United States officials admit drone strikes are the most effective means they have to attack the senior leadership of al Qaeda and the Haqqani network, both of which operate out of North Waziristan. The United States has asked the Pakistani government and military to expand an operation against the Pakistani Taliban to the Haqqani network, but they have declined, according to Western officials. The Pakistani military argues it would be overstretched if it went after al Qaeda and Haqqani militants in North Waziristan.
In response, U.S. officials have publicly threatened to increase the number of drone strikes across the region. They seem to have followed through with that threat, especially since the CIA base was attacked on Dec. 30. In the last six days, North Waziristan has been hit with one of the largest number of strikes to occur in a single week since the drone campaign began.
The CIA launched more than 50 drone attacks in 2009, compared to more than 30 in 2008, according to an ABC News tally. The CIA officials based at Camp Chapman were at the center of the drone campaign, according to intelligence officials, and they were looking for informants to help them find senior al Qaeda and Haqqani leaders.
It's not clear whether the three claims of responsibility are evidence that al Qaeda, the Afghan Taliban, and the Pakistani Taliban are working distinctly from each other or they have launched a coordinated information campaign.
A NATO intelligence officer recently told reporters in Kabul that the Afghan Taliban, Pakistani Taliban, and al Qaeda are "coming into alignment."
"May God accept [al-Balawi] as a martyr who was able to infiltrate the Americans' forts," al-Yazid said in the statement. "We ask God to bless the people who follow your path, Abu Dujana," a reference to the screen name al-Balawi used on jihadist Web sites.
"Let them know that your brothers are following your path and they will not have peace of mind until they slaughter the Americans and let the Islamic nation be proud for having men like you among its sons."