The NIE and The '08 Campaign

The question, answered in the affirmative by Hillary Clinton and in the negative, first, by John Edwards then Barack Obama, is whether "we" as in U.S. citizens are safer today than we were in 2001.

The National Intelligence Estimate released today says... not really.

We judge the US Homeland will face a persistent and evolving terrorist threat over the next
three years.



Then it says... "yes." (bolds added).

We assess that greatly increased worldwide counterterrorism efforts over the past five years have constrained the ability of al-Qa’ida to attack the US Homeland again and have led terrorist groups to perceive the Homeland as a harder target to strike than on 9/11. These
measures have helped disrupt known plots against the United States since 9/11.



Then says... well, maybe not.

We assess the group has protected or regenerated key elements of its Homeland attack capability, including: a safehaven in the Pakistan Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), operational lieutenants, and its top leadership.



The 2007 NIE is more equivocal on the point than the 2006 NIE.

Has the war in Iraq fueled jihadist sentiment throughout the Muslim world and in doing so directly enhanced the threat to the US?

The NIE says that Al Qaida's association with Al Qaida in Iraq (AQI) helps to "energize the broader Sunni extremist community, raise resources, and to recruit and indoctrinate operatives, including for Homeland attacks."

Sounds like a yes.