As the Ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, I have been briefed since 2003 on a highly classified NSA foreign collection program that targeted Al Qaeda. I believe the program is essential to US national security and that its disclosure has damaged critical intelligence capabilities.
Based on the people l've spoken to, I think the impression is: Is America safer from Al Qaeda? Yes. Is America weaker as a nation because we have overspent and over-focused on Al Qaeda? Yes. I think that would be the conclusion that people seem to have come to and that I tend to agree with.
Asking the question whether the mainstream media has a liberal or conservative bias is like asking whether al Qaeda uses too much oil in their hummus. I might think they use a little bit too much oil; some people might think it's a little dry. But the problem with al Qaeda is they want to kill us. And the problem with the mainstream media is that it has these other biases that are much more important.
Given that the Al Qaeda core has been significantly destroyed or disabled, and that the leadership seems to be essentially on the run or in hiding, it would lead me to think that probably it is one of the less centralized groups that might be the greatest danger.