WASHINGTON - Despite being badly damaged, the Al Qaeda network continues to poses a threat to the United States, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said."Even though we've badly damaged Al Qaeda and their ability to conduct attacks in this country, the fact is that they still remain a threat," Panetta told reporters at his maiden news conference as defense secretary.Speaking at the Pentagon on Thursday, he said the fundamental issues the US had to deal with were to identify the threats and make sure that it was prepared to confront those threats.
That was s what national defense was all about, he added.The secretary stressed terrorism and terrorism networks clearly remained a threat out there. "A threat coming out of Yemen, a threat coming out of Somalia and elsewhere.
And that means that we have to continue the pressure to deal with the threat of Al Qaida."In addition to that, Panetta said, his country was dealing with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. "We have a responsibility to try to bring those wars to a stable conclusion, and that's what we're trying to do," Panetta said.