Skip to content

One Year After Afghanistan, Spy Agencies Pivot Toward China

The CIA headquarters in Langley.

The CIA headquarters in Langley.

Photographer: Chris Kleponis/Abaca/Bloomberg

Washington (AP) -- In a recent closed-door meeting with leaders of the agency's counterterrorism center, the CIA's No. 2 official made clear that fighting al-Qaida and other extremist groups would remain a priority — but that the agency's money and resources would be increasingly shifted to focusing on China.

The CIA drone attack that killed al-Qaida’s leader showed that fighting terrorism is hardly an afterthought. But it didn’t change the message the agency's deputy director, David Cohen, delivered at that meeting weeks earlier: While the U.S. will continue to go after terrorists, the top priority is trying to better understand and counter Beijing.