FBI Director: Al Qaeda Still a 'Top Terrorist Threat to the Nation’

Penny Starr | June 20, 2013 | 2:19pm EDT
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Robert Mueller, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, spoke on June 19, 2013 at the Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on the bureau. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

(CNSNews.com) – FBI Director Robert Mueller said in his prepared testimony for a Senate Judiciary Committee’s oversight hearing of the agency on Wednesday that al Qaeda is a “top terrorist threat” to the United States.

“Al Qaeda and its affiliates, especially al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), continue to represent a top terrorist threat to the nation,” Mueller’s testimony states. “These groups have attempted several attacks on the United States, including the failed Christmas Day airline bombing in 2009, and the attempted bombing of U.S.-bound cargo planes in October of 2010.”

In his 5-minute introductory remarks at the hearing, Mueller said that “homegrown violent extremists” posed a threat to the nation.

“At the same time foreign terrorists still seek to strike us at home and abroad,” Mueller said, “terrorists today operate in more places and against a wider array of targets then they did a decade ago.”

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“We have seen an increase of cooperation among terrorist groups and an evolution of their tactics and their communications,” Mueller said.

“While core Al Qaeda is weaker and more decentralized than it was 11 years ago, it remains committed to attacks against the West,” Mueller said. “And Al Qaeda surrogates and affiliates, particularly Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, pose a persistent threat.”

As reported by CNSNews.com, between the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya that claimed the lives of four Americans, and Nov. 1, 2012, President Barack Obama touted al Qaeda’s demise 32 times, according to White House transcripts.

On Nov. 1 in Green Bay, Wis., Obama said, “Thanks to [the] sacrifice and service of our brave men and women in uniform, the war in Iraq is over, the war in Afghanistan is winding down, al Qaeda has been decimated, Osama bin Laden is dead.”

One day after the Benghazi attack Obama spoke at a campaign event in Las Vegas.

“A day after 9/11, we are reminded that a new tower rises above the New York skyline, but al Qaeda is on the path to defeat and bin Laden is dead,” Obama said.

Mueller is stepping down on Sept. 4, 2013 after serving 12 years as director – 10 years in his first term, with two additional years granted by Obama in July 2011. In 1968, Congress put a 10-year limit on the FBI director post.

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