The July 2007 National Intelligence Assessment

The July 2007 National Intelligence Assessment, “The Terrorist Threat to the US Homeland,” produced by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), is out and it contains several instructive points.  

We judge the US Homeland will face a persistent and evolving terrorist threat over the next three years. The main threat comes from Islamic terrorist groups and cells, especially al-Qa’ida, driven by their undiminished intent to attack the Homeland and a continued effort by these terrorist groups to adapt and improve their capabilities.

There are two ways to interpret this judgment. Either the ODNI is continuing its campaign to maintain high levels of fear among the US population in order to justify high levels of domestic and foreign military and police presence; or, the ODNI judgment indicates the failure of Bush’s policy to protect the nation from Islamic terrorist groups. However, these interpretations may not be mutually exclusive, as enhancing the capabilities of Islamic terrorists functions to spread fear among the populace.

Al-Qa’ida is and will remain the most serious terrorist threat to the Homeland, as its central leadership continues to plan high-impact plots, while pushing others in extremist Sunni communities to mimic its efforts and to supplement its capabilities.

This is interesting because it only mentions al-Qaeda’s efforts to influence Sunni extremists to follow its efforts. It mentions nothing about the radicalization of Muslims by US invasion, occupation, and exploitation of Arab and Asian countries. It is beyond serious dispute that the main cause of terrorism against the United States is US foreign policy.

We assess that al-Qa’ida will continue to enhance its capabilities to attack the Homeland through greater cooperation with regional terrorist groups. Of note, we assess that al-Qa’ida will probably seek to leverage the contacts and capabilities of al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI), its most visible and capable affiliate and the only one known to have expressed a desire to attack the Homeland. In addition, we assess that its association with AQI helps al-Qa’ida to energize the broader Sunni extremist community, raise resources, and to recruit and indoctrinate operatives, including for Homeland attacks.

AQI exists because of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. Before the United States invaded Iraq, there was no serious al-Qaeda presence in that country. Since the Bush administration continually reminds the public that “we are fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them here,” we can only assume that it was the goal of the Bush administration to grow AQI.

We assess Lebanese Hizballah, which has conducted anti-US attacks outside the United States in the past, may be more likely to consider attacking the Homeland over the next three years if it perceives the United States as posing a direct threat to the group or Iran.

Of course Hezbollah will consider attacking US targets if it is threatened by the United States. Any rationally-behaving group will consider defending itself against the aggressions of a more powerful group. If the US doesn’t want Hezbollah to consider attacking US targets then the United States shouldn’t threaten Hezbollah and stop supporting Israel’s harassment of Lebanon. Hezbollah is a national defense organization set up to drive out Israel from Lebanon and make sure Israel does not re-invade their country. They are doing what any group of patriotic citizens would do when invaded and harassed by outside forces. If Iran is supporting Hezbollah’s efforts to defend Lebanon from outside aggression then Iran is doing what any good ally would do.

We assess that the spread of radical—especially Salafi—Internet sites, increasingly aggressive anti-US rhetoric and actions, and the growing number of radical, self-generating cells in Western countries indicate that the radical and violent segment of the West’s Muslim population is expanding, including in the United States.

Again, this outcome is precisely due of US interference in the affairs of other countries and regions. If the United States wishes to reduce the terrorist threat against its people and the west, then it needs to withdraw its military from the Middle East and Asia and negotiate a real and just peace with the rest of the world and establish ordinary diplomatic ties. It’s time for the United States to dismantle the empire and join the civilized community of nations.

Published by

Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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