September 13th, 2011
10:53 AM ET

Intelligence chiefs say al Qaeda is 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.

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soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. George Patton

    Weak? Of course Al Qaeda is weak. But did we have to send in the whole dam army to do it! Too many good troops lost and injured.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |

    any one that gets promoted gets a free predeitor drone missle... so nobody is really excited to work hard and get promoted right away...

    September 13, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  3. michaelfury

    September 13, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |

    .besides the pay is poopy...

    September 13, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |

    @fake.. i dunno .. some of the leaders had tons of money on em... i guess the problem is to get somewhere to spend it with out getting shot or blown up...

    September 13, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Just me

    weak but still a threat....kinda like our govt

    September 13, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. krm1007

    After a trillion $ spent Al Qaeda still remains a threat. Go figure. Let us find a scape goat as US elections are coming!

    September 13, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bull Halsey

      Obama says its not his fault, it is always someone elses fault.

      September 13, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Andreas Moser

    Al Qaeda don't even find qualified terrorists any more:

    September 14, 2011 at 1:28 am | Report abuse |