WASHINGTON - Battles are brewing among Saudi and Egyptian al-Qaida leaders, creating a possible battle over who will succeed Osama bin Laden, CIA chief Michael Hayden said.
"And frankly," Hayden said, "we think there has been an awful lot of jockeying" among possible successors. Hayden was interviewed by The Washington Times.
Hayden also said al-Qaida has regrouped in tribal areas of Pakistan and linked up with Pashtun extremists in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region.
Because bin Laden is Saudi and a lot of al-Qaida's leadership is Egyptian, "who becomes the next guy becomes quite a contentious matter," Hayden said. "And there are fissures in al-Qaida because of this dominance of Egyptians inside the senior leadership, where you have a Saudi at the top. You can only imagine what then happens if he goes and then who comes in."
Asked about interrogation techniques, Hayden said he favors allowing CIA officers to conduct harsh questioning using actions not included in the latest Army Field Manual, which limits use of force.
"The Army Field Manual does not exhaust the universe of lawful interrogation techniques," he said.
© 2008 United Press International. All Rights Reserved.