Condoleezza Rice: US safer than before 9/11, even after Afghanistan withdrawal

Condoleezza Rice: US safer than before 9/11, even after Afghanistan withdrawal
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Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Sunday that the U.S. is safer than it was before the Sept. 11 attacks, despite her concerns about America losing its "eyes and ears" in Afghanistan following President BidenJoe BidenTrump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race On The Money: Democrats get to the hard part Health Care — GOP attorneys general warn of legal battle over Biden's vaccine mandate MORE's military withdrawal last month. 

During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Rice told host Dana BashDana BashHouse is no easy road for Biden, Democrats on .5T package Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Manchin: key energy provision of spending package 'makes no sense' This week: Democrats kick off chaotic fall with Biden's agenda at stake MORE that the creation of the Homeland Security Department and the National Counterterrorism Center helped protect the U.S. from future attacks. 

Rice also trumpeted the dismantling of the terrorist organization al Qaeda, which carried out the 9/11 attacks.

"Denying them the territory of Afghanistan meant that they couldn't train and they couldn't operate in the way that they did on that day," she said. 

But Rice added that she would separate the successes of the past 20 years from the latest decision to end U.S. on-the-ground involvement in the country. 

“The part that doesn't make me feel very comforted is that we have lost the eyes and ears on the ground in Afghanistan that helped us to know where the terrorists were, that allowed us to run the kinds of operations that you sometimes have to run against terrorists,” she said. 

Even so, she said the U.S. is still safer than it was before the 9/11 attacks. 

“We have lost Bagram and other airfields that were able to allow us to run certain — even drone operations out of them,” Rice told Bash. “And so I'd be the first to say we have lost some of the capabilities, but that shouldn't diminish the capabilities that we still have. We do — we are still safer. I hope we can remain that safe into the future.” 

Rice’s comments come a day after the U.S. commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, which took the lives of more than 3,000 Americans.