|Union Calendar No. 355
al-Qaeda: The Many Faces of an Islamist Extremist Threat
REPORT OF THE
U.S. HOUSE PERMANENT SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE
APPROVED: JUNE 2006
TOGETHER WITH ADDITIONAL AND MINORITY VIEWS
SUBMITTED: SEPTEMBER 2006
Almost five years after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the United States remains a nation at war. Al-Qaeda and Islamist extremist terrorist groups with like-minded goals and ideologies remain one of the most immediate strategic threats to the national security of the United States. Nonetheless, the threat we face today is quite different from the terrorist threat that we faced prior to September 11, 2001. America's intelligence agencies are in agreement that:
- Al-Qaeda leaders and their terrorist affiliates remain committed to global jihad against the West. Currently, this is the single most important terrorist threat to U.S. national security.
- Al-Qaeda's terrorist campaign has attracted a global support and recruitment network. Despite the loss of key lieutenants, Jihad retains its global appeal.
- Al-Qaeda leaders wait patiently for the right opportunity to attack.
- Al-Qaeda has metastasized its scale of influence by reaching out to like-minded Islamist extremist groups and inspiring new groups and individuals to emerge and carry out independent attacks.
- Iraq has become the front line for the global war on terrorism. Prior to his death in June 2006, Abu Musab Zarqawi aligned his group with Al-Qaeda.
- The United States must be concerned about the threat of homegrown terrorism.
- The Islamist extremist threat will continue to grow through the exploitation and use of the Internet.
The United States has taken positive steps to enhance our national security against the threat of future terrorist attacks. However, the threat of terrorism is still very real, and in many ways more alarming than the threat that existed prior to September 11, 2001. There are a growing number of groups building the capability to attack the United States, our allies, and our interests abroad. The United States must remain vigilant in the face of these threats and provide our intelligence, law enforcement and military personnel the necessary legal authorities, resources and tools to protect our national security.
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