U.S. intelligence agencies are reported to have concluded that the Iraq war has helped inspire a new generation of Islamic radicals and increased the threat of global terrorism.
Major U. S. newspapers printed excerpts of the report Sunday from a classified document called the National Intelligence Estimate.
The document -- which is a consensus among several U. S. intelligence agencies -- cites the U.S. invasion and continued presence in Iraq as central to the creation of extremist Islamic networks and cells, united by little more than an anti-Western agenda.
Reacting to the reports, the White House said portions of the Estimate are not representative of the entire document.
Opposition Democrats said the report proves the failure of U.S. policy in Iraq and demonstrates the need for a new direction in the war against terror.
Republicans were more cautious, urging colleagues to read the entire document and stressing the importance of winning the war on terror.
The New York Times, which first reported on the document, says U.S. officials and experts who have seen the report say it concludes that the growing radical Islamic movement is inspired by al-Qaida, but has no direct connection to it.
The newspaper accounts of the National Intelligence Estimate quote the document as saying that militants who fought in Iraq could return to their home countries to stoke domestic conflicts and foment radical ideologies.
The reports also quote the document as saying the Internet has helped spread jihadist ideology and is used by terror operatives who no longer have refuges in countries such as Afghanistan.