Negroponte: 'Al-Qaida still top threat'

Feb. 2, 2006 at 2:05 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- U.S. Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte Thursday warned terrorism "is the preeminent threat" to the United States and its allies.

In testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Negroponte said it is imperative the United States must have the best intelligence possible if it is to win the fight against terrorism.

"Terrorism is the pre-eminent threat to our citizens, homeland, interests and friends," Negroponte said. "The war on terror is our first priority and driving concern as we press ahead with a major transformation of the intelligence community we represent."

He said though much of al-Qaida's top leadership has been eliminated, it "remains our top concern."

Negroponte credited Pakistan with facilitating the capture of al-Qaida members in Afghanistan, and noted the 2004 Madrid train bombings had strengthened U.S.-Spanish relations. He blamed the slow pace of "economic, social and political change" in Muslim nations for fueling the jihadist movement.

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