CIA sees more threat from Al Qaeda in Yemen than PakistanAugust 25th, 2010 - 1:33 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, Aug 25 (IANS) The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) now sees one of Al Qaeda’s off-shoots - rather than the core group now based in Pakistan - as the most urgent threat to US security, according to the Washington Post.
The new assessment of Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen has helped prompt senior Obama administration officials to call for an escalation of US operations there, including a proposal to add armed CIA drones to a clandestine campaign of US military strikes, the influential US daily said Wednesday citing unnamed officials.
The officials cited by the Post, however, stressed that that analysts continue to see Al Qaeda and its allies in the tribal areas of Pakistan as supremely dangerous adversaries.
The officials, it said, insisted there would be no letup in their pursuit of Osama bin Laden and other senior figures thought to be hiding in Pakistan.
Indeed, officials cited by the Post said it was largely because Al Qaeda has been decimated by Predator strikes in Pakistan that the franchise in Yemen has emerged as a more potent threat.
US officials said the administration’s plans to escalate operations in Yemen reflect two aims: improving US intelligence in Yemen and adding new options for carrying out strikes when a target is found.
The CIA has roughly 10 times more people and resources in Pakistan than it does in Yemen. There is no plan to scale back in Pakistan, but officials cited by the Post said the gap is expected to shrink.
Proponents of expanding the CIA’s role argue that years of flying armed drones over Pakistan have given the agency expertise in identifying targets and delivering pinpoint strikes. The agency’s attacks also leave fewer tell-tale signs.
Some government intelligence analysts outside the CIA, however, argued that it would be wrong to conclude that Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen has eclipsed the organization’s core, the Post said.
Even under constant pressure from Predator attacks, Al Qaeda has proven remarkably resilient. Officials cited by the daily also stressed that it is surrounded by other militant groups in Pakistan that share its violent aims.
The Pakistani origin US citizen Faisal Shahzad, who planted a failed bomb at Times Square earlier this year, for example, said he had been trained by the Pakistani Taliban.
- CIA warns al-Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen "urgent threat to U.S. security" - Aug 25, 2010
- US sends drones to hunt for Al Qaeda in Yemen - Nov 07, 2010
- Human intelligence aid drone attacks in Pakistan - Dec 30, 2010
- Al Qaeda No. 2 leader is dead: White House (Lead) - Jun 06, 2012
- 'US studying options for a possible Pakistan strike' - May 29, 2010
- Yemeni terror offshoot now bigger threat to US than Osama's al-Qaeda group: CSIS - Feb 09, 2011
- Al-Qaeda affiliates will still pose threats: US experts - May 02, 2011
- Alleged Texas jihad plot underscores lone wolf terrorist threat inside US - Feb 26, 2011
- Al Qaeda operations chief killed in Pakistan - Sep 16, 2011
- Dreaded Pak Taliban 'suicide bombing boss' Mehsud killed in US drone attack - Oct 16, 2010
- Al Qaeda weaker but still committed: US intelligence chiefs - Sep 14, 2011
- Al Qaeda publicly executes three for spying - Feb 12, 2012
- Notre Dame varsity academic says US drone strikes illegal - Oct 22, 2010
- Intensified CIA operations in Pak 'taking serious toll' on Al-Qaeda: Panetta - Oct 21, 2010
- Two killed in latest US drone attack in North Waziristan - Jun 26, 2010
Tags: administration officials, adversaries, agency expertise, al qaeda, central intelligence agency, cia drones, core group, escalation, government intelligence, intelligence analysts, letup, military strikes, osama bin laden, potent threat, predator, proponents, target, tribal areas, urgent threat, washington post