Thursday, October 28


The CIA declines to back up White House assertions that the Iraq war has made America "safer."

In an internal memorandum sent to the White House in August, the C.I.A. declined to take a position on whether overthrowing Saddam Hussein had made America "safer," the officials said. Spokesmen for the C.I.A. and the White House said that stance reflected the agency's unwillingness to become involved in policy judgments.

But in that memorandum, administration officials acknowledged, the agency proposed "factual corrections" to assertions included in a draft fact sheet prepared by the White House titled "America Is Safer Without Saddam Hussein."

The assertions to which the C.I.A. recommended changes were included under headings that described Mr. Hussein as "a major obstacle" to political reform in the Middle East and said he "maintained ties to terrorists and terrorist organizations."

The agency's comments about a draft White House fact sheet were described by current and former counterterrorism officials and confirmed by an administration official. They reflected what counterterrorism officials say is a continuing debate among intelligence officials, with some senior analysts within the C.I.A.'s Counterterrorism Center arguing that the invasion of Iraq has helped to fuel Islamic terrorism by inflaming anti-American sentiment.


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