The war in Iraq has bred deep resentment in the Muslim world and provided Islamist militants with a "cause celebre" that allowed the global movement to cultivate supporters, according to excerpts of a secret intelligence report released on Tuesday.
The office of US intelligence czar John Negroponte released a 3-1/2 page section containing the April report's key judgments, hours after President George W Bush ordered it declassified to counter media reports he said had misrepresented conclusions about Iraq.
"We assess that the Iraq jihad is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives," said the declassified segment of the report, titled "Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States."
"The 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," it added.
"Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves, and be perceived, to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight."
Democrats, hoping to take control of Congress in the November elections, have seized on media leaks about the report as evidence that Bush's Iraq policy has worsened the global terrorism threat.
But the declassified section, which contained 10 judgments about global terrorism including one on Iraq, reached no sweeping conclusion about the war's ultimate effect on global terrorism.
Known as a national intelligence estimate, the full document is 30 pages long and meant to convey the authoritative views of the 16-agency U.S. intelligence community.