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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 June, 2004, 14:04 GMT 15:04 UK
US 'losing fight against terror'
11 September attack
A devastating new attack is a "pressing certainty", the book says
US policy in the "war on terror" is harshly criticised in a new book by an intelligence official who says the battle against al-Qaeda is being lost.

The author, identified as Anonymous, claims the invasion of Iraq has played into the hands of Osama Bin Laden and has not made America any safer.

He also predicts a new al-Qaeda strike within the US which will be far more damaging than the 11 September attacks. There has been no White House comment yet on the book due out on 4 July.

The 309-page Imperial Hubris is the latest book to attack the Bush administration in an election year - many written by former officials with an axe to grind.

But correspondents say this book is unprecedented as it is the work of an official with long years of counter-terrorism experience, who is still active in the US intelligence community.

Anonymous believes Mr Bush is taking the US in exactly the direction Bin Laden wants, towards all-out confrontation with Islam under the banner of spreading democracy
Guardian newspaper
The fact that the authorities allowed the book's publication could reflect the increasing frustration of senior intelligence officials at the course the administration has taken, comments Britain's Guardian newspaper, which says it has spoken to the author.

Iraq's alleged links with al-Qaeda were among reasons advanced by the Bush administration for its invasion of Iraq - an operation the book brands as an "avaricious, premeditated, unprovoked war against a foe who posed no immediate threat".

'Failed half-wars'

The New York Times, which has obtained a copy of the book, says the author is a senior Central Intelligence Agency officer, who led a special unit to track Osama Bin Laden and his associates.

Osama Bin Laden
Bin Laden: Not publicly sighted since 2001

"US leaders refuse to accept the obvious," the book says.

"We are fighting a worldwide Islamic insurgency - not criminality or terrorism - and our policy and procedures have failed to make more than a modest dent in enemy forces."

"In the period since 11 September, the United States has dealt lethal blows to al-Qaeda's leadership and - if official claims are true - have captured 3,000 al-Qaeda foot soldiers.

"At the same time, we have waged two failed half-wars and, in doing so, left Afghanistan and Iraq seething with anti-US sentiment, fertile grounds for the expansion of al-Qaeda and kindred groups."

"There is nothing that Bin Laden could have hoped for more than the American invasion and occupation of Iraq".

'Bush is best'

According to the Guardian, Anonymous thinks it possible that another devastating strike against the US could be staged during the election campaign. But, unlike with the Madrid train bombings, the aim would be to retain the administration rather than change it.

The paper says Anonymous believes Mr Bush is taking the US in exactly the direction Bin Laden wants, towards all-out confrontation with Islam under the banner of spreading democracy.

"I'm very sure they can't have a better administration for them than the one they have now", Anonymous is quoted as saying.

"One way to keep the Republicans in power is to mount an attack that would rally the country around the president."

The 11 September 2001 attacks killed nearly 3,000 people after members of Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network flew three hijacked planes into New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon, with a fourth crashing in Pennsylvania.

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