Center for American Progress

Damage Done to Al Qaeda Is a Great National Security Success
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Damage Done to Al Qaeda Is a Great National Security Success

The damage done to Al Qaeda by the Obama administration represents America’s greatest national security success in decades.

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The Al Qaeda network over the past three years suffered its greatest losses since the United States and its allies evicted the terrorist organization from Afghanistan in 2001. Consider the achievements:

  • President Barack Obama ordered a daring and risky Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May 2011, and dozens of other senior Al Qaeda leaders have met their demise since President Obama took office.
  • This summer, U.S. drones killed Ilyas Kashmiri, commander of Al Qaeda’s Pakistan operation, and Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, Al Qaeda’s top operational planner who became the organization’s number two after bin Laden’s death.
  • Anwar al-Awlaki, a key member of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula believed to be responsible for organizing a number of attempted attacks against the United States, was killed in another drone strike in Yemen at the end of September.

Hardly a week goes by without some key figure in the Al Qaeda network and its affiliates being targeted in a range of actions, including drone strikes as well as other actions by U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies to prevent attacks and degrade the Al Qaeda network. The damage done to Al Qaeda by the Obama administration represents America’s greatest national security success since the fall of the Soviet Union and the peaceful integration of Eastern European countries in the 1990s.

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