En ny rapport fra USAs samtlige etterretningsorganisjoner tegner et dystert bilde av terrortrusselen: den er ikke blitt mindre siden 911, selv om det finnes lyspunkter.

Det er en såkalt National Intelligence Estimate det er snakk om. Det kan virke som om tjeenestene ikke ønsker å gå i samme felle som under Irak-krigen eller før 911: de vil ihvertfall ikke fremstå som for optimistiske, og legger dermed auomatisk en viss distanse til Bush-administrasjonen.

In many respects, the National Intelligence Estimate suggests, the threat of terrorist violence against the United States is growing worse, fueled by the Iraq war and spreading Islamic extremism.

The conclusions were not new, echoing the private comments of government officials and independent experts for many months. But the stark declassified summary contrasted sharply with the more positive emphasis of President Bush and his top aides for years: that two-thirds of Al Qaeda’s leadership had been killed or captured; that the Iraq invasion would reduce the terrorist menace; and that the United States had its enemies «on the run,» as Mr. Bush has frequently put it.
All told, despite the absence of any new attack on American soil since 2001, the conclusion that Al Qaeda «will continue to enhance its capabilities» to attack the United States suggests some miscalculation in the administration’s basic formula against terrorism: that attacking the jihadists overseas would protect the homeland.

«I guess we have to fight them over here even though we’re fighting them over there,» said Steven Simon, a terrorism expert who served in the Clinton administration and is the co-author of «The Next Attack.»

Dette er hva Bushs kritikere sier: han har gjort situasjonen verre. Men de må likevel forholde seg til konsekvensene: feks. en tilbaketrekking fra Irak kan gjøre trusselen verre i USA.

But Max Boot, a security analyst who has generally supported the president, said the estimate «cuts both ways» politically. Even if some administration policies have been ineffective or have backfired, the estimate also concludes that Al Qaeda will probably try to capitalize on the network built up by its affiliate in Iraq, lending some support to the argument that a rapid exit from Iraq might prove dangerous for American security, said Mr. Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of «War Made New.»

«It makes clear that the threat from Al Qaeda in Iraq is not just to Iraqis — it’s to the U.S. homeland as well,» he said.

6 Years After 9/11, the Same Threat