As reported on the Washington Post, U.S. counterterrorism officials are becoming increasingly convinced that the killing of Osama bin Laden plus the toll of seven years of CIA drone strikes have pushed al­Qaeda to the brink of collapse:
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta declared during a recent visit to Afghanistan that "we're within reach of strategically defeating al-Qaeda." The comment was dismissed by skeptics as an attempt to energize troops while defending the administration's decision to wind down a decade-old war.

But senior U.S. officials from the CIA, the National Counterterrorism Center and other agencies have expressed similar views in classified intelligence reports and closed-door briefings on Capitol Hill, officials said.
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