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US Intelligence Report: US in 'Heightened Threat Environment'

17 July 2007

The U.S. intelligence community says the United States is in a "heightened threat environment" for a possible terrorist attack.

The assessment from the National Intelligence Estimate also says the al-Qaida terrorist network will probably seek to leverage the contacts and capabilities of al-Qaida in Iraq.

The report says al-Qaida in Iraq is the most visible and capable affiliate of the terror network and the only affiliate known to have expressed a desire to attack the United States homeland.

The report also notes that the United States is a much harder target for al-Qaida because of increased anti-terror efforts following the attacks of September 11, 2001.

The Associated Press cites the intelligence report as saying al-Qaida continues to seek weapons of mass destruction and "would not hesitate to use them."

The report says al-Qaida has established a safe haven in tribal areas in northwest Pakistan.

Last week, President Bush said al-Qaida has been weakened but remains a threat to the United States.

The head of the CIA's analysis directorate, John Kringen, told a congressional committee last week that al-Qaida seems "fairly well settled" in remote areas of Pakistan. He said there has been an increase in training, the flow of money and communications.

U.S. officials say there is no credible, specific intelligence about any imminent terrorist threat against the United States.

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