Experts warn that al-Qaeda remains a bioterror threat

Multiple former U.S. counterterrorist officials announced on Thursday that a biological or chemical attack by al-Qaeda and its offshoots is still a threat, despite the killing of terror leader Osama bin Laden.
Michael Leiter, the recently retired director of the National Counterterrorism Center, recently spoke to an audience at the Aspen Security Forum, the Associated Press reports.
"We still have pockets of al-Qaida around the world who see this as a key way to fight us," especially the offshoot in Yemen," Leiter said, according to the AP. "The potential threat from al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is very real. The most likely...are simple forms of chemical or biological weapons (rather than a nuclear attack). Is it going to kill many people? No. Is it going to scare people? Yes."
Leiter said that while Bin Laden was focused on a big attack, his affiliates and other offshoots like the Pakistani Taliban realize that they can affect U.S. strategy with smaller scale attacks.

Former CIA Deputy Director John McLaughlin predicted that new leader Ayman al-Zawahiri will launch small scale campaigns similar to the attempted Times Square car bombing a year ago.
"Zawahiri will probably favor smaller targets," McLaughlin told the audience, according to the AP. "Bin Laden did not."
Leiter said that one challenge for the future is to keep the staff members of intelligence and military leaders from getting bored and leaving, because while the U.S. is drawing down its military forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, the anti-terror war continues on.
"Smaller scale terrorist attacks are with us for at least the foreseeable future," Leiter said, according to the AP.