Al Qaeda will try to tap its allies and resources in Iraq in its efforts to exact another terrorist attack on U.S. soil, according to a top government intelligence report released Tuesday.
Officials have expressed concern in the past that the Iraq war is providing a theater for al Qaeda to train insurgents and test the terror network’s capabilities.
“In addition, 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,” said the declassified summary of the National Intelligence Estimate.
But the radicalization process doesn’t stop there, according to the report. Islamist Web sites, aggressive anti-American rhetoric and an increasing number of self-generating terror cells in Western countries indicate that violent factions of Islam are spreading.
Though the problem is more dire in Europe than the United States, the report said, there is evidence that extremists in the U.S. are “becoming more connected ideologically, virtually and/or in a physical sense to the global extremist movement.”
Update: Steve Benen has an excellent response to the NIE that links to what others are saying about it.