Michael McConnell, Director of National Intelligence, told Congress al-Qaida has reconstituted its leadership over the past two years and regained the “core operational capabilities” needed to launch attacks within the United States. He regards al-Qida as still the number one threat to the security of this nation. “Al-Qaida is improving the last key aspect of its ability to attack the U.S. The identification, training and positioning of operatives for an attack on the homeland.” McConnell noted his agency has identified a growing influx of recruits from the Western world in tribal areas of the northwest area of Pakistan. A continuing problem is the safe haven affored al-Qaida in these regions.
McConnell emphasized that several key al-Qaida leaders had been killed in the past year, but their deaths have not impaired the ability of its organization to conduct terrorist activities. The current situation is a vivid reminder of Bush blunders in not pursuing al-Qaida and the Taliban in 2001-2002 when the opportunity was ripe to wipe out those organizations. The president got side tracked into diverting resources to an ill-fated invasion of Iraq which has been disaster. One can only wonder if al-Qaida would still be an operational force today if Bush had pursued another course of action?