WASHINGTON – The White House refused Wednesday to release the rest of a secret intelligence assessment that depicts a growing terrorist threat, as the Bush administration tried to quell election-season criticism that its anti-terror policies are seriously off track.
Press secretary Tony Snow said releasing the full report, portions of which President Bush declassified on Tuesday, would jeopardize the lives of agents who gathered the information.
It would also risk the nation’s ability to work with foreign governments and to keep secret its U.S. intelligence-gathering methods, Snow said, and “compromise the independence of people doing intelligence analysis.”
“If they think their work is constantly going to be released to the public they are going to pull their punches,” Snow said.
In the bleak National Intelligence Estimate, the government’s top analysts concluded Iraq has become a “cause celebre” for jihadists, who are growing in number and geographic reach. If the trend continues, the analysts found, the risks to the U.S. interests at home and abroad will grow.
Peppered with questions Wednesday about the report, he said the NIE report was “not designed to draw judgments about success or failure, it’s an intelligence document, it’s a snapshot.”