Meet the Press   |  October 06, 2013

Leiter says top al Qaeda leader capture significant for US

NBC News counter-terrorism analyst Michael Leiter said the capture of top al Qaeda leader Anas al Libi will weaken the terrorist network in Libya.

Share This:

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

>> in bombings in kenya and tanzania. tanzania is now in u.s. custody. it ends a 15-year manhunt. he was seized in broad daylight near the tripoli capital on saturday. he will be brought to the u.s. to stand trial.

>>> an al- shabab leader linked to the kenya shopping mall attack was linked to a town in southern somalia, but navy seals came up empty handed. no americans were hurt in that operation.

>>> michael lighter is here right now. he's the director of the terrorism center under presidents bush and obama. good to see you.

>> good morning, savannah.

>> let's start with this capture in libya .

>> he was historical in the 9/11 bombings, but he was with obama in 1984 in sudan. this is someone who had moved from iran back to libya and his deep ties with the organization, his capture now means it's much harder for al qaeda to establish a residence in libya , and that's critical for out nithe united states .

>> it's a place that's lawless at times.

>> the fact he felt safer going from iran to libya is very worrisome for the u.s.

>> operation incredibly risky. why would they take that risk, and what do you make of the fact that it wasn't ultimately successful?

>> the u.s. has targeted al- shabab for several years now, but we're always nervous about going in. the reason we wanted to go after him is because he is leadership and he's the driver of the al- shabab travel agenda, and that was especially after nairobi. not getting him is bad because he's still in somalia, but we also didn't get the intelligence we hoped to gather from a raid.