Washington: A top American intelligence
official has said that the United States is a nation at war
which is facing threat from al-Qaeda terrorists in Pakistan.
"We are a nation at war. We are confronting a war in
Afghanistan and a war in Iraq. We are confronting al-Qaeda and
other terrorists in Pakistan," CIA Director Leon Panetta said
at the Nationally Black Colleges and Universities Week
Conference on Tuesday.
Panetta said his agency`s first responsibility is to
protect the safety of the US.
"We are confronting the challenge of nuclear
proliferation in countries like North Korea and Iran... We are
confronting a whole new challenge of something called
cyber-security, which has the potential to in fact bring down
our markets, bring down our power grid system, bring down our
water systems and cripple this country," the CIA chief said.
The US is also confronting the challenge of
instability in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America,
Southeast Asia and in places like Yemen and Somalia, he said.
"The CIA has to be an intelligence organisation that
understands what our adversaries are thinking. What are they
doing? What are their secrets? What are their strategies?" he
said, adding we have to understand those dangers, those
opportunities as America faces a world that confronts a number
of challenges to our safety.
"This is not about the past. This is about the present
and the future," Panetta argued.