Senate Democrats

Reid: Growing Al Qaeda Threat Underscores Need To Change Iraq Strategy, Refocus Bush Administration Efforts On Terrorism

Washington, D.C.—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today in response to press reports that U.S. intelligence analysts assess al Qaeda has rebuilt its operating capability to pre-Sept. 11 levels:

“Given President Bush’s stubborn dedication to keeping our overextended military mired in an Iraqi civil war, it is not surprising that al Qaeda has been able to reorganize and rebuild.  Democrats are continuing to fight to change course in Iraq so we can refocus our nation’s efforts on a strategy to more effectively fight terrorism.

“It is a travesty that Osama bin Laden remains at large nearly six years after the 9/11 attacks and appears to have found new sanctuary to operate freely in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border regions.  The Bush Administration and most Congressional Republicans would rather stubbornly stick with a flawed strategy and fight a war that senior military leaders say cannot be won militarily, than adapt to fighting the enemy who attacked us nearly six years ago.  It is essential that we dedicate our resources and attention to al Qaeda and the real threat it poses.”

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Administration officials have discussed al-Qaeda’s alarming new safe haven along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. These and other assessments by experts explain why it is imperative for our nation’s security to redeploy from the Iraqi civil war and re-focus on fighting terrorism: 

John Kringen, Head of CIA’s Analysis Directorate, Says al-Qaeda Has Terrorist Safe-Haven along Afghanistan-Pakistan Border.   “Sooner or later you have to quit permitting them to have a safe haven" along the Afghan-Pakistani border, he told the House committee.” [AP, 7/11/07]

Iraq War Czar Lt. General Lute Admits Al-Qaeda Has Sanctuary on Afghanistan-Pakistan Border.  “I don’t think there’s any question that the relative sanctuary for, especially, Taliban senior leadership in Pakistan, today, in the border regions of Pakistan, is a major factor in the ability of the Taliban to be resurgent and probably quite active military this spring in Afghanistan.  There’s no question that that sanctuary exists and that it’s a major asset for the Taliban.” [Senate Armed Services Committee, 3/1/07]

National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell Says Al Qaeda in Afghanistan/Pakistan is Much More Likely to Guide the Next Attack on the U.S. Than Terrorists in Iraq:

  • Senator Jack Reed (D-RI): “Well, the question would be: If you had to establish a probability of a successful attack being organized and directed against the United States, would it emanate from Pakistan, with this newly revised Al Qaida leadership, or would it come out of Iraq?”
  • National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell: “My belief is the attack most likely would be planned and come out of the leadership in Pakistan.” [Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, 2/27/07]
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