"He still has some surface-to-air capability, where he could attack an aircraft, including one of ours. We haven't seen large-scale indications of that after the action yesterday," Mullen said. "He clearly has the ability to continue to attack his own people, and we're very focused on that, and trying to ensure that his military forces don't do that."
Former Bush administration Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff told Amanpour that while Gadhafi may pose some threat, his capabilities are limited.
"I think you have to assume there's an increased risk is the sense that Gadhafi is a proven terrorist, and it's wise to assume that he's got the intent at some point to do something to retaliate," Chertoff said. "But I think his capability has been much degraded… I think his capability in the U.S. is not that great."
But he cautioned that the threat should still be taken seriously.
"He's like a cornered rat," Chertoff said. "And a cornered rat will do whatever it has to do in order to defend itself or to strike back. So while right now my suspicion is they have their hands full, it's certainly something – it's prudent to consider that he may seek to divert attention or even to push back by striking someplace else."
Former Clinton administration energy secretary and ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson echoed the concern, saying he believes Americans flying in the Mediterranean "should be extra cautious" given Gadhafi's involvement in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988.
"He's very unpredictable -- he's almost a wild man right now," Richardson said. "I don't want to be an alarmist, but when a man is cornered who is desperate, who wants to cling on to power, who sees his base narrowing, who is attacked, could be capable, as he has in the past, very horrendous things."
French ambassador to the U.N. Araud said the coalition considered the risks, but says he believes Gadhafi is "prone to empty rhetoric."
"When you enter a military intervention, it's never risk-free. So we have to be careful and to consider all the dangers," Araud said.
But former Libyan ambassador Aujali cautioned that Gadhafi is not likely to back down, and will have to be forced out by a rebel forces taking over Tripoli.
"I think there is one thing in the mind of Gadhafi, that he will not step down at all. He will fight until the end," Aujali said. "He will fight. He will fight. He has no other choice. He has no shelter to go. And this is his ... attitude. He will never give up."