Days before the ten year anniversary of 9/11, Ben Rhodes, the Deputy US National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications, said that al Qaeda was on the path of defeat, and no longer posed the kind of severe threat it once did.
Briefing the media at the National Press Club in Washington, Rhodes highlighted the various themes that the Obama administration would focus on during the 9/11 anniversary.
He said that the Obama administration had been working on degrading al Qaeda leadership by shifting its resources to Afghanistan and Pakistan to defeat the terrorist group. As examples, Rhodes cited the deaths of major leaders, which included Osama bin Laden, Atiyah Abdul Rahman and Ilyas Kashmiri.
In response to a question on Guantanamo Bay, Rhodes stated that Congress was the biggest obstacle in closing the detention facility. Rhodes said that President Barack Obama remained committed to his goal of closing Guantanamo Bay, but work needed to be done with Congress in doing so.
He added that some detainees had been transferred out of the facility, cases have been reviewed, and military commissions have been reformed. President Obama, during his election campaign, had promised to close the controversial facility in the first year after taking office – three years later, many critics have cited his failure in doing so.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 9th, 2011.