WASHINGTON, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Outgoing Homeland Security chief John Negroponte Thursday told Congress the U.S. ability to gather intelligence has improved dramatically in the last year.
In testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Negroponte warned, "Terrorism remains the pre-eminent threat to the homeland, to our national security interests and to our allies. The longer we fight this war, the better we get at inflicting serious setbacks to our adversaries."
In what was expected to be his last appearance before the committee before he moves to the State Department, Negroponte said U.S. forces have managed to kill a number of senior al-Qaida operatives in the last year but the organization remains "resilient."
"They continue to plot attacks against our homeland and other targets, with the objective of inflicting mass casualties," he said, adding that al-Qaida and other groups are attempting to acquire stocks of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons or material.
Negroponte said attention also must be paid to the threats posed by Hezbollah and rogue states such as Iran and North Korea.