The most recent al-Qaeda terror threat could undermine the efforts of Republicans who hope to refocus their party on privacy and civil liberties rather than national security, observers say. While GOP libertarians have promised to keep pressing for better oversight over the National Security Agency and increased privacy protections, the latest threat makes that task more difficult. "I think it's going to calm down some of the stridency. ... [W]hat it is going to do is show the public how critical the NSA surveillance is," says Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y.

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