Leiter: al-Qaida vulnerable, but still dangerous

More than eight years after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, the terror group al-Qaida is more vulnerable than at any point in its history, but it still has the capabilities of carrying out large-scale terror attacks, according to Michael Leiter, director of the National Counterterrorism Center.

Leiter spoke at a hearing Wednesday morning before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, to provide lawmakers with an update on the current threats the U.S. faces from terrorist organizations and what the country and its allies are doing to combat the problem.

According to Leiter, al-Qaida, due to the efforts of the U.S. and its allies to crackdown on safe havens in Afghanistan and Pakistan, has been weakened and suffered significant leadership losses, which has undoubtedly disrupted the group’s capabilities to plan and carry out terror plots. Despite these losses, however, Leiter told lawmakers that al-Qaida is still quite capable of carrying deadly terror attacks, as evidenced by thwarted plots in recent years.

Leiter said that the terror organization, whose core is located in Pakistan, is likely focused on launching attacks on prominent political, economic and infrastructure targets, as well as transit systems and public venues.

Click here to read more of Leiter’s testimony before the Senate committee.