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Al Qaeda Still Top Threat, Clapper Expected To Tell Congress

KIMBERLY DOZIER   02/10/11 11:17 AM ET   AP

James Clapper Al Qaeda
Director of National Intelligence nominee James Clapper listens to opening statements during Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on his nomination on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The nation's head intelligence official says terrorism is the top national security threat facing the U.S. homeland, and job No. 1 for the intelligence community.

In remarks to a House committee Thursday, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said al-Qaida's core in Pakistan and its offshoots continue to be damaged by U.S. counterterrorism efforts. He says intelligence cooperation has averted potentially deadly attacks over the past year, like the package bombs sent on two U.S.-bound cargo planes.

But Clapper says al-Qaida's offshoots in Yemen and Somalia will probably grow stronger.

He said the intelligence committee also is focused on the protests in Egypt, and the unrest across the Arab world, fending off criticism that intelligence officials had missed signs of looming turmoil there.

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Filed by Adam J. Rose  |