Iraq Conflict Feeds International Terror Threat -CIA
US News Article | Reuters.com: "Islamic militants waging a deadly insurgency against U.S.-led forces in Iraq pose an emerging international terrorism threat, CIA Director Porter Goss said on Wednesday.
In his first public appearance as U.S. spymaster, Goss described Iraqi insurgents, including al Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, as part of a Sunni militant movement inspired by Osama bin Laden and intent on attacking Americans.
'The Iraq conflict, while not a cause of extremism, has become a cause for extremists,' Goss told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
'Those jihadists who survive will leave Iraq experienced in and focused on acts of urban terrorism. They represent a potential pool of contacts to build transnational terrorist cells, groups and networks in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other countries,' he said.
President Bush, who portrays U.S.-led actions in Iraq as the leading edge of democratic reform in the Middle East, cited Iraqi backing for international terrorism as a reason for the 2003 invasion.
But a top level U.S. inquiry found last year that there had in fact been no collaboration between al Qaeda and Iraq under President Saddam Hussein.
Bush critics say the invasion was a distraction from the global war against terrorism declared after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks by al Qaeda on the United States and has stirred up a violent response in Iraq that inflamed further terrorism. "