A top U.S. intelligence officer in Baghdad has reportedly warned that Iraq's security situation is likely to get worse in the coming months.

The report from the New York Times newspaper cites government officials who say they have seen a cable the officer sent to superiors at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) last month.

The officer warned of more violence and sectarian clashes unless the Iraqi government can assert its authority and rebuild the economy.

The newspaper says the officer had just finished a year-long tour as the CIA's station chief in Baghdad.

The Bush administration and the military continue to present a more optimistic view of Iraqi security.  Monday, the Defense Department said the recent offensive in Fallujah had "scattered the enemy," and said the Iraqi security forces continue to expand.