ROSEMARY CHURCH: Now to
the U.S. terror report.
A small portion of it was declassified just a sort time ago. And the assessment: al Qaeda is resurgent and poses a renewed threat to the United States.
JIM CLANCY: That's right. Though the report states that the terror group is not as strong as it was before the September 11th attacks, we should note the report specifically references Al Qaeda in Iraq, separate from Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda that was originally in Afghanistan, now believed to be on the border with Pakistan. But also considers Iraq a potential threat.
CHURCH: That's right. And we're covering this story across the globe.
Kelli Arena is standing by in Washington with the details of the report. And Michael Ware is in Baghdad.
First to Kelli.
CLANCY: As Kelli was talking about there, Al Qaeda in Iraq gaining new significance. Let's get some more on that threat, that part of it, at least.
Let's turn now to CNN's Michael Ware, joining us live from Baghdad.
What do you make of the analysis there? Some people would say that it's a definite grasp for the obvious.
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, from what I've seen of the National Intelligence Estimate, the thrust of it is right in the sense that, is al Qaeda stronger globally and particularly here in Iraq, as a direct result of the American war? Yes, absolutely.
Is al Qaeda the blooding ground, the training ground for the next generation of al Qaeda? Bolder, more brutal, more determined than the generation that we saw come out of Afghanistan after the Soviet war and the generation that actually attacked U.S. soil? Yes, again, absolutely. This is the blooding ground.
But drawing that direct link between Al Qaeda in Iraq right now and attacks on the U.S. homeland is the thing that raises one's cynicism. I mean, we saw President Bush in his most recent address on Iraq try to shift the focus of the war or the public attention of the war back to al Qaeda, repeatedly referring to Al Qaeda in Iraq as "those who attacked America."
He was clearly making an appeal to America's most familiar and tangible fear, that being al Qaeda and the strikes in New York and D.C. But Al Qaeda in Iraq right now lacks the capability to launch that direct attack. So you have to be wary of people using spin to re-craft the body of this report. But, is it true that should there be another 9/11, should such a terrible day come, is there a greater chance now that there will be an Iraqi among the 19, that part of the plot will be hatched in Iraq? Absolutely.
But what's most dangerous is the idea of Iraq. The bombers in London have no connection to Iraq, but cited it as one of their primary justifications for launching their attacks. There's the real threat of Al Qaeda in Iraq.
CLANCY: Well, and the real threat of the whole Iraq experience for a lot of the jihadists that are there, what kind of training, what kind of experience have they had that they could carry outside of the country and pose a threat not only in the United States, but elsewhere?
WARE: We've already seen the export of their expertise and experience within this region, Jim. I mean, we saw the attacks, the bombings at hotels in neighboring Jordan which were conducted by Zarqawi's organization, his brand of al Qaeda, the late al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Now, there's generally two types of foreign fighters in broad terms that come. One group are the cannon fodder, these ideologically, religiously-inspired young men who come to die. Now, they're they ones who strap themselves to the wheels of a car bomb and plunge it into a U.S. patrol.
But there's an older, more seasoned guard. These are the guys who come in and command the operations, who are here to fight.
Are they ready to die? Absolutely. But they'll finish a six-month tour, a 12-month tour of Iraq just like an American soldier and return to their home bases.
There, they have a whole new cachet. They have a whole new magnetism. And they use their experiences of saying, "I was there, I fought America, I killed Americans," to recruit, to gain money and to extend their operations.
CLANCY: All right. Some important words coming -- and perspective there coming from our own correspondent there in Baghdad, Michael Ware.
Michael, as always, thank you very much.
It adds a lot really to the National Intelligence Estimate that you have.