updated 1/22/2004 11:22:15 AM ET 2004-01-22T16:22:15

The al-Qaida terror network is under “catastrophic stress” but still poses a threat, a U.S. official said in an interview broadcast Thursday.

Cofer Black, the U.S. ambassador at large for counterterrorism, said some two-thirds of the Global Dragnet have been detained or put out of action since the Sept. 11 attacks — a claim also made by President Bush in Tuesday’s State of the Union address.

Black told British Broadcasting Corp. radio that al-Qaida has been significantly weakened.

“The al-Qaida of the 9-11 period is under catastrophic stress. They are being hunted down, their days are numbered,” he said in an interview recorded in Washington.

Counterterrorism officials are concerned about a new generation of al-Qaida sympathizers.

“The next group of concern would be ... a generation younger. They’re influenced by what they see on TV, they are influenced by misrepresentation of the facts,” he said. “They seem to be long on radicalism and comparatively short on training.”

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