A new report about terrorism issued by U.S. intelligence agencies brought the sobering news that, while groups like al-Qaida may be somewhat constrained in terms of their ability to attack American targets at home, the threat they pose will continue to be significant in coming years.

New York Times:

Al Qaeda is expected to cultivate more cooperation with regional terrorist groups, the document said. Perhaps most significantly, Al Qaeda will probably try to use contacts with a separate group called Al Qaeda in Iraq to foment Sunni extremists, raise resources and recruit operatives for more attacks in the United States, the document said. The intelligence estimated was released by the office of Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence.

The report offers grist for debate on Washington’s sometimes uneasy relationship with Pakistan, whose leader, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, has been enlisted in the effort to rout Taliban and Al Qaeda elements from Pakistan.

And it has stoked the long-running argument over whether the war in Iraq has made the United States safer by eliminating a tyrant, or has put America in more peril by stirring up terrorism and anti-American sentiment in Iraq that was not there before the war, or at least was not nearly as intense, and perhaps even helping to spawn an Al Qaeda branch that did not exist before the American invasion.

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