Wednesday, February 28, 2007

New DNI on the Al Qaeda Threat

Addendum to yesterday's speculation about a looming "Al Qaeda" attack.

The new director of national intelligence told members of Congress on Tuesday that senior leaders of Al Qaeda were steadily rebuilding the network’s bases inside Pakistan and that future attacks against the United States could be planned from Pakistan’s remote western mountains.

In his first testimony since taking office last month, Mike McConnell said Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, were supervising the establishment of Qaeda camps in Pakistan similar to those that existed in Afghanistan before the Sept. 11 attacks, although he said the camps were not as fully developed as the former Afghan bases.

Mr. McConnell's appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee followed a succession of meetings between top American officials and Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who officials in Washington have said was not doing enough to root out Islamist militants in Pakistan's tribal areas.

"It's something we’re very worried about and very concerned about," Mr. McConnell said.

Intelligence and counterterrorism officials, speaking anonymously, have spoken in the past several weeks about the new camps in Pakistan and the gradual rebuilding of Al Qaeda's command and control apparatus, but Mr. McConnell is the most senior official in Washington to describe in public what he called a growing problem.

And then there is this:

Vice President Dick Cheney, thinly veiled as a "senior administration official," told reporters on his plane on Tuesday that it was not correct that he "went in to beat up on" the Pakistani president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, for failing to confront Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

"That's not the way I work," said Mr. Cheney, violating the first rule of conducting a background interview: never refer to yourself in the first person, when it makes it obvious who is talking. "The idea that I'd go in and threaten someone is an invalid misreading of the way I do business."

Ho ho ho.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was Cheney carrying his shotgun with him? He's shown that he's not averse to using it on another person.

3/03/2007 9:37 PM  

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