President Barack Obama's assertion that he has al-Qaida on the run is being called into question as numerous U.S. embassies in the Middle East and North Africa remain closed because of new terrorist threats.
"The obituary for al-Qaida has been proclaimed year in and year out ever since 2001. It’s proven premature in every case," Bruce Riedel, director of the Brookings Institution’s Intelligence Project, told The Hill.
Rep. Peter King, a Republican of New York, says the closure proves there is a resurgence of al-Qaida.
"This is a wake-up call. al-Qaida is in many ways stronger than it was before 9/11, because it's mutated and it spread and it can come at us from different directions," King said Sunday on ABC's "This Week."
South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham also said the lack of action by the administration following last September's attacks on the American Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, has also weakened the United States in the eyes of its enemies.
"After Benghazi, these al-Qaida types are really on steroids thinking we’re weaker and they’re stronger," Graham said.
The White House defends its assertion that al-Qaida has been weakened since the death of Osama bin Laden and is not the same as the subgroups that are now targeting U.S. interests.
"As al-Qaida's core has been diminished through the efforts of the United States and our allies, affiliate organizations — including, in particular, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula — have strengthened. We ... in Washington have identified [al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula] in particular as the dangerous threat," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.
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