Washington: A White House official has said that despite substantial progress been made in eliminating the top al Qaeda leadership, the US continues to be at war with the terror outfit.

White House counter terrorism official John Brennan, President Barak Obama's nominee for the post of CIA director, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday that al Qaeda still seeks to carry out deadly strikes against the US and its allies.

"We remain at war with al Qaeda and its associated forces, which, despite the substantial progress we have made against them, still seek to carry out deadly strikes against our homeland and our citizens, and against our friends and allies," Brennan said.

Listing out the challenges being faced by the CIA during his confirmation hearing for the post of director, Brennan said US computer networks and databases are under daily cyber-attack by nation states, international criminal organisations, sub-national groups and individual hackers.

He said regimes in Tehran and Pyongyang remain bent on pursuing nuclear weapons and inter-continental ballistic missile delivery systems rather than fulfilling their international obligations or even meeting the basic needs of their people.

"Historic political, economic and social transformations continue to sweep through the Middle East and North Africa with major implications for American interests, Israel's security, Arab partners and the prospects for peace and stability throughout the region," Brennan said.

Obama's top counter-terrorism official, who has served 25 years in CIA, said the US has publicly acknowledged that America's fight against al Qaida and associated forces has sometimes involved the use of lethal force outside the hot battlefield of Afghanistan.

"Accordingly, it is understandable that there is great interest in the legal basis as well as the thresholds, criteria, processes, procedures, approvals and reviews of such actions."

"I have strongly promoted such public discussions with the Congress and with the American people, as I believe that our system of government and our commitment to transparency demands nothing less," he said.

Earlier, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, termed Brennan an undoubtedly qualified person for the post. "He (Brennan) has assured the committee in his response to pre-hearing questions, that he will be independent from political influence," she said.


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