We are about half-way to a generation since 9/11, meaning about twelve more years until the same level of undergraduate affection for al Qaeda as the Commmunists enjoyed in 1966 (a generation since the beginning of the Cold War. Presumably al Qaeda’s command is trying to survive as a federated operational entity until this time.
Also presumably, al Qaeda should be looking at ways to stress the federal government while attempting to radicalize some percentage (10% 20%) of non-Muslim fellow travelers within the US. If they are smart about this, they would begin targeting TSA agents and attempt to align their rhetoric with the widespread revulsion the American literatti feels toward the TSA. For instance, our basic human rights to dignity in attempting to live our religion in peace is threatened by some elements of the US government, just as Americans’ own basic human rights to dignity with respect to not being sexually assaulted during travel is also threatened by some elements of the US government.
Al Qaeda has until now lacked the sort of ‘fifth column’ friends that the Soviets had in American Marxists. If they are smart, they will be looking to change that.