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Mr. Hayden said there also had been successes against al Qaeda branches in Iraq and Saudi Arabia. He said that al Qaeda in Iraq was “near strategic defeat” and that al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia had been strategically defeated despite a recent failed attempt to assassinate a Saudi prince.

“We have had substantial success against al Qaeda, but they remain dangerous,” Mr. Hayden said. “We are not as safe as we need or want to be, but we have made substantial progress.”