Calling al-Qaeda's core in Pakistan as the most formidable terrorist organization targeting it, the US says the outfit's connection with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) was turning the Pakistan-based LeT into a "genuine global threat."
"al-Qaeda's core in Pakistan remained the most formidable terrorist organization targeting the US homeland" last year, the State Department said in its Congressionally mandated Country Reports on Terrorism 2009, released Thursday.
"It has proven to be an adaptable and resilient terrorist group whose desire to attack the United States and US interests abroad remains strong," the report released by counterterrorism coordinator, Daniel Benjamin said in its strategic assessment.
Noting that a Pakistani American citizen, David Headley, has pleaded guilty in a US court to crimes relating to his role in the Nov 2008 LeT attacks in Mumbai, the report said "the Lashkar e-Taiba connection has added a further dimension to the terrorist threat landscape".
"Its activities have made clear its deepening commitment to undertake bold, mass-casualty operations against American and other Western targets," the report said. "Since the 2008 Mumbai attack, analysts have deepening concern that it could evolve into a genuine global threat."
Noting that "there been more cases of Americans becoming operatives for foreign terrorist organizations," the report said "Headley and others indicate the diversity, mobility, and versatility of self-selecting recruits whom organizations can pick to meet strategic goals."
"Organizations may set these goals, but their training resources and recruits are increasingly modular and interchangeable."
"The US intelligence community assessed that al-Qaeda was actively engaged in operational plotting against the United States and continued recruiting, training, and deploying operatives, including individuals from Western Europe and North America."
"Moreover, al-Qaeda continued to try to expand its operational capabilities by partnering with other terrorist groups, with varying degrees of success," the report said.
Al-Qaeda suffered several significant setbacks in 2009 as it remained under pressure in Pakistan, it said. "Yet despite these setbacks, the al-Qaeda threat was more dispersed than in recent years, which partially offset the losses suffered by al-Qaeda's core."
"The attempted Dec 25 bombing of a US commercial airliner demonstrated that at least one al-Qaeda affiliate has developed not just the desire but also the capability to launch a strike against the United States," the report said.