As widely assumed, Osama bin Laden is alive and is probably safely hiding in the remote tribal areas of Pakistan. More troubling, however, is that the activities of his al-Qaida terrorist group — still the No. 1 threat to the U.S. and its interests — appear to be increasing, a top CIA official told Congress on Wednesday.
“We see more training, we see more money, we see more communications,” said John Kringen, the CIA’s director of intelligence. “So we see that activity rising. At the same time, they are having success in the franchising ... and the branding.”
Al-Qaida, Kringen said, seems to be once again assuming more of a role in planning terrorist operations worldwide rather than letting loosely affiliated surrogates operate in a more laissez-faire manner — even as it continues to successfully recruit individuals and groups to its cause.