Feb 172005

The war in Iraq, still being sold by President Bush as an effort to "hunt down terrorists abroad, so we do not have to face them here at home," has become a "potent recruiting tool for al Qaeda and other terrorist groups," top U.S. national security officials said yesterday. CIA Director Porter Goss told Congress that "jihadists who survive will leave Iraq experienced and focused on acts of urban terrorism," and will "represent a potential pool of contacts to build transnational terrorist cells, groups and networks in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other countries." Moreover, the Iraq insurgency has grown "in size and complexity over the past year" and is now mounting an average of 60 attacks per day, up from 25 last year," said Vice Adm. Lowell Jacoby, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Citing the "overwhelming" negative perception of U.S. foreign policy in the Arab world, Jacoby warned the Senate panel that "our policies in the Middle East fuel Islamic resentment."

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