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Negroponte: Al-Qaida Remains Top Concern to US


The top U.S. intelligence official says al-Qaida remains the chief concern of the United States.

National Intelligence Director John Negroponte told the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday that much of al-Qaida's leadership has been eliminated, but core elements still seek to carry out terrorist attacks against the United States and elsewhere.

He also said the United States believes Iran does not yet have a nuclear weapon or the necessary material to make one.

But he said the danger that Iran will acquire a nuclear weapon and be able to integrate it with existing ballistic missiles is of "immediate concern."

He said it is probably true that North Korea has nuclear weapons, and that Pyongyang poses a threat to spread weapons technology around the world.

He also defended Washington's controversial domestic surveillance program, calling it a way to deal with the threat of international terrorists in the "most agile and effective way possible."

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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