White House rejects blame for rise in terrorism

WASHINGTON - A newspaper report that a US intelligence analysis said the Iraq war gave rise to a new generation of Islamic radicals and made the overall terrorism problem worse was "not representative of the complete document," the White House said on Sunday.

The New York Times in its Sunday editions reported that a classified National Intelligence Estimate completed in April said Islamic radicalism had mushroomed worldwide and cited the Iraq war as a reason for the spread of jihadist ideology.

It was the first formal appraisal of global terrorism by US intelligence agencies since the Iraq war began in March 2003 and represents a consensus view of the 16 spy services.

"The New York Times' characterisation of the NIE is not representative of the complete document," White House spokesman Peter Watkins said.

"Their (terrorists') hatred for freedom and liberty did not develop overnight, those seeds were planted decades ago. Instead of waiting while they plot and plan attacks to kill innocent Americans, the United States has taken the initiative to fight back," he said.

The spokesman said he would not comment on information contained in the classified document.

President George W. Bush has steadfastly insisted that his decision to invade Iraq was the right action to take to head off a potential threat.

At fundraisers ahead of the November congressional elections he has been striving to portray his administration as tough on terrorism and Republicans as the best party to protect Americans.

Democrats, trying to win control of Congress from Republicans, have emphasized an increasingly unpopular Iraq war with the public.

Rep. Jane Harman of California, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said she agreed that the Iraq war had caused the spread of jihadist ideology. "Every intelligence analyst I speak to confirms that," she said on CNN's "Late Edition."

"And that is why ... the best military commission proposal in the world and even capturing the remaining top al Qaeda leadership isn't going to prevent copycat cells, and it isn't going to change a failed policy in Iraq," she said. "This administration is trying to change the subject. I don't think voters are going to buy that."


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