Issues

CIA veteran: Al-Qaeda will rebuild within Afghanistan, seek to attack US again

ALLS CHURCH, Virginia (AP) — The CIA man who briefed former US president George W. Bush on Sept. 11, 2001, and later Barack Obama on the intelligence that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden said Tuesday that he’s convinced the Taliban will invite al-Qaeda to rebuild in Afghanistan.

“There is no doubt in my mind,” said Michael Morell, who twice served as acting CIA director. “I believe that the Taliban will give safe haven to al-Qaeda, and I believe it will be al-Qaeda’s intention to again build its capability so that they can attack us here at home.”

Morell spoke at an online forum sponsored by the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, which is holding multiple panels this week to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Counterterrorism efforts fall into a pattern, Morell said, in which their capabilities can be easily degraded by a focused effort, but easily rebuilt when that focus fades. He pointed to the time in 2002 and 2003 when the US shifted its focus to Iraq, which he said led to a resurgent al-Qaeda prompting attacks in Madrid in 2004, London in 2005 and elsewhere.

“When our focus got shifted to Iraq al-Qaeda started bouncing back,” Morell said.

Read More: Times of Israel