RealNews

Spy Agencies' Optimism On Al Qaeda Is Growing

The failure of al Qaeda to launch terrorist attacks against the United States or its allies during the war in Iraq has bolstered a growing belief among U.S. intelligence agencies that 19 months of worldwide counterterrorism operations and arrests have nearly crippled the organization. While warning that al Qaeda still appears capable of mounting substantial terrorist operations, senior intelligence officials and members of Congress who review classified material on the matter speak optimistically about the progress made since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by the CIA and FBI working with their foreign counterparts. The starkest reflection of al Qaeda’s status, according to terrorism experts, has been the lack of reprisals for the U.S.-led war against Iraq, especially after leader Osama bin Laden, in an audiotape released April 7, urged followers to mount suicide attacks against the United States and Britain to “avenge the innocent children . . . assassinated in Iraq.” By contrast, in 2002, bin Laden messages preceded or followed attacks by al Qaeda and its associates in Pakistan, Tunisia, Kuwait, Yemen and Bali. Full Story

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