Al-Qaida Affiliates Escalate to Top Threat

Wednesday, 14 Sep 2011 10:52 AM

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Al-Qaida’s affiliates have overtaken their parent organization as a national security threat. Within two years, the remnants of the core organization in Pakistan could be incapable of carrying out attacks, The Washington Post quotes intelligence officials as saying.

If the current pace of U.S. operations continues, “within 18 to 24 months, core al-Qaida’s cohesion and operational capabilities could be degraded to the point that the group could fragment,” Michael Vickers, the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, said at a conference at the National Defense University at Fort McNair.

CIA Director David Petraeus told Congress that killing Osama bin Laden and other operations have opened “an important window of vulnerability for the core al-Qaeda organization in Pakistan and Afghanistan.” Regardless, Petraeus, and National Intelligence Director James Clapper said the group responsible for the 9/11 attacks continues to plot attacks, the Post reported.

Petraeus said the al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula affiliate is “the most dangerous regional node in the global jihad,” He added that the CIA has seen new signs of “al-Qaida’s efforts to carry out relatively small attacks that would . . . generate fear and create the need for costly security improvements,” the Post reported.

The testimony of Petraeus and Clapper was delivered to a rare joint hearing of the House and Senate intelligence committees.

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