Counterterror officials starting to imagine the end of Al Qaeda

“We have affected al Qaeda’s ability to attract new recruits. We’ve made it harder for them to hide and to transfer money, and pushed al Qaeda’s finances to its weakest point in years. Along with our partners in Pakistan and Yemen, we’ve shown al Qaeda that it will enjoy no safe haven, and we have made it harder than ever for them to move, to communicate, to train and to plot.” he said. “If we hit al Qaeda hard enough and often enough, there will come a time when they simply can no longer replenish their ranks with skilled leaders that they need to sustain their operations. That is the direction in which we’re headed today.

“Taken together, the progress I’ve described allows us, for the first time, to envision the demise of al Qaeda’s core leadership in the coming years. It will take time, but make no mistake: al Qaeda is in its decline,” he said…

“Bin Laden clearly sensed that al Qaeda is losing the larger battle for hearts and minds. He knew that al Qaeda’s murder of so many innocent civilians, most of them Muslims, had deeply and perhaps permanently tarnished al Qaeda’s image in the world. He knew that he had failed to portray America as being at war with Islam,” Brennan said. “He worried that our recent focus on al Qaeda as an enemy had prevented more Muslims from rallying to his cause, so much so that he even considered changing al Qaeda’s name.”