- The Washington Times - Friday, December 13, 2002

U.S. military and intelligence forces have killed or captured a major portion of the al Qaeda leadership and several key successes were won in the past few months, according to CIA Director George J. Tenet.
"More than one-third of the top leadership identified before the war has been killed or captured," Mr. Tenet said in a speech Wednesday. "Almost half our successes against senior al Qaeda members has come in recent months."
A transcript of his remarks at the Nixon Center was made public yesterday.
"We are still in the 'hunt phase' of this war the painstaking pursuit of individual al Qaeda members and their cells," Mr. Tenet said. "This phase is paying off, but is manpower intensive and will take a long time. There are no set battles against units of any size. We are tracking our enemies down, one by one."
The comments were the first substantive remarks by the CIA director in months. They followed the release Wednesday of a congressional report that criticized U.S. intelligence failures related to the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Among the CIA's recent successes, Mr. Tenet said the CIA has "netted":
Al Qaeda's operations chief in the Persian Gulf, who helped plan the 1998 bombings in Africa and the attack on the USS Cole in 2000.
A key al Qaeda planner who was a conspirator in the September 11 attacks.
Numerous operations officers and facilitators.
A large amount of information now being used to hunt for additional terrorists.
Mr. Tenet did not mention the names of two key al Qaeda terrorists who were killed and captured. They include Qaed Senyan al-Harthi, who was among six terrorists killed last month in a daring CIA-directed missile attack from a drone aircraft in Yemen.
The key al Qaeda planner is Ramzi Binalshibh, an al Qaeda paymaster arrested in Karachi, Pakistan, in September.
Several top al Qaeda leaders, however, remain at large, including Osama bin Laden, Ayman al Zawahiri and Khalid Sheik Mohammad.
Overall, some 3,000 al Qaeda members have been detained in over 100 nations, he said, noting that the arrests have disrupted but not stopped al Qaeda operations.
Additionally, efforts against al Qaeda have led to the seizure of some $121 million in terrorist-related financial assets around the world, Mr. Tenet said.
The CIA director said the war against terrorism is not a war with the Muslim world.
"But we are at war with extremists," he said. "We are at war with terrorists. We are at war with fanatics. But we are not at war with Islam even though the terrorists want to portray it that way."
The terrorists are among the "fringe of the fringe" of radical Muslims who are violent and murderous, he said.
Mr. Tenet said al Qaeda and bin Laden are "formidable" enemies and before September 11 the CIA had a "stable of assets and a body of information that pinpointed al Qaeda's Afghanistan infrastructure."
The data helped in the "rapid destruction" of that infrastructure when the war began Oct. 7, 2001.
Mr. Tenet said the al Qaeda leadership has been "rattled" by recent losses and is more cautious. "But let's be very clear: There is no letup in the threat at the moment."
Al Qaeda is preparing more terrorist attacks and every captured al Qaeda member has indicated more strikes are planned, he said.
"Recent tapes by al Qaeda leaders threatening the U.S. economy and our coalition allies, were unprecedented in their bluntness and urgency," Mr. Tenet said.

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