US official: Al-Qaida testing homeland defenses for weaknesses

US official Al-Qaida te

A top US counterterrorism official said Saturday that al-Qaida and others extremists are working to test US defenses and launch an attack on American soil. The failed Christmas Day attempt against the plane in Detroit "is the starkest of reminders of the insidious terrorist threats we face," said Michael Leiter, director of the National Counterterrorism Center. "We know with absolute certainty that al-Qaida and those who support its ideology continue to refine their methods to test our defenses and pursue an attack on the homeland," he said. The center, part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, draws experts from the CIA, FBI, Pentagon and other agencies who try to ensure that clues about potential attacks are not missed.