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World Council for the Cedars Revolution

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Jul 24th
Home arrow News Content arrow Blog arrow Blog Items arrow Intelligence arrow Intelligence Report: Qaida, Hizbullah Persistent Threats to the U.S.
Intelligence Report: Qaida, Hizbullah Persistent Threats to the U.S. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 18 July 2007

AP photo shows a Lebanese girl holding an Israeli rocket launcher seized by Hizbullah fighters during last summer's war at a Hizbullah exhibit of captured Israeli gear in the southern village Aita al-Shaab
AP photo shows a Lebanese girl holding an Israeli rocket launcher seized by Hizbullah fighters during last summer's war at a Hizbullah exhibit of captured Israeli gear in the southern village Aita al-Shaab

U.S. intelligence agencies have said that Hizbullah along with al-Qaida and other groups pose a "persistent and evolving threat" to the United States over the next three years.

In the National Intelligence Estimate prepared for President George Bush and other top policymakers, analysts laid out a range of dangers: al-Qaida, Hizbullah and non-Muslim radical.

The report said Hizbullah may be more likely to consider attacking the U.S., especially if it believes the Bush administration is directly threatening the party or its main backer Iran.

About al-Qaida, the report said the terror network is using its growing strength in Pakistan and Iraq to plot attacks on U.S. soil, heightening the terror threat facing the United States over the next few years, intelligence agencies say.

The findings focused most heavily on Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network, which was judged to remain the most serious threat to the U.S. The group's affiliate in Iraq, which has not yet posed a direct threat to U.S. soil, could do just that, the report concluded. Al-Qaida in Iraq threatened to attack the U.S. in a Web statement last September.

National Intelligence Council Chairman Thomas Fingar warned that the group's operatives in Iraq are getting portable, firsthand experience in covert communications, smuggling, improvised explosive devices, understanding U.S. military tactics and more.

The Iraqi affiliate also helps al-Qaida more broadly as it tries to energize Sunni Muslim extremists around the globe, raise resources and recruit and indoctrinate operatives -- "including for homeland attacks," according to a declassified summary of the report's main findings.

In addition, analysts stressed the importance of al-Qaida's increasingly comfortable hideout in Pakistan.

The assessment shows how the threat has changed.

Just two years ago, the intelligence agencies considered al-Qaida's various "franchises" decentralized offshoots, with bin Laden mostly providing ideological direction.

Fingar said his experts believe bin Laden and his top deputy are hiding in Pakistan. "There is no question that the ungoverned character of the space is a major factor in the Taliban's and al-Qaida's and other extremist groups' ability to hide -- hide in plain sight," he said.

National Intelligence Estimates are the most authoritative written judgments of the 16 spy agencies across the breadth of the U.S. government. These documents reflect the consensus long-term thinking of top intelligence analysts.

Tuesday's publicly disclosed judgments are part of a more expansive, still-classified document, approved by the heads of all 16 intelligence agencies on June 21.

The report also said that the number of homegrown extremists in the U.S. and its Western allies is growing, fueled by Web sites and anti-American rhetoric.

As for so-called "single-issue" terror groups, the report said that they will probably attack the U.S. on a smaller scale. They include white supremacists, anarchists and animal rights groups, such as Animal Liberation Front.(AP-Naharnet)

Beirut, 18 Jul 07, 09:50



 
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