- Military bans troops from Baptist church event honoring ‘God’s Rescue Squad’
- ‘Pocket drones’: U.S. Army developing tiny surveillance tools for the next big war
- Belgian cafe posts sign: Dogs allowed, but Jews stay out
- Gen. Dempsey: Pentagon studying Russian readiness plans not viewed ‘for 20 years’
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is ‘torture’
- House GOP ready to move border bill
- Bomb squad called after live WWII artillery washes on Cape Cod beach
- HAYDEN: Intelligence, evidence and the case against Russia
- Ohio university quiz implies atheists are naturally smarter than Christians
- Rep. Henry Cuellar on border crisis: ‘Playing defense on the one-yard line’
Anti-U.S. terror threat still potent, Negroponte warns
Question of the Day
Al Qaeda terrorism remains the most serious threat to U.S. national security, and the insurgency in Iraq shows no sign of abating, the nation’s top intelligence official told the Senate yesterday.
Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte also said that Iran’s nuclear development program is “an immediate concern,” although Tehran probably does not yet have a nuclear device.
Mr. Negroponte and other senior U.S. intelligence officials appeared before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence as part of the annual threat briefing on dangers to U.S. security.
“Attacking the United States homeland, United States interests overseas and United States allies — in that order — are al Qaeda’s top operational priorities,” he said.
“The group will attempt high-impact attacks for as long as its central command structure is functioning and affiliated groups are capable of furthering its interests because even modest operational capabilities can yield a deadly and damaging attack.”
Democrats at the hearing questioned the intelligence officials about the legality of the once-secret National Security Agency electronic eavesdropping program.
“We believe that all these activities are being undertaken in full compliance with our Constitution and with the laws of our country,” Mr. Negroponte said, noting that the program to monitor suspected al Qaeda overseas phone calls to the United States has helped in dealing with the terrorist threat.
The top-secret NSA program was exposed by the New York Times. The revelation has hurt U.S. intelligence, said Porter Goss, director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
“The damage has been very severe to our capabilities to carry out our mission,” Mr. Goss told the committee. “There has been an erosion of the culture of secrecy.”
Sen. Pat Roberts, Kansas Republican and committee chairman, said, “Our enemies are continually probing our defenses and adjusting their tactics in an attempt to launch a successful mass casualty attack.”
As in past threat assessments, Mr. Negroponte said al Qaeda is pursuing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons for its attacks, but its most likely method will be the use of conventional explosives.
Nearly 40 terrorist organizations or similar groups have used, acquired or shown interest in weapons of mass destruction, he said.
The merger of al Qaeda with the Iraq-based terror group headed by Abu Musab al Zarqawi has extended the reach of the group and broadened its ideological appeal.
For the first time, U.S. intelligence has learned al Qaeda’s vision from a letter from al Qaeda’s No. 2 leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. The group believes its terrorist activities in Iraq are a “steppingstone” to the creation of a global Islamist “caliphate,” or ruling regime.
Mr. Negroponte said a “homegrown” U.S. version of al Qaeda affiliated terrorists was uncovered last year in Lodi, Calif.
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Russia shipping sophisticated weapons systems to Ukraine separatists
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- Michelle Obama says money in politics is bad, asks donors for 'big, fat check'
- EDITORIAL: Detroit's water 'spigot bigots'
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is 'torture'
- Brian Kelly, Notre Dame ready for different route to title
- White House readies for House GOP impeachment push: 'Foolish' to ignore
- Presidents of Honduras, Guatemala blame U.S. for border children crisis
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq