New Defense Chief Panetta: Al Qaeda Defeat ‘Within Reach’

On an unannounced trip to Afghanistan, newly-elevated Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told reporters the U.S. was closing in on top leaders of the terror group that launched the 9/11 attacks on New York and the Pentagon. “I was convinced in my capacity and I’m convinced in this capacity that we’re within reach of strategically defeating Al Qaeda,” said the former CIA head. He said the late Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden’s captured laptop revealed the organization’s financial woes and that the U.S. was closing in on the group’s new chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in Pakistan. He said Yemen poses the greatest Al Qaeda threat to the U.S.