February 2nd, 2010
04:35 PM ET
5 years ago

Intelligence chiefs: U.S. to face terror attack attempts

Washington (CNN) - Another attempted terrorist attack on the United States in coming months is "certain," the heads of the major U.S intelligence agencies told a Senate committee Tuesday.

Al Qaeda remains the top security threat to the United States, but a growing cybersecurity threat also must be addressed by the U.S. intelligence community, the heads of the CIA, the FBI and other agencies told the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Asked by committee chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein of the likelihood of another attempted terror attack on the United States in the next three to six months, the officials agreed with Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair's initial answer of "certain."

While none of the intelligence chiefs, who included CIA Director Leon Panetta, FBI Director Robert Mueller and others, cited a specific pending threat, their testimony made clear that an evolving al Qaeda remains their top concern.

"My greatest concern, and what keeps me awake at night, is that al Qaeda and its terrorist allies and affiliates could very well attack the United States," Panetta said. Al Qaeda is adapting methods to make their plots more difficult to detect, shifting from large attacks with multiple players to using individuals without any background in terrorism, Panetta said.

He noted the failed Christmas Day bombing of a U.S. airliner as an example, saying the suspect had a U.S. visa but little history of involvement with terrorist groups.

"Obviously, they decided to make use of someone like that within a very short period of time" of the suspect coming into contact with al Qaeda, Panetta said.


Filed under: Terrorism
soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. JLM

    The American Taliban (Republicans) are attacking us every day,24/7.

    February 2, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  2. An 8 year old ELEPHANT dung heap, does not transform into compost in just 1 year!

    I agree mama4Obama, when did NYer's become so weepy?

    The world almost ends because a 747 flies over Manhatten, NEVER MIND it is arguably one the most recognizable 747 on the planet and now they do not want the trial of one that did the damage tried in the City?

    Who knew.

    February 2, 2010 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  3. donttreadonme

    We are more interested in defending the rights of those who want to kill us then protecting our own. Libs need Republicans to protect them from themselves. They are all a bunch of victims. Makes me sick!

    February 2, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  4. p

    Hammerer are you for real? Market tested phases? Are you a paid blogger, a genuine lunatic, or simply just a bored blogger reiterating someone else’s talking points as there is a serious disconnect between the intelligence of your language and the stupidity of what you are implying?

    February 2, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  5. vette gal

    Maybe we should go back to not letting anyone in our country until they pass through Ellis Island like our ancestors had to. That would give time for our government to check the person out for infectious diseases as well as any suspected terrorist ties.

    February 2, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  6. Ethan

    Thank God we have President Obama and the Democrats in there instead of "President John McSHAME," is all I can say. Thank GOD.

    February 2, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  7. El Kababa

    It is true that Islamic terrorists have killed about 10,000 Americans on 9/11 and later on battlefields in the middle east. Christian terrorist killed a few dozen Americans in the Oklahoma City bombing and in a few abortion clinic bombings. Will there be more attacks by Islamic fundamentalist terrorists? Yes. Will there be more bombings by Christian anti-abortion terrorists. Yes.

    Since 9/11 160,000 Americans were killed by other Americans in family feuds, gang wars, barroom brawls, botched burglaries, and accidental shootings. Amost 4 million were killed by tobacco corporations. 240,000 killed themselves. 64,000 were killed by aspirin complications. We could save more American lives by enforcing seat belt laws than by purchasing underpants x-ray machines.

    This is not World War II.

    February 2, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  8. Republicans - Wrong about everything, Wrong for America (and GW Bush was the worst President ever)

    How can Republicans tell us how unsafe we are under Mr. Obama. We lost over 3000 people in one day under Mr. Bush. To compound the matter, they now tell us how he kept us safe for 8 years. Yeah. 8 years minus 1 day. There is no way that we can ever be 100% safe. War doesn't work because you can't kill all of them. We need to hae the kind of covert operations that countries like Israel run. And we need the people who run them to shut up about them.

    February 2, 2010 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  9. Emma

    No one doubts the possibility of more attacks and the timing probably cannot be accurately predicted. So, if and when it occurs it will be no surprise. The current administration may not be able to prevent it anymore than George W Bush was able to prevent 9/11. This is not to say we should not have the security needed to try to prevent it.

    February 2, 2010 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  10. Brian from NJ

    Enough of the attacks on Bush prior to 911... if he had taken the steps necessary to prevent those attacks by arresting "suspected terrorists" the liberals and ACLU would have gone nuts! If people were told before 911 that they had to wait two hours to get on a plane and also go through tougher screening, the outrage would have been deafening... what was Bush supposed to do? And then when he does take the steps that would prevent another attack, you Bush haters jump all over him anyhow! And now the same people who claimed Bush was being treated unfairly are doing the EXACT same thing to Obama... it is riduculous

    The one thing that has been lost since that very sorrowful day is that the terrorists are the enemy, NOT the other political party! We need to stand by whoever is in the WH and support any and all efforts to bring these animals to justice. Did Bush make mistakes? Yes... and Obama is going to make mistakes, too. We need to stop attacking each other and retrain the focus on the real enemy! They are very real, they do not care what party you support... they just want us all dead!

    February 2, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  11. norwalkpa

    so...was napolitano at this commitee hearing? get rid of that disaster...and put in just one of our incredibly intelligent national security minds that are EXPERTS at knowing our enemies. but that wouldn't fit into the political pay-off system of government we have workin for us right now.

    btw...does anyone get fired anymore?

    February 2, 2010 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  12. terry,va---my comment always awaits moderation and is seldom published.

    We know attacks are coming yet we do nothing to get information. We give the underwear bomber an attorney. I would have given him a rubber hose and water boarded him. Americans need to wake up. This isn't a game, we are at war and until Obummie and Holder figure that out we will be sitting ducks.

    February 2, 2010 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  13. chris l

    Liberals should apologize for existing. Thank GOD the American Taliban Radicals or quite simply known as "liberals" are going to be thrown back in the gutter they came from come November. It already started in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts. One and done Obozos departure cannot come soon enough. Hey maybe you should scream BOOOOOSH or PAAAALIN more. Maybe that will help you, LOL. Liberals are pathetic.

    February 2, 2010 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  14. Captain Awesome

    Wait a minute. I thought terror threats were just something made up by the Bush admin. to keep everyone in fear? Isn't that what the liberal media told us? So, you mean there really ARE terrorists that want to kill us?

    February 2, 2010 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  15. REPUBLICANS LIE

    Imagine if we hadn't had years of horrendous and ruinous Republican leadership. Imagine if we hadn't immediately begun to withdraw our special forces from Afghanistan to make Iraq safe for Halliburton, Blackwater and trickle down economics. Imagine if we had originally gone into Afghanistan providing our military the support and political leadership needed so that Osama bin Laden would have been killed or captured at Tora Bora. Imagine how much further along we would be now in combating and destroying Al Qaeda if the hard core reactionary activists on the U.S. Supreme Court had not appointed George W. Bush president. Imagine how any progress we have made to date in our fight against the terrorists will be completely reversed if the governing power in American is ever again handed over to the vile and deceitful Republican party, a party populated by ignorant theocrats and corporate fascists filled with hatred for the American way of life.

    February 2, 2010 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  16. Captain Awesome

    And if we catch any of these terrorists, Eric Holder/Obama will probably give them Miranda rights and free ACLU lawyers. This way, the French will like us again.

    February 2, 2010 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  17. D.

    Terror attack is coming- so prepare the lawyers to defend the terrorists, so that the world will know we are a country of rule of law. Whether they succeed and what they do and how many American lives they will take is a minor issue to our attorney general. This administration is a catastrophe in the making!

    February 2, 2010 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  18. Nevada dude

    Hurry! run for the hills! the Boogeyman is coming!

    what a bunch of wooses you all are.

    teh Taliban couldnt last a day in our inner city ghettos, or in the trigger happy bible states. so what is everyone afraid of?

    February 2, 2010 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  19. Vote for GOP based on their ideas, which are.......?????

    You are absolutely right donttreadonme,

    Republicans are much better at National Security.

    For Examples, see 9/11, Iraq war, shoe bomber, Al Qaida is stronger than ever, no Osama bin Laden, no WMDs, Iran has Nukes, borrowed money from communist China to pay for war in Iraq.

    Heck'uv a job, Republies!

    February 2, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  20. victim of democrat hypocrisy

    All the while the loony left wing fringe does its best to take away the very tools that make us safe from terrorism.

    You know, we're just not safer under democrats.

    February 2, 2010 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  21. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    Well, I looked up the chances of an American being killed by a terrorist:

    One in 80,000

    Chances of an American dying of heart disease, 1 in 2.

    Seriously, the GOP is predictable, if people lose interest in you "message" fear mongering will get their attention!

    CNN, really? We ALL know that terrorists can attack any time, what's the point of this headline? Fear?

    February 2, 2010 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  22. Four and The Door

    Here you are, Harry, Barry, Nancy and Joe. Running this country isn't all of the fun you had hoped it would be, is it? It's much more fun to put fast trains everywhere, prop up your favorite big companies, hand out stuff to all the people who have fallen on tough times...be the hero with all those billions in tax dollars.

    Now you have to deal with security. Not much fun there and certainly you don't get to rely on votes coming back from spending money and time on security!

    Be careful what you wish for.

    February 2, 2010 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  23. mikey

    Are you people for real this is not Republican or Democrat or who did what, this about the Security Agencies doing their jobs like they're suppose to. Also the government just can't segregate one group, I mean they can they did it once before, but especially not now that will add to the problem that we already have in this country. I don't know if you people know it or not but education is not a high a priority in Mid-East Countries. But the terrorist are smart and patient they wait years before they attack. All I am saying is the best defense is with the people of America be vigilant and alert to what is going on report something if it don't look right, that is how we will get protection

    February 2, 2010 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  24. Mark

    I'm afraid to look out my window anymore. Them teabaggers scare the heck out of me.

    February 2, 2010 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  25. Gerry NH

    Obama is hadeling the terrorist intelligence real good. Yes sir. He found out about the christmas bomber after he set the bomb off. The dutch civilian told the administration after he captured him with the help of other civilians. Good intelligence.

    February 2, 2010 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
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