December 27th, 2009
01:19 PM ET
6 months ago

Is Al Qaeda making a comeback?

(CNN) - Is Al Qaeda making a comeback?

Former Acting Director of the CIA John McLaughlin and CNN Terrorism Analyst Peter Bergen say the foiled terrorist attack on Christmas Day may suggest yes.

"It certainly feels that way," McLaughlin said when asked if the terror group is making a comeback. "This man had been in London, where there is frequent evidence of recruitment by Al Qaeda, Al Qaeda-related people. He claims to have been in touch with Yemenis. And Yemen is a place where Al Qaeda is on the move, a strong movement there. And I think it's an exaggeration to say that Al Qaida has been weakened to the point where we don't have to worry about it anymore."

Meanwhile, Bergen said the suspect's ties to Yemen may suggest Al Qaeda is involved.

"We've seen multiple attacks - or attempted attacks on the American embassy [in Yemen]," Bergen said. "Al Qaeda has a strong foothold in Yemen. And the fact that this guy has said that he got the device in Yemen, I think, just speaks for itself."


Filed under: Al Qaeda
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Swishbone

    Al Qaeda has no enemy in the White House now. It can attack with impunity and without fear of retribution.

    December 27, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  2. Fitz in Texas

    Of course Al Qaeda is making a comeback. They have nothing to fear with this clueless administration that lacks backbone.

    December 27, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  3. D.D.

    We need to put all the lists into serious play.

    December 27, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  4. S M R

    If Bush would've stayed in Afghanistan and not Invaded IRAQ (NO WMD), this wouldn't even be a story. Thanks Cheney.

    December 27, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  5. CNN afraid of a liberal post

    I think al-queada depends on disgruntled easy led individuals like this guy who tried to set off the bomb. They probably troll for these type of people to get to do these horrendeous things.

    If you would just go to one of the message boards that the republicans post on you can see how outrangeous the hate and violence is in this country. The next thing you know you will see the White Supremist and KKK members recruiting them to perform the types of incidents that just happened.

    December 27, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  6. phoenix86

    Yes they are. Thanks in large part to Obama's weakness and incompetence.

    December 27, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  7. Matt

    In other news, al Qaeda announced that they were changing their name to SPECTRE, as it was easier for Westerners to understand. SPECTRE won in a close vote against other competitors like COBRA and "Legion of Doom".

    The whole "evil organization" schtick needs to stop – there isn't an "al Qaeda" in the sense that the media portrays it. OBL is not sitting in a cave someplace masterminding all the bad things in the world, and it's time we stopped acting like he is. At best, "al Qaeda" is a parent organization for terror franchises around the world; on the other hand, there's significant evidence to show that it's closer to a "terror VC fund" with essentially no centralized control.

    But of course, the military-industrial complex can't really sell a war against nobody in particular, so they inflate al Qaeda into an massive, centralized enemy like in Saturday morning cartoons.

    December 27, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  8. Larry

    Al Qaeda never went away. We didn't scare them with the two useless wars we started.

    Obama is looking like Bush. I guess he wants to eliminate all the bad guys in the world too, and we won't stop killing our own soldiers till we do!

    I thought Obama represented change for this country. He's becoming a big a joke as all the other politicians in Washington.

    December 27, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  9. lovable liberal

    Which straw man exactly said that we didn't have to worry about al Qaeda any more? I don't know of anyone in a position of any power at all who has said that.

    December 27, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  10. Rob R

    Those who think Al Qaeda can be defeated in a conventional sense just do not understand...these barbarous and fanatical people do not share our sense of morality or victory...they will be fighting SOMEONE long after we've passed on...they don't know anything but ignorance and illiteracy.

    December 27, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  11. PA

    This current administration is too weak to deal with this threat.

    December 27, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  12. ThinkAgain

    It sounds like our intelligence and military communities are on top of things – thank you for your diligence and hard work!

    Also, it sounds like it's time to re-hire all the Arabic translators fired under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

    December 27, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  13. jules sand-perkins

    Al Qaeda never went away. It's been there, waiting.
    One can pet a cold cobra on its head, but it's still a cobra.
    Respect Al Qaeda with awe, and don't bow to it: it strikes downward.

    December 27, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  14. DEM in HI

    We cannot win a war through military might only. Afghanistan has been a failure because we have a corrupt puppet government that does not and is not capable of sustaining a growth in their economy. The US had a chance in getting rid of Karzai and lost that chance. Now we have an unpopular leader in charge of a country that does not trust him. This is a recipe for failure, remember Vietnam? We need to provide the Afghan people an alternative to violence with a sustained economy. Granted there is very little opportunities right now, but we could move a lot of the outsourcing from India to this country. Notice every country that Al Qaeda is located in has many poor people. They are playing on the corruptness in those governments and tying the US policy to those corrupt governments.

    December 27, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  15. Airdoc

    Yes, they are coming back. Just as Clinton, Al Qaeda sees Obama as a week president. After the U.S. response to 9/11, Bin Laden was amazed at the attack because he thought the United States was a paper tiger.

    December 27, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  16. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    With all the right wingnuts comments, I would say al-Qaeda is doing well and has a strong following in the GOP.

    December 27, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  17. Obama in all his wisdom....

    thinks he's fighting Al Qaeda in Afghanistan...truth be told they have already moved to Yemen and Somalia......so who's Obama fighting????

    December 27, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  18. DAVE

    terror is and will be on the rise as long as the current administration keeps there head buried in the sand. calling a terrorist act a "MAN MADE DISASTER" doesn't exactly bode well in deterring these criminals from attacking our country. before Barry got into office they were running scared, now they have a renewed vigor since they know if they are caught they will be merandized and given the same freedoms and standing that we hold here in the U.S. it is a shame the number of attacks that have been thwarted this year alone and to thinks of the numbers that will occurr next and every year that POTUS is projecting weakness by extending his hand. Al-queda and the Taliban will tire of our weak president and something bigger or equal to 9-11 will happen and it will be the fault of the current administration and President who will go down in the books as the worst president in the history of the USA......

    December 27, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  19. Dave

    Yes they are. They are sensing a weak President.

    December 27, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  20. Black Viper

    It will be so stupid for the National Security authorities not to raise the security alert after Dozen of al qaeda operatives were killed in yemen few days ago.
    They should assume retaliation from the group and the best and most vulnerable thing this radicals look at is airplanes or mass transportation.
    We need to put aside this pravacy issue end scrupulously screen people before they board a plane. I don't care undressing for any TSA authorities to see i am clean and this shuld be with anybody.

    December 27, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  21. NotFooledTX

    It's also possible that this is just another lone crack-pot.

    Let's get all the evidence before raising the hysteria level. Last time the drummed up hysteria lead to us attacking the wrong country. Let cooler – and better informed – heads prevail.

    December 27, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  22. DENNA

    Al Qaeda never went anywhere. They have always been there waiting to catch us with out guard down. Witness the attempted downing of the Northwest Airlines plane this weekend. We will have to be vigilant for all of eternity because these people will never go away. God Bless our brave military in their fight to protect this great country and God Bless our president for even taking on this mess.

    December 27, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  23. jrzshor

    it's time to make some guys them disappear.

    December 27, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  24. German,Irish American

    But, but, Obama is closing Gitmo, whatever are they using for a recruiting tool? Obama told them we are sorry and he has deep respect for the Muslim world. Why? Why? Why? This can't be happening now that we are loved by the world after getting rid of Bush.

    December 27, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  25. Annie, Atlanta

    Making a comeback? I didn't know they ever went away.

    December 27, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
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