As al-Qaeda grows, leaders remain a global threat
WASHINGTON (AP) - Far from being on the brink of collapse, al-Qaeda's core leadership remains a potent threat - and one that experts say has encouraged the terror network's spread into more countries today than it was operating in immediately after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
President Barack Obama, who ordered the May 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden, has described al-Qaeda's headquarters as "a shadow of its former self".
White House spokesman Jay Carney on Tuesday called it "severely diminished" and "decimated".
The bravado, however, did not match the Obama administration's action this week. It closed 19 US diplomatic outposts stretching across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and evacuated non-essential personnel from the US embassy in Yemen after intelligence officials said they had intercepted a recent message from al-Qaeda's top leader about plans for a major terror attack.