Speaking on conditions of anonymity, four administration officials have commented that they are actively seeking a target and readying strike forces and drones as retribution for the Sept 11 attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi. As AP reports, if the administration does find a target, officials say it still has to weigh whether the short-term payoff of exacting retribution on al-Qaida is worth the risk that such strikes could elevate the group's profile in the region, alienate governments the U.S. needs to fight the group in the future and do little to slow the growing terror threat in North Africa. The efforts show the tension of the White House's need to demonstrate it is responding forcefully to al-Qaida, balanced against its long-term plans to develop relationships and trust with local governments and build a permanent U.S. counterterrorist network in the region. The verbal rhetoric is escalating from Biden's last year comment that "if you do harm to America, we will track you to the gates of hell if need be." to "If America hits us, I promise you that we will multiply the Sept. 11 attack by 10," said Oumar Ould Hamaha, a spokesman for the Islamists in northern Mali. U.S. officials say covert action is more likely.