Fran Townsend made quick work of dismissing the words of Gen. Ray Odierno, Commanding Gen. of Multinational Troops in Iraq, who said (and is backed up by the latest NIE report) that al Qaeda in Iraq does not have the institutional capability to export violence outside of Iraq.
TOWNSEND: ...General Odierno's remarks suggest that they don't have the capability. I respect that-he's on the ground, he's in the best position to make that judgment, but we've seen al Qaeda in Iraq export violence before, like the wedding reception in Amman, Jordan. So we've got to presume they've got the capability and the potential to act on it. Al Qaeda in Iraq in Iraq is not a distraction. We've heard from bin Laden's own words that he views it as World War III, a war of destiny for al Qaeda that they must win. So it is in no way a distraction, it's actually a critical enabler and capability for al Qaeda Central. And we see them extending their influence, not only in Iraq, but in North Africa, for example, where they now have al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. This is part of bin Laden's plan, trying to extend the influence of al Qaeda.
So they listen to the generals on the ground unless they contradict their pre-conceived fear mongering? Note how Townsend conflates al Qaeda in Iraq with al Qaeda Central, who is actually in North Africa. And the World War III quote attributed to bin Laden? Guess who did the attributing?