CIA: Syria war greatest threat to US

CIA: Syria war greatest threat to US
Thu Aug 8, 2013 12:46:20

The war in Syria poses the greatest threat to US security because of the risk of the government falling and the country becoming a weapons-rich haven for Al-Qaeda, a CIA official says.

CIA second-in-command Michael Morell gave the assessment in an interview published Tuesday by the Wall Street Journal as he prepares to retire after 33 years with the agency.

Morell said there are now more foreign militants flowing into Syria each month to take up arms with Al Qaeda-affiliated groups than there were going to Iraq to fight with Al-Qaeda at the height of the war there.

"It's probably the most important issue in the world today," he said of the war in Syria, "because of where it is currently heading" -- toward the fall of the government of President Bashar al-Assad, according to Morell.

Morell also said the violence in Syria has the potential to spill across borders into Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.

On Al-Qaeda, he said the United States had "significantly degraded" the group's capabilities in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Morell will be replaced by Avril Haines, a 43 year old White House lawyer.

NJF/NJF

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