WASHINGTON (AP) _ A declassified government intelligence report says the war in Iraq has become a ``cause celebre'' for Islamic extremists, breeding deep resentment of the U.S. that is likely to get worse before it gets better.

In the bleak report, released Tuesday on President Bush's orders, the nation's most veteran analysts conclude that despite serious damage to the leadership of al-Qaida, the threat from Islamic extremists has spread both in numbers and in geographic reach.

``If this trend continues, threats to U.S. interests at home and abroad will become more diverse, leading to increasing attacks worldwide,'' the document says. ``The confluence of shared purpose and dispersed actors will make it harder to find and undermine jihadist groups.''

Bush ordered a declassified version of the classified report released after several days of criticism sparked by portions that were leaked. Asked about those Tuesday, Bush said critics who believe the Iraq war has worsened terrorism are naive and mistaken.

The intelligence assessment, completed in April, has stirred a heated election-season argument over the course of U.S. national security in the years following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.