Biggest US Error Was to Miss Yemen Threat Seems we didn't know they were capable of launching terrorists By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff Posted Jan 8, 2010 7:21 AM CST 10 comments Comments This image provided by IntelCenter shows men whom IntelCenter identifies as the senior leaders of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. (AP Photo/IntelCenter) (Newser) – In all the news yesterday about US intelligence lapses, one "startling concession" stands out to Marc Ambinder: Security chief John Brennan admitted that the US didn't realize al-Qaeda's organization in Yemen—al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula—had "progressed to the point of actually launching individuals here." As a result, chatter from there about plots against the US went largely unheeded. "This is a major analytical mistake—or it seems like one," writes Ambinder in the Atlantic. "There had been plenty of discussions about Yemen, and the US was clearly concerned about the fertile soil there for extremism—but no policy maker seems to have taken the intelligence about AQAP's intentions seriously enough to significantly alter counterterrorism policies regarding AQAP's ability to threaten the US. This is the missing piece of the puzzle."