WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Associated Press has learned that, according to a new US intelligence assessment, Al-Qaeda is stepping up efforts to sneak terror operatives into the United States. And, according to this assessment, the group has acquired most of the capabilities it needs to strike here.
The draft National Intelligence Estimate is expected to paint an increasingly worrisome portrait of al-Qaeda’s ability to use its base along the Pakistan-Afghan border to launch and inspire attacks. The warning comes as Bush administration officials say the US is safer nearly six years into the war on terror.
The classified estimate is still in draft form. Among its key findings:
-- Al-Qaeda is probably still pursuing chemical, biological or nuclear weapons and would use them if its operatives develop sufficient capability.
-- The terror group has been able to restore three key tools it would need to launch an attack on US soil: a safe haven in Pakistan's tribal areas, operational lieutenants and senior leaders.
-- The group will bolster its efforts to position operatives inside US borders.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)