Qaeda stung by U.S. pressure in Pakistan: CIA chief

U.S. pressure on al Qaeda near Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan has put the group “off balance,” but the region remains the biggest terrorism threat to the United States, the CIA’s chief said on Thursday.

Agency Director Michael Hayden also told a Washington think tank he and the head of Pakistan‘s intelligence service, Lt.-Gen. Ahmed Shujaa Pasha, shared in a meeting last month common views on how to contain the militant threat.

This was despite heated Pakistani protests over U.S. military strikes inside Pakistan aimed at stopping al Qaeda and Taliban cross-border attacks in Afghanistan.

By Randall Mikkelsen, Reuters

Osama bin Laden remains deeply isolated and has been forced ... 
Osama bin Laden remains deeply isolated and has been forced to devote much of his energy to his own security, CIA Director Michael Hayden, pictured in February 2008, said in a speech on Thursday.(AFP/File/Saul Loeb)

“There’s a lot more commonality on how the threat should be dealt with than many people seem to assume,” Hayden told the Atlantic Council of the United States.

There may be Taliban elements the United States could talk to, he said, to fracture its alliance with al Qaeda — a view also expressed by advisers to President-elect Barack Obama.

The United States in recent months has stepped up drone-carried missile strikes against militants inside Pakistan, and in September launched a commando ground attack across the border.

Washington has shrugged off protests from Pakistan, but some experts fear the raid may have undermined Pakistan’s fragile democracy and cooperation with the United States.

Hayden, without acknowledging the strikes or the U.S. role in them, said several veteran al Qaeda fighters and commanders had died over the past year, “by violence or natural causes.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081114/ts_nm/us_
security_usa_qaeda_3

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