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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 September 2006, 04:24 GMT 05:24 UK
Negroponte denies terror claims
US Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte
John Negroponte says the US is better prepared for terrorist attacks
US Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte has rejected claims that the terrorist threat to the US has increased since the invasion of Iraq.

He was commenting for the first time on recent leaked excerpts of a government report suggesting the conflict had fuelled Islamic radicalism.

Mr Negroponte said the Iraq war made up only a small part of the report, and overall the threat had not increased.

He said that in fact it had diminished since the 11 September 2001 attacks.

"My personal assessment with respect to the United States is that we are certainly more vigilant, we're better prepared, and in that sense I think we could safely say that we are safer," he said on Monday.

The leaked excerpts were published by the New York Times on Sunday.

The paper quoted the report as saying the invasion and occupation of Iraq has spawned a new generation of Islamic radicalism that has spread across the globe.

It also warns that Islamic militants who have fought in Iraq could foment radicalism and violence when they return to their home countries, much as returning Jihadis did after the war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Mr Bush has consistenly dismissed such reasoning in the past, arguing that Islamic militants had hated the US long before it invaded Iraq or Afghanistan.


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