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Updated: September 3, 2009 10:57 IST

America is a nation at war, says CIA Director

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CIA Director, Leon Panetta during his visit to New Delhi.
S. Subramanium
CIA Director, Leon Panetta during his visit to New Delhi.

A top American intelligence official has said that the United States is a nation at war which is facing threat from Al-Qaeda terrorists in Pakistan.

“We are a nation at war. We are confronting a war in Afghanistan and a war in Iraq. We are confronting Al-Qaeda and other terrorists in Pakistan,” CIA Director Leon Panetta said at the Nationally Black Colleges and Universities Week Conference on Tuesday.

Mr.Panetta said his agency’s first responsibility is to protect the safety of the US.

“We are confronting the challenge of nuclear proliferation in countries like North Korea and Iran... We are confronting a whole new challenge of something called cyber-security, which has the potential to in fact bring down our markets, bring down our power grid system, bring down our water systems and cripple this country,” the CIA chief said.

The US is also confronting the challenge of instability in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia and in places like Yemen and Somalia, he said.

“The CIA has to be an intelligence organisation that understands what our adversaries are thinking. What are they doing? What are their secrets? What are their strategies?” he said, adding we have to understand those dangers, those opportunities as America faces a world that confronts a number of challenges to our safety.

“This is not about the past. This is about the present and the future,” Mr. Panetta argued.

Keywords: USACIA

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