Obama: Al-Qaeda remains 'number one threat' to US


(Gold9472: Isn't change refreshing? Aaaaah... You can just feel the difference. Not. The fact of the matter is, the "number one threat" to the United States is the corporate two party system that does not serve the people.)


President-elect Barack Obama said Wednesday that Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden remain the "number one threat" to US security, after a new voice recording emerged from the terror group's leader.

"Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda are our number one threat when it comes to American security," Obama told reporters, after the recording warned the president-elect of new fronts in bin Laden's self-styled holy war against Western interests.

"We're going to do everything in our power to make sure that they cannot create safe havens that can attack Americans. That's the bottom line," Obama added.

The 22-minute audio recording, which the US-based Site Intelligence Group said it believes is authentic, was the first commentary from the Al-Qaeda leader in eight months.

It came as President George W. Bush, whose presidency was dominated by the September 11, 2001 attacks launched by bin Laden's militants, prepares to hand power to Obama next Tuesday.

"Indicators suggest... that 75 percent of the American people are pleased with the departure of the president who bogged them down in wars that they have nothing to do with," bin Laden said in the tape.

"He drowned them in economic turmoil that reached their ears. He passed a heavy legacy to his successor."

Obama, who was speaking after talks with his vice president-elect Joseph Biden and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, reiterated his belief that there is only "one president at a time" when asked about the tape.

Biden and Graham were briefing the president-elect after their return from a trip that included stops in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Biden stressed that the mission was to gather facts on the ground rather than shape policy for the incoming administration. But he promised "a significant shift" in Afghanistan.

After six years of war, he said, "it has not gotten better."

In the delegation's contacts with the nations' leaders, Biden said he occasionally expressed concerns about "some of their actions or lack of action."

"Things are going to get tougher in Afghanistan before they get better," he said, adding: "Pakistan's position on Afghanistan is going to affect our ability to succeed."

Obama has vowed to boost development in Afghanistan and shift the focus of the "war on terror" from Baghdad to Kabul as he winds down the war in Iraq.

A Washington Post report Tuesday said the new president will agree to Pentagon plans to send up to 30,000 more US troops to Afghanistan in order to gain time to review the conflict against a resurgent Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

And on the campaign trail, Obama vowed to launch military strikes on extremist targets inside Pakistan if the government in Islamabad is unwilling or unable to act.