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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States

The Rest of the Story: The NIE Reflects Previous Statements About the War on Terror

The office of intelligence director John Negroponte released a 3-1/2 page section of the April report "Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States" compiled by the 16 U.S. spy agencies hours after Bush ordered it declassified.

Impact Of Iraq

Declassified Key Judgments Of The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE): "We Assess That The Iraq Jihad Is Shaping A New Generation Of Terrorist Leaders And Operatives; Perceived Jihadist Success There Would Inspire More Fighters To Continue The Struggle Elsewhere." (Office Of The Director Of National Intelligence, "Declassified Key Judgments Of The National Intelligence Estimate 'Trends In Global Terrorism: Implications For The United States' Dated April 2006," Released 9/26/06)

  • White House National Strategy For Combating Terrorism (NSCT): "The Ongoing Fight For Freedom In Iraq Has Been Twisted By Terrorist Propaganda As A Rallying Cry." (The White House, "National Strategy For Combating Terrorism," September 2006, Available At:

Adaptation Of The Global Jihadist Movement

NIE: "We Also Assess That The Global Jihadist Movement … Is Spreading And Adapting To Counterterrorism Efforts."

  • NSCT: "The Enemy We Face Today In The War On Terror Is Not The Same Enemy We Faced On September 11." NSCT: "Our effective counterterrorist efforts, in part, have forced the terrorists to evolve and modify their ways of doing business. Our understanding of the enemy has evolved as well."

Threat From Self-Radicalized Cells

NIE: "We Assess That The Operational Threat From Self-Radicalized Cells Will Grow In Importance To US Counterterrorism Efforts, Particularly Abroad But Also In The Homeland."

Decentralization Of The Global Jihadist Movement

NIE: "We Assess That The Global Jihadist Movement Is Decentralized, Lacks A Coherent Global Strategy, And Is Becoming More Diffuse." "New jihadist networks and cells, with anti-American agendas, are increasingly likely to emerge. The confluence of shared purpose and dispersed actors will make it harder to find and undermine jihadist groups."

  • NSCT: "Terrorist Networks Today Are More Dispersed And Less Centralized." "They are more reliant on smaller cells inspired by a common ideology and less directed by a central command structure."
  • NSCT: "Today, The Principal Terrorist Enemy Confronting The United States Is A Transnational Movement Of Extremist Organizations, Networks, And Individuals – And Their State And Non-State Supporters – Which Have In Common That They Exploit Islam And Use Terrorism For Ideological Ends."

Underlying Factors Of The Global Jihadist Movement

NIE: "We Assess That The Underlying Factors Fueling The Spread Of The Movement Outweigh Its Vulnerabilities And Are Likely To Do So For The Duration Of The Timeframe Of This Estimate."

Threat From Al-Qaeda

NIE: "United States-Led Counterterrorism Efforts Have Seriously Damaged The Leadership Of Al-Qaeda And Disrupted Its Operations; However, We Judge That Al-Qaeda Will Continue To Pose The Greatest Threat To The Homeland And US Interests Abroad By A Single Terrorist Organization."

  • NSCT: "… Al Qaida Functions As The Movement's Vanguard And Remains Along With Its Affiliate Groups And Those Inspired By Them, The Most Dangerous Present Manifestation Of The Enemy …"

Dangers Posed By Al-Qaeda Affiliates

NIE: "We Assess That [Other Affiliated Sunni Extremist Organizations] Pose Less Of A Danger To The Homeland Than Does Al-Qaeda But Will Pose Varying Degrees Of Threat To Our Allies And To US Interests Abroad."

Tactics Of Jihadist Groups

NIE: "We Judge That Most Jihadist Groups – Both Well-Known And Newly Formed – Will Use Improvised Explosive Devices And Suicide Attacks Focused Primarily On Soft Targets To Implement Their Asymmetric Warfare Strategy, And That They Will Attempt To Conduct Sustained Terrorist Attacks In Urban Environments." "Fighters with experience in Iraq are a potential source of leadership for jihadists pursuing these tactics."

  • NSCT: "They Use Suicide Bombings, Beheadings, And Other Atrocities Against Innocent People As A Means To Promote Their Creed."

Use Of The Internet

NIE: "We Judge That Groups Of All Stripes Will Increasingly Use The Internet To Communicate, Propagandize, Recruit, Train, And Obtain Logistical And Financial Support."

  • NSCT: "Increasingly Sophisticated Use Of The Internet And Media Has Enabled Our Terrorist Enemies To Communicate, Recruit, Train, Rally Support, Proselytize, And Spread Their Propaganda Without Risking Personal Contact."

Link to Declassified Portions of Report