts. These officials discussed some of the documentâs general conclusions but not details, which remain highly classified. Officials with knowledge of the intelligence estimate said it avoided specific judgments about the likelihood that terrorists would again strike on U.S. soil. The relationship between the Iraq war and terrorism, and the question of whether the United States is safer, have been subjects of persistent debate since the war began in 2003. National Intelligence Estimates are the most authoritative documents that the intelligence community produces on a specific national security issue, and they are approved by John Negroponte, director of national intelligence. Their conclusions are based on analysis of raw intelligence collected by the spy agencies. Frederick Jones, a White House spokesman, said the White House âplayed no role in drafting or reviewing the judgments expressed in the National Intelligence Estimate on terrorism.â On Wednesday, the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee released a more ominous report about the terrorist threat. That assessment, based entirely on unclassified documents, details a growing jihad movement and says that âal-Qaida leaders wait patiently for the right opportunity to attack.â For more than two years, there has been tension between the Bush administration and U.S. spy agencies over the violence in Iraq and the prospects for a stable democracy in the country. Some intelligence officials have said that the White House has consistently presented a more optimistic picture of the situation in Iraq than has been justified by intelligence reports from the field.