September 13th, 2011
11:13 AM ET

Intel chiefs: Al Qaeda weaker but still a threat

Al Qaeda is weakened and might be spreading out further, but remains a significant threat to the United States, the nation's top intelligence officials told a congressional committee Tuesday.

CIA Director David Petraeus, the former military commander in Afghanistan who made his first congressional appearance as a civilian at the rare joint hearing by the intelligence committees of the House and Senate, said al Qaeda was far weaker today than it was 10 years ago at the time of the 9/11 attacks due to the killing of Osama bin Laden and other successful attacks on leaders in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

According to Petraeus, the "heavy losses to al Qaeda senior leadership appear to have created an important window of vulnerability for the core al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan," and the United States will need a "sustained focused effort" to exploit the opportunity.

"Some mid-level leaders and rank-and-file al Qaeda members may increasingly seek safe haven across the border in Afghanistan or decide to leave South Asia," Petraeus said, adding that "even in decline with its core leadership having sustained significant losses, al Qaeda and its affiliates still pose a very real threat that will require" continued U.S. focus and dedication "for quite a while."

He called al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a Yemen-based affiliate, the most dangerous of the group's various "nodes."\

At the hearing, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper also said that despite U.S. successes against al Qaeda, the group remains a threat.


Filed under: 9/11 • Al Qaeda • CIA • Clapper • Living With Terror • ODNI • Petraeus • Terrorism • Yemen
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. C.Cantu

    Any Muslim cleric is a potential threat. Anyone watching any Middle East TV station can see and listen to the rhetoric of these creatures. Islamic clerics promote, justify and instigate violence, terrorism, resentment, hatred and discrimination around the world. They brainwash people' minds and transform ordinary persons into irrational beasts capable of committing the worst atrocities without any remorse.

    September 15, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Reply
    • Sank Morrowi

      Every Muslim cleric in the Middle East?

      How do you know? Do you speak Arabic, Persian, etc.?

      September 15, 2011 at 11:43 pm | Reply
  2. Fred Phred

    Oh please – another conspiracy crack-pot. I really love how you guys are so smart, you can see right through all the smoke that the rest of us dummies miss. Conspiracy nuts are always dumber that the rest of us but think they're smarter than everyone else. Classic underachievers always trying to prove that they can see what us "sheep" can't.

    How about this for a reply: Never before have 2 skyscrapers been hit while loaded up with 30,000 pounds of jet fuel burning at 4000 degrees.

    Look son, just put on your tin helmet and stay in your mom's basement where it's safe. And maybe the CIA won't figure out the genius that you are and come get you. Hide.. stay safe...

    September 15, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Reply
  3. rajeev

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8LuNHORdJI&w=640&h=360]

    September 14, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Reply
  4. rajeev

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtGl6KeFq0M&w=640&h=360]

    September 14, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Reply
  5. lala

    In order to give answer and credence to either post, I have to find my tin hat.

    September 14, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Reply
  6. Ben James

    Never before, or after 9-11-2001 in the history of the planet has a steel frame high-rise building collapsed as the result of fire and yet it is supposed to have happened 3 times in 1 day on 911.
    WTC Tower 7: Height 642 ft (160 m), 44 Floors, collapsed symmetrically into its own footprint by demolition after a countdown can be clearly heard over 2 way radios to clear emergency personnel from the area of the building. WTC Billionaire owner Larry Silverstein quoted directly on national TV describing what happened to WTC Tower 7 said: "I said maybe the smartest thing to do is to PULL IT. And then they made the decision to PULL, and we watched the building collapse." Clearly the decision to "PULL" refers to controlled demolition. In point of fact unexplained explosions were reported in WTC Tower 7 even before the collapse Tower 1. No aircraft hit Tower 7 on 911 and when the building was demolished it had only 2 small areas of fire secondary to the collapse of Tower 1 which was more than 400 feet away to the south west.
    Flight 77: All of the hundreds of Pentagon security videos have been withheld from the public except one 15 second clip which clearly DOES NOT show a commercial aircraft, but something much more like a drone or cruise missile passing along the courtyard and into the Pentagon. The original hole made by the impact in the Pentagon parameter wall was approximately 19 feet wide and penetrated the outer wall of the Pentagon's E Ring and the damage extended all the way through the inner wall of the C Ring, through the heavily reinforced walls. The aircraft used for Flight 77 that supposedly hit the Pentagon was a Boeing 757-223 which has a fuselage 37 feet in diameter and 2 large wing mounted engines. The hole in the Pentagon wall was only 19 feet wide, and yet the entire aircraft is supposed to have compressed itself, gone into a 19 foot hole and disappeared leaving virtually no trace of engines, wings, tail , passengers, luggage, and seats. It is very, very simple: Why doesn't the Pentagon release the videos being withheld and end the controversy once and for all, unless they are hiding something?
    Flight 93: At the "official" crash site the coroner's examination showed no evidence of human blood or tissue whatsoever. In addition no aircraft engines, luggage, seats, wings, or tail were found at the crash site. In the history of air travel this has never happened before or since. Even when a plane few at full speed into the face of a mountain in Brazil the crash debris contained all the evidence conspicuously missing at the site of Flight 93. The largest fragments at the 93 site were measured in centimeters. Never in the history of aviation has a cash yielded this type of results except on 911.

    September 14, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Reply
    • Sank Morrowi

      Conspiracy theory alert!
      Whatever's been posted above, Popular Mechanics debunked it! Maddox debunked Loose Change!

      September 15, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Reply
  7. BOB USMC

    Remind me please. Who created Al Qaeda again? Only inteligent replies please. Ask a Russian. They can help.

    Hint:

    The country's name starts with the letter U and ends with States.

    September 13, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Reply

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