Archive for the ‘Hayden’ Category

Barack Obama is warned to beware of a ‘huge threat’ from al-Qaeda

November 15, 2008

Barack Obama is being given ominous advice from leaders on both sides of the Atlantic to brace himself for an early assault from terrorists.

General Michael Hayden, director of the CIA, this week acknowledged that there were dangers during a presidential transition when new officials were coming in and getting accustomed to the challenges. But he added that no “real or artificial spike” in intercepted transmissions from terror suspects had been detected.

President Bush has repeatedly described the acute vulnerability of the US during a transition. The Bush Administration has been defined largely by the 9/11 attacks, which came within a year of his taking office.

His aides have pointed to al-Qaeda’s first assault on the World Trade Centre, which occurred little more than a month after Bill Clinton became President in 1993. There was an alleged attempt to bomb Glasgow airport in Gordon Brown’s first days in Downing Street and a London nightclub attack was narrowly thwarted.

Osama bin Laden remains deeply isolated and has been forced ... 
CIA Director Michael Hayden.(AFP/File/Saul Loeb)

Read the rest from The Times of London:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_
and_americas/article5158569.ece

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

November 14, 2008

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

Ethnic dispute tears al Qaeda, Hayden says

March 12, 2008

By Bill Gertz
The Washington Times
March 12, 2008

Internal divisions between Saudi and Egyptian leaders of al Qaeda are producing “fissures” within the terrorist group and a possible battle over who will succeed Osama bin Laden, CIA Director Michael V. Hayden said yesterday.

General Michael Hayden
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency

Mr. Hayden, an Air Force general, also said that al Qaeda regrouped in the past two years inside tribal areas of Pakistan and linked up with Pashtun regional extremists in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region.
Bin Laden is now an “iconic” figure hiding in the remote border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan, Mr. Hayden said in a wide-ranging interview with editors and reporters of The Washington Times.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080312/NATION/169481933/1001

Muslim Backing Of Al-Qaeda Wanes

February 8, 2008

By Walter Pincus
The Washington Post
February 8, 2008

The violent attacks by al-Qaeda and by the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq have led people and religious groups in the Muslim world to reduce their financial support for Osama bin Laden‘s terrorist network and to question its leadership, senior U.S. intelligence officials told Congress yesterday.

“There seems to be a greater indication on the part of people within Islam to question the vision of al-Qaeda and the future that they’re holding out,” CIA Director Gen. Michael V. Hayden told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence during a hearing on worldwide threats. He said al-Qaeda’s leaders are “being forced to enter into a frankly open dialogue . . . with the body of believers.”

Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell told the panel that “the brutal attacks unleashed by al-Qaeda in Iraq and the other al-Qaeda affiliates against Muslim civilians have tarnished al-Qaeda’s self-styled image as the extremist vanguard.” He told the panel that “al-Qaeda has had difficulty in raising funds and sustaining themselves” over the past year since the Saudi government began arresting alleged al-Qaeda terrorists following attacks in that country.

Despite those signs, McConnell said, al-Qaeda remains “the preeminent terrorist threat to the United States here at home and abroad.”

Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell: Al-Qaida near tipping point?

February 7, 2008

By  PAMELA HESS, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – Al-Qaida‘s embrace of violence may be undermining the terrorist group’s support in the Muslim world, the nation’s top intelligence official said Thursday.

Director of National Intelligence  Mike McConnell, left, talks ...
 Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, left, talks to CIA Director Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008, during a House Intelligence Committee hearing.
(AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

“The question becomes, are we reaching a tipping point to witness the decline of this radical behavior?” said Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell at a House Intelligence Committee hearing. “We don’t know but we are watching it very closely.”

Most victims of al-Qaida bombings and attacks are Muslims, McConnell said. In Iraq, the violence perpetrated against Iraqis by insurgents associated with al-Qaida pushed local tribes to turn against the group and has led to improved security, he said, adding that the same pattern may take hold elsewhere.

“In the last year….

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 http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080207/ap_on_go_
co/terror_threats;_ylt=AuO_MBP
mNgJAHDn8VW9Zkres0NUE

Al Qaeda Threat to Pakistan’s Survival

February 7, 2008

By  Sridhar Krishnaswami
India Abroad
February 6, 2008

Al Qaeda and Taliban elements which have moved beyond Pakistan’s tribal areas are threatening the country’s survival, a top United States intelligence official has said in an unusually strong warning, asserting that only the army had the ‘strength’ to check the menace.

“I think the most significant thing in the recent situation is the threat has moved into Pakistan proper to threaten the very existence of the (state). Pakistan has now recognised that this is an existential threat to their very survival,” director of national intelligence Admiral Michael McConnell said.

He said the Pakistani leadership was taking steps to be more aggressive in getting control of the situation, with regard to not only Al Qaeda, but also the militants in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

His comments came after senior law makers, cutting across party lines, expressed serious concern at the terror threat coming out of Pakistan, especially in the FATA of the north.

“The militancy emanating from the tribal areas has grown so strong that it has spread to the settled areas of Pakistan, in the North-West Frontier province, but also reaching into the heart of Pakistan’s cities, including Islamabad. The most egregious example of this, of course, is Benazir Bhutto,” remarked senior Republican Senator Orin Hatch.

“At what point do you believe it would be better to pronounce the current Pakistani government a complete failure in advancing security for us or even their own people? And what Pakistani institutions could successfully stand against these threats?”  he asked McConnell.

“The only institution that has the strength to do what you just described is the Pakistani army,” the official said. He, however, added that the force was not adequately trained to carry out anti-insurgency operations.

“So that discussion is taking place in Pakistan now. And there will be changes in time to be more aggressive in addressing this threat,” McConnell said.

He said it was a ‘very critical time’ for the Pakistan government as the country was going through a transition to democracy. “It is a key point in Pakistani history. For the first time in their history, their legislature finished a term, and the elections are happening later this month on the 18th”.

“I’ve spoken to my counterparts in Pakistan and General Kayani, who’s chief of the army staff. I think they would agree in broad outline with your analysis,” said Gen Michael Hayden, head of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Pakistan's army chief General Ashfaq Kayani speaks at the ... 
Pakistan’s army chief General Ashfaq Kayani speaks at the test-firing of a medium-range Shaheen-1 (Haft-IV) ballistic missile at an undisclosed location in Pakistan January 25, 2008. Kayani dismissed on Friday fears that the country’s nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of Islamic militants as the military test fired a nuclear-capable missile.
REUTERS/Stringer (PAKISTAN)

Pakistani military operations in FATA have had ‘limited effect’ on Al Qaeda, the head of the Defence Intelligence Agency Gen Michael Maples said.

“However, Pakistan recognises the threat and realises the need to develop more effective counterinsurgency capabilities to complement their conventional military,” he added.

Reiterating the state department’s view that the US was not getting enough information on top militant leadership, Admiral McConnell said, “If we had the locating information, particularly of the leadership, we would be able to carry out actions to neutralise the leadership. So that specific information we seek. We do not have it”.

In his opening statement, Senator John Rockefeller pointed out the fact that after six and a half years since September 11, 2001, the Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden remains at large.

“That is a source of embarrassment and concern to all of you,” he said. “Al Qaeda has used this border safe haven to reconstitute itself and launch offensive operations that threaten to undo the stability of Afghanistan and undermine, if not overthrow, the Pakistan government,” Rockefeller remarked.

Another Democrat Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana asked the intelligence community if it would strike the balance between the United States getting involved and the risk of ‘destabilising an already fairly tenuous regime’ in Pakistan.

“How do we strike that balance? And when do we conclude that, if the Pakistanis simply can’t do it by themselves, that we have to do more and essentially say, ‘Look, if you can’t do it, we’re going to have to do more, and we’re going to do what we need to do here, because we can’t afford to have a repetition of the Afghan situation’? Bayh asked.

“I think there’s more commonality of view between us and our partners that this is a threat to both of us. In the tribal area, Pakistanis were concerned about it, but the threat emanating from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas was more a threat outside of Pakistan than it was to Pakistan, per se,” Gen Hayden of the CIA said.

Maples said Al Qaeda has expanded its support to the Afghan insurgency and presents an increased threat to Pakistan, while it continues to plan, support and direct transnational attacks. It has extended its operational reach through partnerships with compatible regional terrorist groups, including a continued effort to expand into Africa.

“Al Qaeda maintains its desire to possess weapons of mass destruction,” Maples said.