U.S. believes it can now destroy al Qaeda

WASHINGTON Tue May 3, 2011 4:24pm EDT

President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011. Also pictured are Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (2nd R) and Defense Secretary Robert Gates (R). Please note: A classified document seen in this photograph has been obscured at source. Picture taken May 1, 2011. REUTERS/White House/Pete Souza

President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011. Also pictured are Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (2nd R) and Defense Secretary Robert Gates (R). Please note: A classified document seen in this photograph has been obscured at source. Picture taken May 1, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/White House/Pete Souza

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States will aim to destroy al Qaeda's central organization now that its leader Osama bin Laden has been killed and its capabilities degraded by U.S. operations, a top White House adviser said on Tuesday.

Since the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, al Qaeda has spawned affiliated groups in the Middle East and North Africa and inspired attacks by so-called home-grown militants in Europe and the United States.

But White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan said bin Laden's death was the latest in a series of U.S. operations that have delivered "severe body blows" to al Qaeda's central network in Pakistan and Afghanistan over the past year.

"We're going to try to take advantage of this opportunity we have now with the death of al Qaeda's leader, bin Laden, to ensure that we're able to destroy that organization," Brennan told NBC's Today show. "We're determined to do so and we believe we can."

"We believe that we have damaged the organization, degraded its capability and made it much more difficult for it to operate inside of Pakistan as well as beyond."

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry said in an MSNBC interview on Monday that U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas had killed as many as 17 senior al Qaeda leaders before bin Laden's death.

Brennan spoke a day after world leaders and security experts urged increased vigilance against possible retaliatory strikes by al Qaeda.

CIA director Leon Panetta warned on Monday that bin Laden's death would "almost certainly" prompt his Islamist supporters to attempt some sort of retaliation.

But Brennan said U.S. officials were aware of no specific threat, nearly 48 hours after bin Laden's death.

"But what we're doing is, we're taking all those prudent measures that we need to whenever there's an incident of significance like this," Brennan said in a separate interview on ABC's "Good Morning America."

"Right now, I think we feel pretty confident that we are at the right posture."

(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Deborah Charles)

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Comments (16)
jscott418 wrote:
I would have to disagree that killing Bin Laden weakens Al Qaeda. Although I think its a symbolic victory for the US. I the Al Qeada is a organization that has been around for a while. I think they obviously have made some plans for the day Bin Laden dies either by the hands of a force like the US raid. Or by natural causes. To me this could be bad for the US if the new leader can rally Al Qaeda over the killing of Bin Laden. To weaken Al Qaeda it would be better to kill a hundred followers then one leader. The US may have hundreds of more motivated bombers now then they had before.

May 03, 2011 9:14am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Texasoil wrote:
Yes we can. Al queda is broken up to multiple groups in many countries right now. They have no leader per say. And there is no one that has the power to control the fractions. There will be some in fighting among the fractions for control. Some will go on their own and others will look for leadership. That makes them weak. We need to act now and hit them hard while they are divided. The big question is does Obama have the will to do it? Or are they going to pop back up 10 years from now stronger then they were?

May 03, 2011 9:25am EDT  --  Report as abuse
WilliamKus wrote:
If it took ten years to catch bin Laden, by doing the math, it should take about ten thousand years to finish off the rest of al Qaeda.

May 03, 2011 9:27am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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