The U.S. Director of National Intelligence on Tuesday presented to Congress an assessment of worldwide threats to U.S. national security interests. The following are some of the key points as listed in James. Clapper's prepared statement for the record.
Terrorism: The Pakistan-based "core" al-Qaida group once led by Osama bin Laden has diminished in operations importance. However, the global jihadist movement of al-Qaida and like-minded groups continues to be a dangerous transnational force.
Iran: It is not known if Tehran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons. Iran's leaders are facing domestic political problems and a stalling economy, but economic difficulties probably will not jeopardize the regime.
North Korea: Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and missile programs pose a serious threat to the security environment in East Asia, but it would consider using nuclear weapons only in narrow circumstances.
Afghanistan: The Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan has lost ground in some areas, but remains resilient and capable of challenging U.S. and international goals.
Pakistan: Pakistan military leaders have had limited success against al-Qaida operatives, other foreign fighters and Pakistani militants.
Nigeria: Critical to U.S. interests and facing political wounds, chronic unrest, and the Islamic extremist group known as Boko Haram.
Arab Spring: The turmoil in the Arab world will challenge the ability of the U.S. to influence events in the Middle East. The unrest potentially provides terrorists with more operating space.
Central Asia: Unresolved conflicts in the Caucuses and fragility of some Central Asian states represent the most likely flashpoints in the Eurasia region.
Cyber Threats: A critical national and economic security concern. Among state actors, China and Russia are of particular concern. Nonstate actors also are playing an increasing role.
Foreign Intelligence Threats: The top three are cyber-enabled espionage, insider threats and economic espionage by China, Russia and Iran.