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Al-Qaeda continues to threaten the US: FBI

Al-Qaeda continues to threaten the US: FBI

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Oct 11, 2018 - 10:10

WASHINGTON (Pajhwok):  Al-Qaeda, even as its capabilities have significantly diminished, continues to pose a threat to the United States, the Federal Bureau of Intelligence (FBI) told lawmakers on Wednesday.

  “Al-Qaeda maintains its desire for large-scale spectacular attacks,” FBI Director Christopher Wray told members of a Senate committee during a Congressional hearing on threats to the homeland.

“However, continued counterterrorism pressure has degraded the group, and in the near term Al-Qaeda is more likely to focus on supporting small-scale, readily achievable attacks against US and allied interests in the Afghanistaninfo-icon/Pakistaninfo-icon region,” Wray said.

Over the last year, the FBI head said, propaganda from leaders of the terrorist group sought to inspire individuals to conduct their own attacks in the US and the West.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda directed, financed and inspired attacks from their smart phones, turning Twitter followers into foot soldiers.

 Russell Travers, acting director of National Counterterrorism Center, told lawmakers the group continued to suffer setbacks; yet it had enjoyed some success in strengthening its resilience.

For instance, the group’s media releasesinfo-icon this year have adapted faster to current events, featuring synchronised statements from leaders including Ayman al-Zawahiri.

“We are concerned that improved coordination among its geographically dispersed nodes as reflected in its media efforts could improve the network’s ability to advance its long-held, core goal of striking the Homeland,” he said.

 The group, he added, maintains a global reach through its network of affiliates, led by seasoned veterans who worked to advance its violent agenda.

The outfit retains close ties with a variety of militant and terrorist elements that threaten US interests, including the Talibaninfo-icon and Haqqani Networkinfo-icon, as well as Syria-based Hurras al-Din.

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