In his New Yorker interview published over the weekend, President Obama stated that current Al Qaeda was “jayvee” – and said that his analogy was often used around the White House. “The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant,” Obama said. He then added, “I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.”
Attempting to respond to the growing power of Al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula, including the takeover of the Iraqi city of Fallujah, Obama said that Al Qaeda’s activities didn’t always threaten American interests: “how we think about terrorism has to be defined and specific enough that it doesn’t lead us to think that any horrible actions that take place around the world that are motivated in part by an extremist Islamic ideology are a direct threat to us or something that we have to wade into.”
CNN reported last week that “al Qaeda appears to control more territory in the Arab world than it has done at any time in its history.”
During the 2012 campaign, the Obama administration routinely stated that al Qaeda was on the run.