It must be an election year if the White House starts talking about the rising threat from al Qaeda. But what does this say about Bush's presidency, which has largely been focused on defeating the Jihadists? It means he failed at his principle responsibility. It also discredits the Iraq War which we have been told is being fought to keep al Qaeda from following us home:
Al Qaeda is gaining in strength from its refuge in Pakistan and is steadily improving its ability to recruit, train and position operatives capable of carrying out attacks inside the United States, the director of national intelligence told a Senate panel on Tuesday.
The director, Mike McConnell, told lawmakers that Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, remained in control of the terrorist group and had promoted a new generation of lieutenants. He said Al Qaeda was also improving what he called “the last key aspect of its ability to attack the U.S.” — producing militants, including new Western recruits, capable of blending into American society and attacking domestic targets.
A senior intelligence official said Tuesday evening that the testimony was based in part on new evidence that Qaeda operatives in Pakistan were training Westerners, most likely including American citizens, to carry out attacks. The official said there was no indication as yet that Al Qaeda had succeeded in getting operatives into the United States.
The testimony, in an annual assessment of the threats facing the United States, was the latest indication that Al Qaeda appears to have significantly rebuilt a network battered by the American invasion of Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 attacks.
It follows a National Intelligence Estimate last summer that described a resurgent Al Qaeda, and could add fuel to criticisms from Democratic lawmakers and presidential candidates that the White House focus on Iraq since 2002 has diverted attention and resources from the battle against the Qaeda organization’s core.