`Al Qaeda core still has striking capabilities`

Brennan said Obama has made it clear that the US must reject the false choice between its values and security.

Washington: The core of al Qaeda leadership,
based in Pakistan, might have been crippled but it still
retains the the intent and capabilities to strike at the
United States, a top White House counter-terrorism official
has said.

John Brennan, Assistant to the US President for Homeland
Security and Counterterrorism, said in a speech at the Harvard
Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, that al Qaeda`s
affiliates in places like Pakistan, Yemen, and countries
throughout Africa "carry out its murderous agenda".

Moreover, adherents of al Qaeda -- like the Fort Hood
shootout mastermind Maj Nidal Hassan -- who have little or no
contact with the group itself -- have also succumbed to its
hateful ideology and have worked to facilitate or conduct
attacks in the United States.

"The core of al Qaeda its leadership based in Pakistan?
though severely crippled, still retains the intent and
capability to attack the United States and our allies," he

Brennan said in the face of this ongoing and evolving
threat, the Obama Administration has worked to establish a
counterterrorism framework that has been effective in
enhancing security.

He said among the administration`s core principles are
according highest priority to the safety and security of
American people and adherance to the rule of law and American

"Second, we will use every lawful tool and authority at
our disposal. No single agency or department has sole
responsibility for this fight because no single department or
agency possesses all the capabilities needed for this fight,"
Brennan said.

"Third, we are pragmatic, not rigid or ideological
making decisions not based on preconceived notions about which
action seems `stronger`, but based on what will actually
enhance the security of this country and the safety of the
American people," he said.

Brennan said the administration addresses each threat in a
way that best serves the national security interests,
including building partnerships with countries around the

"... and the principle that guides all our actions,
foreign and domestic we will uphold the core values that
define us as Americans, and that includes adhering to the rule
of law. And when I say `all our actions` that includes covert
actions, which we undertake under the authorities provided to
us by Congress," he said.

"President (Barack) Obama has directed that all our
actions even when conducted out of public view remain
consistent with our laws and values," Brennan said.

Brennan said Obama has made it clear that the US must
reject the false choice between its values and security.
"We are constantly working to optimise both. Over the past
two and a half years, we have put in place an approach both
here at home and abroad that will enable this Administration
and its successors, in cooperation with key partners overseas,
to deal with the threat from al Qaeda, its affiliates, and its
adherents in a forceful, effective and lasting way," he noted.


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