While ISIS May Be In The Spotlight, Al Qaeda Is Still The Greater Threat

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Subway in New York, Sept. 9, 2011.

Subway in New York, Sept. 9, 2011.

The brutal and bloody rise of the Islamic State has captured the attention of many, incited fear and anger in others, and fealty from those who have traveled to Iraq and Syria to fight alongside the militant group. However, the caliphate is not the greatest threat to American welfare and security — though it may be getting the most air time, says Michael Morell, the former deputy director of the CIA, who held the post from 2010 to 2013.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, based in Yemen, the Khorosan Group from Pakistan, and the Al Qaeda's senior leadership in Pakistan and Afghanistan pose the greatest threat to the United States, according to Morell.

"They have the capability to bring down an airline in the United States of America tomorrow," said Morell at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., earlier this week.