Panetta: 'There Is an Al Qaeda Presence in Syria'


Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta confirmed on Friday that al Qaeda has a "presence in Syria."

At a briefing at the Pentagon with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Panetta was asked by a reporter, "Secretary Panetta, if I may, on al Qaeda in Syria, you've said that we don't have any indication of al Qaeda in that -- those double explosions that took place in Damascus. But what kind of assessment do you have on al Qaeda activity in Syria? Because the Syrian government confirms that al-Qaida is active in Syria. Do you have an indication to say that al Qaeda is actually active, how big it is, and is it a concern for you?"

Panetta responded by confirming the terrorist group's presence, but provided few details.

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