Page last updated at 18:28 GMT, Monday, 7 April 2008 19:28 UK

FBI head predicts al-Qaeda defeat

By Frank Gardner
Security correspondent, BBC News

Robert Mueller
Robert Mueller outlined what he sees as a three-tiered threat from al-Qaeda

The head of the FBI has said he believes the West can achieve victory over al-Qaeda within three-and-a-half years.

Robert Mueller described how his organisation is working closely with British intelligence to confront ever-more-complex plots.

Flanked by broad-shouldered security men with tell-tale bulges beneath their suits, the director of the FBI gave a rare public address in London.

As head of one of 16 US intelligence agencies, Mr Mueller is at the forefront of preventing a repeat of the September 11 attacks.

It was a task, he said, which could not be done without strategic partnerships with allies like Britain.

Britain's role 'key'

He said the West was now confronting a three-layered threat from al-Qaeda, but he believed it could be defeated, as he put it, on his "watch".

The top tier was the core of the organisation which had established new sanctuaries in Pakistan's tribal areas.

We never know when a fragment of information uncovered in one country could unearth an entire network of terror in another
Robert Mueller

The middle tier was the most complex, consisting of small, self-directed groups like the London bombers of 7/7 who had some ties to al-Qaeda's leadership.

The bottom tier, said Mr Mueller, was made up of homegrown extremists who met on the internet instead of in foreign training camps.

He said the key to confronting these threats lay in good human intelligence sources, wire-taps or eavesdropping, and international partnerships.

The vast majority of the FBI's terrorism cases, he said, originated from information developed by US partners overseas, particularly Britain.

Mr Mueller said FBI personnel had more than 20 face-to-face meetings every week with British counterterrorism officials in London.

He said: "We never know when a fragment of information uncovered in one country could unearth an entire network of terror in another."

Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Profile: FBI chief Robert Mueller
28 Sep 01 |  Americas
Guilty pleas in US terrorism case
14 Dec 07 |  Americas
Backlog of terror tapes dogs FBI
28 Sep 04 |  Americas


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific