National Counterterrorism Center says U.S. safer than in 2001

The head of the National Counterterrorism Center has issued a statement that, while the recent release of documents on WikiLeaks undermines U.S. national security, the country is much safer from the possibility of a CBRN attack than it was in 2001.

In a rare public statement, Michael Leiter also said that it was “too early to tell” how State Department cables posted by WikiLeaks will affect how intelligence activities are conducted and that it “has certainly driven members of the intelligence community to reexamine information sharing,” reports.

During the speech, given at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Leiter stressed that the counterterrorism community is comfortable with sharing some information, though they have placed more safeguards to ensure that the information they gather does not negatively resonate on the counterterrorism front, according to

Operationally, Leiter believes the situation is much stronger than it was previously.

“(The situation) is really, really significantly better than it was in 2001,” Leiter said, according to, adding that the “threat of that most severe and complicated catastrophic attack is much less than (it) was in 2001.”

While the chance of a biological, chemical or radiation attack is more remote, Leiter told the audience of terrorism experts and reporters that nobody should assume an attack will not occur. He also said that the success of an attack is partly determined by how the U.S. reacts to it.