CIA Chief Says Al Qaeda on Defensive

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Is al-Qaeda regrouping or is it really defeated in Iraq?

Several months ago, the Central Intelligence Agency warned of new threats of possible attacks from a revived al-Qaeda.

Click the play for more on this from CBN News Terror Analyst, Erick Stakelbeck.

Now, CIA Director Michael Hayden says the terror group is essentially defeated in Iraq and in Saudi Arabia. And they are on the defensive throughout the rest of the world, incudling Osama bin Laden's haven located somewhere along the Afghanistan - Pakistan border.

Hayden spoke with The Washington Post Friday, giving an upbeat assessment of the global war against the terror movement.

"On balance, we are doing pretty well," he said, ticking down a list of accomplishments: "Near strategic defeat of al-Qaeda in Iraq. Near strategic defeat for al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia," Hayden said.

While he warned that al-Qaeda remains a very real threat, he said Osama bin Laden is losing the battle for hearts and minds in the Islamic world. As a result, bin Laden has lost both cash donations and many new recruits.

"There have been significant setbacks for al-Qaeda globally -- and here I'm going to use the word 'ideologically' -- as a lot of the Islamic world pushes back on their form of Islam," Hayden explained.

Other terrorism experts say that it is too early to tell whether the gains are permanent.

"One of the lessons we can draw from the past two years is that al-Qaeda is its own worst enemy," said Robert Grenier, a former top CIA counterterrorism official. "Where they have succeeded initially, they very quickly discredit themselves."

Others warn that the group still has the capability to perform catastrophic attacks. Some say they may be even more determined to stage a major strike in order to prove it is still a force to be reckoned with.

"Al-Qaeda's obituary has been written far too often in the past few years for anyone to declare victory," said Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert at Georgetown University. "I agree that there has been progress. But we're indisputably up against a very resilient and implacable enemy."

Source: The Washington Post

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