Video: We can’t declare al-Qaida defeated

  1. Closed captioning of: We can’t declare al-Qaida defeated

    >> about retaliati retaliation by bin laden ?

    >> the president announced to the nation last sunday night -- and this is a significant achievement in terms of our ability to defeat the al qaeda organization , which is a principal counterterrorism goal of the united states . but as the president said the other night, this is not the end of the effort against al qaeda , and we fully expect the threat to continue and we'll continue to press our efforts, indeed, after the raid and the killing of osama bin laden sunday night. we'll continue to press very hard, take every opportunity we have as this organization tries to survive.

    >> do you specifically fear retaliation?

    >> well, at this point, i don't have a specific thing to talk to you about at this point. but obviously, in our planning before we undertook the raid, we thought hard about specific kinds of actions that could be taken, and you saw the rhetoric at the end of last week, which is to be expected. and as the president said sunday night, it's absolutely critical for us to remain vigilant as we continue to press this organization .

    >> the larger question, mr. donilon, was captured i think by the "newsweek" cover this weekend in a special edition , "mission accomplished," but are we any safer? was this a death blow to al qaeda ?

    >> i think at this point, we can't declare al qaeda strategically defeated. they continue to be a threat to the united states , but we have taken a really important milestone in terms of taking down this organization . now --

    >> are they a leader of this operation at this point?

    >> at this point, as an organization , they'll have to work through some sort of succession and ayman al zawahiri --

    >> al zawahiri , who it's coming out according to intelligence officials, may not be a popular figure within al qaeda .

    >> our assessment is he is not anywhere near the leader osama bin laden was.

    >> and therefore, can al qaeda still be as potent without a strong leader like bin laden was?

    >> i think it's a real blow. let me say two things about that. number one, we assessed at the end of last year, given the efforts we undertook at beginning of the administration, following on the efforts of the prior administration, that al qaeda was in the weakest shape it had been in since 2001 but still a dangerous organization . and with the steps that we took, with the assault on the compound in pakistan and the killing of osama bin laden , they are even weaker still, and we will continue to press this as we push towards, as i phrased, a strategic defeat of this organization , which is our national goal.

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