American intelligence agencies have reportedly determined that the war in Iraq has increased the global threat of terrorism.
Major newspapers in the United States printed excerpts Sunday from a classified document, called the National Intelligence Estimate.
It is an assessment compiled from time to time by the 16 intelligence agencies in the United States. The last one was delivered to the White House before the start of the war in Iraq. The latest one, which was completed in April, indicates the war has contributed to an increase in the terrorist threat by giving rise to a new generation of Islamic radicals.
The White House says it does not normally comment on classified information, but adds the portions of the National Intelligence Estimate, first reported in The New York Times and The Washington Post, are not representative of the document in its entirety.
Members of the U.S. Congress are also refusing to comment on the contents of the classified document. But during an appearance on CNN's Late Edition program, Congresswoman Jane Harmon, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said she agrees that the war in Iraq has increased the terrorist threat..
"I am not going to comment on the document, because it is a classified document," said Jane Harmon. "But every intelligence analyst I speak to confirms that."
Appearing on the same program, Republican Senator Arlen Specter, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he shares these concerns. But he urged members of Congress to read the details of the document before jumping to conclusions.
"My feeling is that the war in Iraq has intensified Islamic fundamentalism and radicalism," said Arlen Specter. "And, I think it is a bigger problem."
On ABC's This Week program, the Republican leader in the Senate called for increased dedication to winning the war on terrorism. Senator Bill Frist acknowledged he had not seen the latest National Intelligence Estimate. But he stressed, Americans need to understand the importance of combating terrorism in Iraq and elsewhere.
"I think - and a majority of the American people think - what it shows is, we have got to win, we have got to win this war on terror wherever it is," said Bill Frist.
On a related matter, Frist said he expects Congress to pass legislation this week that would set rules for the interrogation and trial of suspected terrorists. The president has been pushing for such action before lawmakers leave Washington to campaign full-time in the weeks leading up to elections in November.