Terrorism assessment becomes political footballby Mike Mulcahy, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Minnesota U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton is urging the Bush administration to fully release a National intelligence assessment on the war on terror.
Republicans say the report is more evidence that Iraq is central to the war on terrorism. But Democrats say it furthers their argument that the world is less safe because of the war.
President Bush ordered a portion of it declassified Tuesday so that Americans could make their own judgments. Dayton, a Democrat, says he's read the full report twice and says the public should be allowed to see it.
"I don't think there's anything in it that would compromise any source, intelligence source, again this is a consensus view of 16 different intelligence agencies that sort of all thrown together. There's nothing from a source standpoint that would identify anybody or even any particular operational part of the world," he said.
The Bush administration, meanwhile, has been trying to call attention to the portions of that intelligence report that have received less attention since the existence of the document was leaked to the media over the weekend.
The document warns that there are more terrorists in the world, in part because of the war in Iraq, and that they are more diffuse and thus harder to find and stop. The government's top analysts concluded that Iraq has become a "cause celebre" for jihadists, that most jihadist groups "will use improvised explosive devices and suicide attacks" on "soft targets" and that extremists still seek chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons.
It concluded that factors fueling the growth in the movement outweigh its vulnerabilities and that, if the current trend continues, risks to the U.S. interests at home and abroad will grow.
Bush spokesman, Tony Snow, says a full release of the report would "betray intelligence agents and methods."
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)