Al Qaeda is America’s top concern among terrorist groups but an emboldened Hizballah is a growing danger

Briefing the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday, outgoing US national intelligence director John Negroponte highlighted the increasing danger posed by Iranian-Syrian-backed Hizballah since its 34-day war with Israel last year. He said that Hizballah’s self-confidence and hostility towards the US as a supporter of Israel could cause the group to increase its contingency planning against American interests.
Negroponte, who has been appointed Dep. Secretary of state, said Osama bin Laden’s network maintains active connections “that radiate outward from their leaders’ secure hideout in Pakistan to affiliates through the Middle East, northern Africa and Europe. Conventional explosives are the most probable means of attack but al Qaeda is reported trying to obtain chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons.
Friday, Jan. 12, Pakistan angrily rejected the intelligence director’s claim that al Qaeda maintained crucial sanctuaries on its soil. The foreign ministry said Pakistan had done more than any other country to fight terrorism and remained committed to the fight against terror and extremism.
Negroponte called Pakistan “a frontline partner in the war on terror” but nonetheless a major source of Islamic extremism.

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