US counterterror chief: Al-Qaida now on the ropes

September 1, 2011 - 3:10 AM
Counterterrorism Adviser

John Brennan, President Obama's chief counterterrorism adviser, speaks with The Associated Press during an interview in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2011. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) — On a steady slide. On the ropes. Taking shots to the body and head.

That's how White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan is describing al-Qaida after the death of the group's second-in-command in Pakistan last week.

In the first public comment by the administration, Brennan told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the killing of Atiyah Abd al-Rahman was a "huge blow." Al-Rahman reportedly was killed by a CIA drone strike.

Brennan credited aggressive U.S. action against militants from Pakistan to Yemen as the main reason U.S. intelligence has detected no active terror plots before the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. And he said that despite the sometimes troubled relationship with Pakistan, operations with that country were the model of how the U.S. would fight al-Qaida from now on.