News / Middle East

White House: Al-Qaida Threat Closes US Embassy in Yemen

Multimedia

Audio

U.S. President Barack Obama's top counter-terrorism advisor says a threat from an al-Qaida affiliate led to the closure of the American embassy in Yemen.  This same group has been linked to the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a U.S. airliner.

John Brennan says the embassy was closed to protect the lives of its staff.

"There are indications that al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is targeting our embassy and targeting our personnel and we are not going to take any chances with the lives of our diplomats and others who are at that embassy," he said.

The president's homeland security advisor told the FOX News Sunday television program the United States is working with the Yemeni government to deal with the terrorist threat.

On NBC's Meet the Press, he was asked if that means Yemen is a major new front in the war on terrorism.

Brennan said it has long been an area of concern.

"We have been focused on this issue," he added.  "We need to make sure that we continue to provide the training, the support that Yemen needs to counter this very serious threat."

The United States and Britain have agreed to fund a new counter-terrorism police unit in Yemen.  The British government, which has also closed its embassy there, is hosting a conference later this month designed to boost Yemen's ability to fight terrorism.

On Saturday, President Obama said an al-Qaida affiliate in Yemen apparently trained and equipped the Nigerian man accused in the failed Christmas Day attack on a Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines flight.

Brennan - who is leading a White House investigation into the incident - told ABC's This Week there were bits and pieces of information about the suspect, but no definitive evidence. 

"There was no single piece of intelligence, a 'smoking gun' if you will, that said that Mr. Abdulmutallab was going to carry out his attack against that aircraft," he explained.

Congress is planning hearings into the matter over the coming weeks.  The top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee says he wants to know why so many Yemenis held at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba have been sent back home in recent years.

Senator Kit Bond of Missouri told Fox News Sunday many of those returned to Yemen are now active in al-Qaida.  

"I think the Bush administration has been shown to have made a mistake," he said.  "I hope the Obama administration will learn from that and not continue to commit the same mistake."

Michigan Congressman Peter Hoekstra, the senior Republican on the House Committee on Intelligence, recently visited Yemen.  He said there is no partisan divide in Washington on the nature of the threat now emanating from that country.

"It appears that we are now all on the same page," he said.  "We recognize the imminent threat.  We are committed to enhancing our intelligence capabilities and our offensive capability to deal with this."

Hoekstra was interviewed on ABC's This Week.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid