Obama no longer considers al-Qaeda a direct threat to America. Intelligence community stunned.

Tensions between the White House and top military and intelligence officials have never been greater.

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The Daily Beast  In interviews with many of them, a common theme is sounded: The threat from al Qaeda is rising, but the White House is looking to ratchet down the war against these Islamic extremists. As a result, intelligence gathered on these threats remain shrouded from the public and, in many cases, from senior government officials. And now Congress and the White House are beginning to consider modifying—and possibly revoking—the very authority to find, fix and finish those terrorists who pose the threat today.  

One senior U.S. intelligence official said the frustration was that there is pressure from the White House to downplay the threat from some al Qaeda affiliates. “It comes from the top, it’s the message that al Qaeda is all these small franchise groups and they are not coordinated and threatening,” this official said. “It’s the whole idea of getting us out to place resources against something that they don’t think is a problem. It’s not their war, it’s not our conflict.”

Al Qaeda chief says, "We need to kidnap more Americans"
Al Qaeda chief says, “We need to kidnap more Americans”

But some senior U.S. intelligence officials, like Defense Intelligence Agency Director Gen. Michael Flynn, fought hard against that assessment, which amounted to an official pronouncement of the American intelligence community’s collected wisdom. Flynn and his faction won a partial victory, striking the judgment that the terrorist group no longer posed a threat to the homeland. “Flynn and others at the time made it clear they would not go along with that kind of assessment,” one U.S. intelligence officer who worked on the al Qaeda file told The Daily Beast.  “It was basically: ‘Over my dead body.’”

One reason why CIA officers were so quick to conclude the Benghazi attack was an act of terrorism (not a response to a video) was because some of the fighters who participated in the attack were being watched by CIA officers at the time on the ground in Libya, according to U.S. intelligence officials and congressional investigators.

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Documents taken from Osama bin Laden’s Pakistani lair showed that the Nigerian terror group Boko Haram, now infamous for its mass kidnappings, was tied to al Qaeda’s leader.

Even Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the Democratic chairwoman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, told CNN on Sunday, “Terror is not down in the world. It is up, both deaths, injuries, in many, many different places. Al Qaeda has metastasized. 

 “There is a desire for peace and I understand that. Everyone admits theoretically that the enemy gets a vote. But the war is not over till the enemy says it’s over,” James Mattis, who served as Obama’s commander of Central Command between 2010 and 2013, until he was fired by Obama.

CNN reports that a series of al Qaeda-based threats to attack American and Western targets in Europe, as well as threats to launch attacks inside the United States, has caused significant concern inside the U.S. intelligence community. Officials are trying to determine the extent to which the threats may be linked and determine what it may mean about the strength of al Qaeda in several countries.