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First Article, May 30: Al Qaeda is essentially defeated in Iraq and Saudi Arabia and on the defensive throughout much of the world, CIA Director Michael Hayden said in a Washington Post interview published on Friday.
The upbeat assessment came less than a year after the CIA warned of new threats from a resurgent al Qaeda.
Second Article, today: A regenerated al-Qaeda will remain the leading terrorism threat, Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence Donald M. Kerr said. Pakistan's "inward" political focus and failure to control the tribal territories where al-Qaeda maintains a haven, he said, is "the number one thing we worry about."
Kerr's analysis, in a speech Thursday evening that he posited as a presidential intelligence briefing delivered on Jan. 21, 2009, contrasted with more optimistic administration forecasts of rapprochement among Iraq's political forces and a possible Middle East peace agreement in the next eight months. It also seemed at odds with CIA Director Michael V. Hayden's judgment that al-Qaeda is now on the defensive throughout the world, including along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.