Alex Witt   |  May 26, 2013

Lawmakers disagree with White House on state of al Qaeda

Some lawmakers on Capitol Hill indicate that they differ with President Barack Obama on whether al Qaeda is weaker today as opposed to the past.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

kristen, a good sunday to you. senator graham went so far as to call the president tone deaf in his speech. so what's the latest reaction to that?

>> reporter: well, alex , senior administration officials are saying that the president is still going to pursue the united states enemies with the same vigor and aggressiveness, but they say that a new approach is needed. they say that this term war on terror is outdated, which is what we essentially heard the president talk about in his speech last week. and they say part of that is because al qaeda has been weakened and the troops are coming home from afghanistan, so they say a different approach is needed. democrats also fanned out on the morning shows today to defend the president's counterterrorism policy. this is what chuck schumer had to say. take a listen.

>> there are new types of threats that we have to be vigilant about, but he said under this long-term war on terror where small groups of individuals can hurt us, we need some rules. we need some rules. we need some transparency. so american citizens and the citizens of the world know we're not just going willy-nilly.

>> reporter: and, alex , one of the key parts of this debate is just how strong is al qaeda ? if you talk to some republicans like representative peter king from new york, he believes that al qaeda hasn't been decimated as the white house is arguing. so that's really where the tension lies. if you ask foreign policy experts, many of them agree that, look, caal qaeda has been weakened to a large extent. top leaders, top officials have been taken off of the battlefield. however, there are still pockets of strength. you heard chuck schumer refer to that particularly in areas like yemen. so that is really the concern moving forward. and on the drone policy, you started off by talking about drones, a number of lawmakers also calling for this administration to be more transparent in its use of drones as it moves forward. alex ?

>> okay, kristen welker at the white house , thanks for that.