Saturday, October 22, 2005


U.S. intelligence officials say Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has expanded his terrorism campaign in Iraq to extremists in two dozen terror groups scattered across almost 40 countries, creating a network that rivals Osama bin Laden's.

In interviews, U.S. government officials said the threat to U.S. interests from al-Zarqawi compared with that from bin Laden, whom al-Zarqawi pledged his loyalty to one year ago.

The director of the National Counterterrorism Center considers bin Laden a strategic plotter who is deep in hiding and out of regular contact with his followers, while al-Zarqawi is involved broadly in planning of scores of brutal attacks in Iraq.

"He is very much a daily, operational threat," said Scott Redd, who is in charge of the government's counterterrorism strategy and analysis.

In figures not made public before, counterterrorism officials say that Zarqawi's network of contacts has grown dramatically since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and now includes associates in nearly 40 countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. [Emphasis mine.]

So reassuring to know that the Bush administration's "war on terrorism" is working the way it should. So encouraging.

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