`Al Qaeda remains dangerous terror outfit`

US intelligence remains squarely focused on safety of the American people.

Last Updated: May 09, 2011, 00:19 AM IST

Washington: Al Qaeda, though damaged by Osama bin Laden`s death, remains a dangerous terror outfit for the US and rest of the world, American intelligence agencies have concluded following a preliminary assessment of information gleaned from a huge cache of material recovered from the dreaded terrorist`s Abbottabad hideout.

"In the wake of this major counter-terrorism success, the intelligence community remains squarely focused on the safety of the American people. We will sustain intense pressure on al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Al Qaeda is damaged by bin Laden`s death, but the group remains dangerous," a senior US intelligence official said.

"They`ve been on their heels for some time. I mean, they`ve suffered extensive damage, and the fact that bin Laden is off the streets only exacerbates that damage for them, and that`s good for the United States and our allies," the official said on the condition of anonymity.

As a result of the US raid at the Abbottabad hideout of bin Laden during which he was killed, the US has acquired the single largest collection of terrorist material ever.

The material is currently being reviewed, the official said adding that it already provided some important insights. "We expect to learn more about al Qaeda and its affiliates, their plans and intentions, and any threats they currently pose."

If potential threat information is discovered, the US government will take all necessary measures to protect the American people, the official said, adding the collection of bin Laden compound material is large and proving valuable.

It will take time, therefore, to perform a thorough review. But some of the material has already been disseminating intelligence across the US government based on what was found.

Responding to questions, the official said he cannot say specifically at this point whether US-Yemeni cleric and terror suspect Anwar al-Awlaki`s contacts with bin Laden were in the records, per se, or in the documents, but, it would be highly unsurprising if al Qaeda chief didn`t know about al-Awlaki.

PTI