“Relentless attacks against al-Qaeda in the Pakistan tribal region appear to have driven Osama bin Laden and other top leaders deeper into hiding, leaving the organization rudderless and incapable of planning sophisticated operations,” the paper reports Panetta told them.
Panetta added that they recently intercepted a message from an Al Qaeda lieutenant to leader Osama bin Laden pleading with him to come out of hiding and provide some leadership.
Of course, it is worth remembering that it was just over two months ago, a Jordanian pretending to work with the CIA while really an Al Qaeda operative managed to get into a CIA base in Afghanistan and kill seven officers.
And around the same time that Panetta was talking with the Post, Clark Kent Ervin, who was the first inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security, was up on Capitol Hill testifying before the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing and Terrorism Risk Assessment.
“The recent spate of aborted terror plots, especially the Christmas Day bombing attempt, all serve to underscore the fact that terrorists remain determined to strike the homeland again, and the odds of preventing them from ever succeeding are low.”
So, maybe Panetta’s right. Maybe I’m just going to take it with a grain of salt.