The CIA has hampered al-Qaida's free rein in the tribal region of western Pakistan, and Iran appears to be nearing a decision on whether to build a nuclear warhead, departing CIA chief Michael Hayden said Thursday.
"The great danger was that the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan was a safe haven. My belief is that it is neither safe nor a haven," Hayden said at the agency's headquarters in what probably was his final briefing for reporters.
President-elect Barack Obama has picked Leon Panetta, a former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton to head the agency.
Hayden said the progress in the tribal region was a "big deal." It is the result, he said, of the Bush administration's push to dislodge al-Qaida from the enclave the terrorist network established on the Pakistan border after it fleeing Afghanistan in 2001 after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>