Tuesday, July 17, 2007

al-Qaeda reportedly sourcing agents for new attacks

Washington, 17 July(AKI)

Al-Qaeda was attempting to use its resurgence in Iraq to sneak agents into the US in a bid to mount fresh terrorist attacks, according to a high-level intelligence report released on Tuesday.

"We assess that its association with [al-Qaeda in Iraq] helps al-Qaeda to energize the broader Sunni extremist community, raise resources and to recruit and indoctrinate operatives, including for homeland attacks," the National Intelligence Estimate said.

The report was prepared by the NIE - which includes 16 US intelligence agencies - for President Bush and the US Congress.

It said the US faced a "heightened threat environment" and that al-Qaeda's operating capabilities were at their strongest level since the 11 September 2001 attacks.

Government officials have expressed concern in the past that the Iraq war was providing a theatre for al-Qaeda to train insurgents and extend the terror network's capabilities.

The report also warned that al-Qaeda was becoming "innovative in creating new capabilities and overcoming security obstacles" while strengthening efforts to sneak operatives into the United States.

"Although we have discovered only a handful of individuals in the United States with ties to al-Qaeda senior leadership since 9/11, we judge that al-Qaeda will intensify its efforts to put operatives here," the NIE said.

"As a result, we judge that the United States currently is in a heightened threat environment."

The report said al-Qaeda was seeking to perpetrate a sensational attack that produced "visually dramatic destruction, significant economic aftershocks and/or fear among the U.S. population".

The report also said al-Qaeda was looking to source chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

Declassified portions of the completed NIE report were released Tuesday after the classified version was presented to congress.

Mike McConnell, director of national intelligence, gave President Bush a special briefing on the report.

In addition to concerns about al-Qaeda in Iraq and the threat of an attack on the United States, the report also said that al- Qaeda had set up a safe haven along the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan from where the terror network's leaders operated.

While the US considers President Pervez Musharraf a key ally in the struggle against al-Qaeda, he is under increased pressure to curb terrorism.

1 comment:

kol-eldonia said...

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