While U.S. dallied, al-Qaida rebuilt

A new threat assessment from U.S. counterterrorism analysts says that al-Qaida has used its safe haven along the Afghan-Pakistan border to restore its operating capabilities to a level unseen since the months before Sept. 11, 2001.

A counterterrorism official familiar with a five-page summary of the document — titled “Al-Qaida better positioned to strike the West” — called it a stark appraisal. The analysis will be part of a broader meeting at the White House on Thursday about an upcoming National Intelligence Estimate.

The official and others spoke to The Associated Press on condition they not be identified because the report remains classified.

The findings suggests that the network that launched the most devastating terror attack on U.S. soil has been able to regroup despite nearly six years of bombings, war and other tactics aimed at dismantling it.

The threat assessment focuses on the terror group’s safe haven in Pakistan and makes a range of observations about the threat posed to the United States and its allies, officials said.

Counterterrorism officials have been increasingly concerned about al-Qaida’s recent operations. This week, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said he had a “gut feeling” that the United States faced a heightened risk of attack this summer.

Still, numerous government officials say they know of no specific, credible threat of a new attack on U.S. soil.

Al-Qaida is “considerably operationally stronger than a year ago” and has “regrouped to an extent not seen since 2001,” the counterterrorism official said, paraphrasing the report’s conclusions. “They are showing greater and greater ability to plan attacks in Europe and the United States.”

The group also has created “the most robust training program since 2001, with an interest in using European operatives,” the official quoted the report as saying.

At the same time, this official said, the report speaks of “significant gaps in intelligence” so U.S. authorities may be ignorant of potential or planned attacks.

John Kringen, who heads the CIA’s analysis directorate, echoed the concerns about al-Qaida’s resurgence during testimony and conversations with reporters at a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Wednesday.

“They seem to be fairly well settled into the safe haven and the ungoverned spaces of Pakistan,” Kringen testified. “We see more training. We see more money. We see more communications. We see that activity rising.”

The threat assessment comes as the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies prepare a National Intelligence Estimate focusing on threats to the United States. A senior intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity while the high-level analysis was being completed, said the document has been in the works for roughly two years.

Kringen and aides to National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell would not comment on the details of that analysis.

“Preparation of the estimate is not a response to any specific threat,” McConnell’s spokesman Ross Feinstein said, adding that it probably will be ready for distribution this summer.

Kringen said he wouldn’t attach a summer time frame to the concern. In studying the threat, he said he begins with the premise that al-Qaida would consider attacking the U.S. a “home run hit” and that the easiest way to get into the United States would be through Europe.

Several European countries — among them Britain, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands — are highlighted in the threat assessment partly because they have arrangements with the Pakistani government that allow their citizens easier access to Pakistan than others, according to the counterterrorism official.

This is more troubling because all four are part of the U.S. visa waiver program, and their citizens can enter the United States without additional security scrutiny, the official said.

The Bush administration has repeatedly cited al-Qaida as a key justification for continuing the fight in Iraq.

“The No. 1 enemy in Iraq is al-Qaida,” White House press secretary Tony Snow said Wednesday. “Al-Qaida continues to be the chief organizer of mayhem within Iraq.”

The findings could bolster the president’s hand at a moment when support on Capitol Hill for the war is eroding and the administration is struggling to defend its decision for a military buildup in Iraq.

The threat assessment says that al-Qaida stepped up efforts to “improve its core operational capability” in late 2004 but did not succeed until December of 2006 after the Pakistani government signed a peace agreement with tribal leaders that effectively removed government military presence from the northwest frontier with Afghanistan.

The agreement allows Taliban and al-Qaida operatives to move across the border with impunity and establish and run training centers, the report says, according to the official.

It also says that al-Qaida is particularly interested in building up the numbers in its middle ranks, or operational positions, so there is not as great a lag in attacks when such people are killed.

“Being No. 3 in al-Qaida is a bad job. We regularly get to the No. 3 person,” Tom Fingar, the top U.S. intelligence analyst, told the House panel.

The report also notes that al-Qaida has increased its public statements, although analysts stressed that those video and audio messages aren’t reliable indicators of the actions the group may take.


Associated Press Writer Deb Riechmann contributed to this report.


On the Net:

Office of the Director of National Intelligence: http://www.dni.gov/

CIA: http://www.cia.gov/


  1. Carl Nemo

    Thanks SEAL for you addy. I posted some material last night that after doing so I realized that it serves no purpose to put frightening material on CHB than I already have. You said something on one your posts, not this particular string that basically sums it up in that what we have to say or think on this site or anywhere else at this point really has no effect on outcomes; i.e, makes a difference. Maybe dubya summed it up best when he snapped at the guy on his first campaign trail “who cares what you think”, then when he found out the guy was a reporter he then snapped “just get it right”. Evidently these elitists are so imbedded and smug concerning their planned outcomes for us, they totally disrespect anything we have to say. Even candidate selection and elections themselves have become a sham. We’re living in a “Matrix” type of situation already just like the movie.

    Like yourself, I have been posting for just a few years. It started off simply as a hobby;ie, political activism. My main message along with regularly supplied links is to motivate people to make that call to their Congressman and Senators. Alone we are nothing, but if millions do so then it just might grab these elected mattoids by the “short-hairs” and get their attention. If I had to work hard at posting then I wouldn’t do so. I do wear out a keyboard per year, but I think I’ve finally worn out my last keyboard.

    In past times I used to post on “Yahoo in the News” articles no differently than I do on CHB with hundreds of posts not only covering political issues, but science, space, archeology etc. I always try to post something of merit in order to stimulate thought and discussion on subjects. The trolls virtually destroyed “Yahoo in the News” public forums. Interestingly I would post the same style and caliber of posts as I do on CHB and they never gave me any troll screed or confronted me? In fact sometimes trolls would be feeding on some weak soul and all of sudden they’d be feating something I had posted. Very strange indeed. I’m not saying this to puff my posting, but I found it to be an interesting phenomenon relative to human behavior.

    I consider your thoughts as presented on CHB to be true gems supported by your many years in the SEAL force along with your life experiences in general.

    It is my hope that you are correct in that you haven’t heard of any plans for martial law as possibly indicating there is no plan to do so. My main concern is the U.S. has been stripped clean of guardsmen and reservists with most doing multiple tours in Iraq that honorable security for the people will not be at hand to protect them.

    Many people don’t realize the fact that during the past 15 years thousands of U.N. troops have been brought into the U.S. along with their military materiel. So along with these U.N. types and Blackwater Mercs and possibly even certain Delta Force types that would complete “any” mission even if it were against U.S. citizenry they just might be able control and pacify regions of the U.S.

    Obviously the major cities would have the greatest concentration of readily available internment targets. Americans are a funny lot though and if they get really p.o’d, they’l be like dealing with a nest of canebreak rattlers coast to coast… :)) I remember distinctly how a very small contingent of looters and other types held off the New Orleans P.D. for weeks before they finally curtailed their resistance and that was only one city. So on a nationwide scale the curtailment of insurrection would be a mind-boggling proposition. The mighty German S.S. was held off by resistors in the Warsaw Ghetto for quite some time before they finally rounded up the resistors. It was discovered they had only a few pistols in their possession… :))

    Carl Nemo **==

  2. bryan mcclellan

    Dear Jennifer ,It’s never too late to stand against tyranny, I subscribe to the old adage,cowards die a thousand deaths,heroes die but once.The trumpet call will be when they come to take our personal protection devises, this is not a monster they wish to awaken. I know too many people who will go out on their shields .We are not brits,canucks, or ausies , From our cold dead hands reverberates from mountains to oceans. We will not go Quietly !!!

  3. Jenifer D.

    I send out links to a lot of my acquaintences via e-mail. Here’s my questions to the co-conspirators that want to undermine the U.S.:

    Why would you want to destroy the very foundation of a country you grew up in that allowed you the freedom to do, and be, whatever you wanted without fear of being imprisoned or persecuted? Why would you send service men and women on some unjustified, and unprovoked invasion, of a little country that never attacked us to begin with? Why do you tune out the demands of the very people who voted for you in hopes you would assess, and resolve, their concerns about ending an unjust war?

    Folks, I ask random people in my community if they know who PNAC are. One in twenty said yes. I ask if they have heard of Blackwater USA. Two out of five said yes. I think bushco is trying to keep their activites hush-hush until they can set the stage for another ‘terrorist attack’.

    I saw Michael Chertoff’s commentary on that ‘gut feeling’ theory. He just let the cat out of the bag, but, didn’t hint where the next bushco-sponsored attempted terrorist hit would be.

    So, if we start seeing unmarked black helicopters and military-style hummers sweeping our neighborhoods late at night inexplicably, and uniformed personnel (NOT U.S. military), staking out major public places like malls and government buildings, then we will know for certain what’s up only it will be too late to do anything about it.

  4. Carl Nemo

    Hi SEAL…

    I often laugh at entrenched survivalists because true survival is a dynamic situation concerning outcomes; i.e, nothing is guaranteed. So storing up on food, water, guns, ammunition etc. although admirable compared to the average bear doesn’t allow for a dynamic, changing survivalist situation.

    I personally recommend people create a tactical survival pack for each family member so they could possibly survive on the run and to have an escape route plan to Canada. Mexico is bad “kimche” because their law enforcement and military style already acts in a “fascist”; i.e, Bushista/NWO to come fashion. Canada is the only place that white anglos should focus on escaping to in the event of a catastrophic breakdown of America and our way of life as we know it. No problem because there’s thousands of miles of Canadian/American border that cannot be patrolled effectively. Canada too, has had pretty much a bellyful of America and their nightmarish policies etc. They consider America and it’s citizens to be “crazies” plain and simple! Canada will more than likely offer asylum, unlike Bushista’s buddies in Mexico. The U.S. will not attack Canada because of the self-destructive fallout from such an act relative to the Brits and world opinion. Remember folks, “static” survivalist planning in place of “dynamic”, on the move survivalism, will not work! Plan to run, and to run hard and fast, North…!

    Carl Nemo **==

  5. kent shaw

    “Many people don’t realize the fact that during the past 15 years thousands of U.N. troops have been brought into the U.S. along with their military materiel. So along with these U.N. types and Blackwater Mercs and possibly even certain Delta Force types that would complete “any” mission even if it were against U.S. citizenry they just might be able control and pacify regions of the U.S.”

    I suspect that the many individual states police forces (California Highway Patrol, New York State Police, etc.), and local police forces will be more than happy to go along with enforcement of martial law should it be declared. I hope it never comes to this. I know SEAL doesn’t believe it will or even CAN because there are 300 million of us and nowhere near enough military personnel to enforce martial law. I hope he is correct. He is more likely to be correct on these issues than many others. I, too, respect his years of service and experience. On the other hand it would take only a few hundred killings nationwide on trumped up charges (out after curfew? refusal to stop at a checkpoint? no identification carried on person? etc.?), by military, state and local police under sanctioned martial law to keep the sheeple in line.

    — Kent

  6. SEAL

    As we constantly gripe about the fat lazy shop til ya drop voters in this country we fail to mention other types of americans that abound throughout our nation. To say that we are a diverse nation is an understatement. We have a very large contingent of survivalists that are fully equipted and prepared for almost any type of disaster including anarchy which is what Marshall Law would come down to. One of my closest friends has a place he has built not far from me that is 2/3 underground has its own power source and able to provide for his families survival for up to 4 years. The place is a damn fortress and he has almost as much firepower as I have.

    One of the most interesting paradoxes is that the bulk of those that continue to support Bush now are also those that would be the most resistant to Marshall Law. Southern rednecks armed to the teeth. Bubba and the boys. There is only one way you will get their guns. I live right in the middle of some of them. It was very interesting the night they had to call 9/11 to have me transported to the hospital when I first went down with the cancer a couple of years ago. I told my son to get all the weapons out of site before they got there but he still had the closet doors wide open when they walked in and they freaked. I had to show them all the ID and authorization before they would calm down. But they still didn’t like it. However, if they went down the street I live on they would be able to confiscate enough weapons to outfit a platoon.

    Any attempt to take over this nation is going to be more of a problem than our troops are now experiencing in Iraq. I don’t believe it will be tried. The country is much to large and there simply are not enough troops to pull if off. Like I have said before, If Bush did declare Marshall Law he would be removed from the White House in short order. Neither congress or the law enforecment agencies nor the military would support it. Their private army would find themselves at war with the US military. That wouldn’t last long. Frankly, I find the whole idea rather silly.