Leaks cause problems

Published 2:17 pm Monday, October 2, 2006

By Staff
Once again, one of America's news sources has chosen to be the &#8220source” of a story over protecting our national security. Portions of a classified April 2006 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), &#8220Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States” were leaked and reported in the media.
The erroneous conclusions drawn from these selective leaks along with the misleading interpretations of the report led President Bush to declassify key portions last week. The excerpts, released by Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte, provide many reasons for the continuation of the terrorist threat against the United States and show that much of the initial reports were distorted and taken out of context.
The leaks, initially reported in The New York Times, were highly selective and used to suggest that the war in Iraq has worsened the war on terrorism. In fact, the focus of the leaks was on one sentence in the report: &#8220The Iraq conflict has become the cause celebre for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of U.S. involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement.”
However, the report goes on to state, &#8220Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves, and be perceived, to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight.” Clearly, Iraq is the central front in the war against jihadists and victory in Iraq would be demoralizing to the jihadists throughout the region.
Iraq is never cited in the NIE report as the single or most important factor for the continuation of the terrorist threat against the United States. When terrorists attacked the United States on September 11, 2001, they did not need a reason, and they don't need Iraq to be their reason now.
As I stated in this column last week, our efforts in Iraq have been painful but absolutely necessary. Saddam Hussein's regime represented a real threat to the region and the world, and that regime and that threat have been forever eliminated. For this, our country and particularly our military should be justifiably proud.
We must also ensure that this fight never returns to our shores. Congress has continued to work to protect American troops and provide our intelligence agents with the tools they need. Last week, the House passed two pieces of legislation key to meeting these goals: H.R. 5631, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2007, and H.R. 6166, the Military Commissions Act of 2006.
The conference report for H.R. 5631 will fund critical defense needs, including troop protection, operation and maintenance, research and development, and emergency wartime appropriations.
It is a sad reflection on today's news media that when there is so much competition for the honor of being your &#8220source” for news, the safety of our nation and her people are compromised.
My staff and I work for you. If we can ever be of service, do not hesitate to call my office toll free at 1-800-288-8721.
U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner represents Alabama in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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