- Associated Press - Sunday, August 4, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee calls it the “most serious threat I’ve seen in a number of years.”

Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia is describing “the chatter” detected by U.S. intelligence agencies that led the Obama administration to order the weekend closure of 21 U.S. embassies and consulates in the Muslim world, and issue a global travel warning to Americans.

Chambliss tells NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “there’s an awful lot of chatter out there,” and he says it’s “very reminiscent of what we saw pre-9/11.”

SEE ALSO: Intel community worried Obama administration disclosed too much about latest al Qaeda threat

He says it’s critical that “we do the right kind of planning.”

“I can only imagine what it would have taken while I was in government in terms of the stack of evidence that would have been required for our government to take [these] kinds of action,” former NSA and CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Clearly, this is a serious thing. And it also kind of points out that this al Qaeda danger is not yet over and at least elements of al Qaeda are not yet totally on the run.

“You have a real danger to Americans, you want to be cautious,” Mr. Hayden continued. “The announcement itself might also be designed to interrupt al Qaeda planning, to put them … on the back foot, to let them know that we’re alert, and that we’re on to at least a portion of this plot line.”

SEE ALSO: Al Qaeda haunts August as State Dept. issues worldwide travel alert, closes embassies

Washington Times reporter David Sherfinski contributed to this report.