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Blair to Senate: Attempted Terror Attack on U.S. 'Certain'

9:37 AM, Feb 3, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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Eli Lake reports on yesterday's sobering annual threat briefing to the Senate:

The warning came during the annual threat briefing to Congress in response to questions from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat and the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, who asked, "What is the likelihood of another terrorist-attempted attack on the U.S homeland in the next three to six months? High or low?"

"An attempted attack, the priority is certain, I would say," said Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair, a retired admiral.

Four other intelligence agency leaders who appeared at the hearing with Adm. Blair said they agreed with the assessment.

Blair noted the threat is evolving:

"In our judgment, al Qaeda also retains the capability to recruit, train and deploy operatives to mount some kind of an attack against the homeland," according to his written testimony. The recent arrests of an al Qaeda cell led by Najibullah Zazi, the attempted bombing of the Northwest Airlines jet en route from Amsterdam to Detroit, and the Fort Hood, Texas, shooting rampage, allegedly by Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, all suggest al Qaeda has come close to pulling off mayhem inside the United States...

The testimony specifically warned that al Qaeda is capable of another attack on the United States, marking a change from the 2009 assessment that emphasized the group's intentions to attack U.S. soil but said their capabilities to launch an attack on the homeland were limited.

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