February 2nd, 2010
04:35 PM ET
13 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. ben jackson

    It isn't about Dems and Reps. Its about people who want to do the U.S. harm, wether they are from inside or outside of our borders. Remember T. McVey? This myth about Dems being soft on terror is just that, a myth. 9/11/01 didn't happen during a non-republican administration. Terror can happen at any time, in any place. If we want to keep America safe, let's all act like we are in this together. Or is that possible? If not, we have no chance.

    February 2, 2010 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  2. Thersites

    Are you sure that the attacks are not days away instead of months? The Iranian loon announced 2/11 would be a day of significance and gave plenty of time for us to shift around our defenses. Now for sure, militant Islam does not fall far from it's moon god worshiping roots, deception is going to be a big part of the strategy.

    February 2, 2010 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  3. Mike, formerly from Syracuse

    Obviously Obama hasn't apologized enough. He needs to go door to door in the Muslim world and apologize to each person personally.

    February 2, 2010 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  4. Right Leaning Independent

    Never fear, Obama will talk them out of it!! Ok, so are Dems now the fear mongers or are they just public servants warning the American population? I never am sure what Dems believe when it is their own that are issuing warnings....

    February 2, 2010 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  5. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    I wish they had a crystal ball before 9/11. I think it is clearly stupid to predict or ask a question "will terrorist strike again", haven't they openly said they would. There is no way we can stop a terrorist attack, they're homegrown every day.

    February 2, 2010 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  6. Frank P

    The main terrorists are Obama and his radical libaral team that are destroying our country from inside out! Perhaps we need to think where did all that money came from that supported Obama's campagne and whether any of it may have come from Islamic states that have long wanted to destroy our nation from outside but could not do so, and they finally decided that putting a terrorist in the White House would do the job! Wake up America, wake up before it is too late!!!

    February 2, 2010 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  7. valwayne

    So we're going to just let them keep coming at us? We're going to wait for them, read them their Miranda rights, give them Constittional rights, and not interrogate them? Then spend millions giving them lawyers and civilian trials? This is Obama's plan for fighting the war on terror?

    February 2, 2010 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  8. T

    Do want to know what is sad?

    in 2001 if you had told me we faced "certain terrorist attack", I would be scared to death. I would be ready to mobilize and do and think anything the government told me to do.

    But in 2010, I don't believe a single word that is said from this government or the previous. Terrorist attack? Yellow Alert?

    The days of our second rate public relations department run by the Intelligence community being credible have long been over.

    No one with the exception of 2 million Fox News viewers .9% of the USA population, will give any thought to this story......

    February 2, 2010 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  9. Old Artillery Man

    Is this the beginning of the war drums to invade Iran?

    February 2, 2010 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  10. FB

    I'm so tired of Americans being divisive with eachother!!! Those terrorists aren't coming to attack just "liberals" or "conservatives", they are coming to attack us, AMERICANS!!! We need to stand united against the common enemy, not sit here and argue about which party will protect us better. As long as we are divided.....they will conquer!!

    February 2, 2010 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  11. Otto

    I believe our government should take every step needed to keep us safe; even if we lose a few so called privacy. We can't sit on our hands and allow foreign nations and their techno nerds to rip off every detail we have. No only are they dangerous but it has already began; whereby warfare won't be tanks and conventional weapons but cyber warfare.

    There should be policies in place that no one should be allowed to talk about what we are doing. Does the Chinese say anything? Enough of these reports and every news media wants to know who, when, where and how; so that they are first to publish on the Internet.

    February 2, 2010 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
1 2 3