"Al Qaeda itself is greatly weakened from where it was back in 2000," Mr. Obama told Diane Sawyer in an interview aired last night. "Bin Laden sending out a tape trying to take credit for a Nigerian student who engaged in a failed bombing attempt is an indication of how weakened he is because this is not something necessarily directed by him."
Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden earlier this week released a tape taking responsibility for the attempted attack and calling alleged bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab a "hero."
Even though the bombing attempt failed, intelligence officials admit the nation's counterterrorism system failed by letting the terrorism attempt get so far.
"Since Christmas, we have identified some additional holes that need to be filled," Mr. Obama said in the interview. "I think many of them were immediately filled. But some of them, in terms of how we make sure that intelligence in one agency is immediately passed on to another, I think that is something that constantly is improved."
Mr. Obama also said in the interview he would rather be a good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president.