Nightly News   |  August 02, 2013

Attack on American soil ‘less likely’ than abroad

Counterterrorism analyst Michael Leiter, who ran the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center during the Bush and Obama administrations, says travelers ought to be aware of their surroundings and report anything unusual.

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

>> bring in our nbc news counterterrorism analyst michael liter who ran the national counterterrorism center during the bush and obama administrations. that made him the point man inside the white house on threats like this. michael , first of all for the folks watching tonight who do not have overseas travel plans or someone to worry about overseas but want to spend a summer weekend in this country on vacation around other tourists what should they do, what should day do differently?

>> i don't think people in the united states should do much differently. they should do what government has asked them to do. be aware if they see something suspicious report it. but as a general matter, the affiliate of concern here, al qaeda in the arabian peninsula in yel yemen is much more able to attack places overseas in the middle east and north africa . it doesn't mean they can't attack in the united states they tried to do before. most particularly christmas day bomber, it is less likely. i don't think that's what the intelligence community sees coming from this time.

>> from this president and the last two presidents we have heard something bordering on swagger about how we have diminished al qaeda overseas, how about he have had them on the run, this would seem to indicate that that is not altogether true?

>> i think this, i wouldn't quite call it swaergger. i would say we have made huge progress against al qaeda in pakistan. al qaeda as a group is fractured. the place it is fractured and become most dangerous is the affiliate in yemen. we have done some to diminish it through air strikes and working with the yemenis, the attempt to take down two airliners with package plots. a group that knows how to make bombs. knows how to plot attacks and is quite deadly especially in the region.

>> michael liter, our point man at nbc news on national security thank you for being with us tonight from san francisco .