Washington: America`s CIA believes that
the al Qaeda terror network in Yemen poses a more serious
threat to the US than those in its traditional stronghold of
Afghanistan and Pakistan, a media report said on Wednesday.
A fresh assessment of al Qaeda`s affiliate in Yemen
has helped prompt Obama administration officials to call for
an escalation of US operations there - including a proposal to
add armed CIA drones to a clandestine campaign of US military
strikes, The Washington Post reported quoting unnamed US
This is for the first time in recent years that the
CIA has come out with the assessment that al Qaeda in Yemen is
more dangerous than those in Pakistan, where most of its top
leadership including Osama bin Laden is believed to have been
"We are looking to draw on all of the capabilities at
our disposal," a senior Obama administration official was
quoted as saying by the Post.
The official described plans for "a ramp-up over a
period of months."
The officials told The Post that analysts continue to
see al Qaeda and its allies in the tribal areas of Pakistan as
supremely dangerous adversaries.
"The officials insisted there would be no letup in
their pursuit of Osama bin Laden and other senior figures
thought to be hiding in Pakistan," the daily said.
It is also that because al Qaeda has been decimated by
Predator drone strikes in Pakistan that the franchise in Yemen
has emerged as a more potent threat, The Post said.
"We see al Qaeda as having suffered major losses,
unable to replenish ranks and recover at a pace that would
keep them on offense," a senior US official familiar with the
CIA`s assessments was quoted as saying.
The daily reported that CIA has roughly 10 times more
people and resources in Pakistan than it does in Yemen.
"There is no plan to scale back in Pakistan, but
officials said the gap is expected to shrink," it said.