Hayden, well known for his role in the NSA’s infamous wiretapping program, was appointed director of the CIA in 2006.
Only a year after his agency warned of a resurgence of al-Qaida in the Arab world, CIA Director Michael Hayden remarked on Friday that U.S. “counter-terrorism work” has led to the strategic defeat of al-Qaida in Iraq and Saudi Arabia and significant setbacks for al-Qaida globally.
The announcement, coming five months before the U.S. presidential election, may play an important role in the way voters see the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the so-called war on terror.
The head of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has said al-Qaeda is essentially defeated in Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and on the defensive elsewhere.
Michael Hayden’s remarks, which correspondents describe as strikingly upbeat, come less than a year after the CIA warned of a resurgent al-Qaeda.
He told the Washington Post that US counter-terrorism successes extended to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
“On balance, we are doing pretty well,” said the CIA director. “Near strategic defeat of al-Qaeda in Iraq. Near strategic defeat of al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia. Significant setbacks for al-Qaeda globally.”