John Brennan Talks Homeland Security
White House counterterrorism adviser on 'Fox News Sunday'
- Duration 9:45
- Date Sep 14, 2011
White House counterterrorism adviser on 'Fox News Sunday'
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Has now from the White House briefing room is the president's top counterterrorism.
Advisor John -- mr.
-- welcome back to FOX News Sunday.
-- thank you Chris and good morning let's pick up on what Ed just mentioned what can you tell us about this possible al-Qaeda plot to attack the US homeland again on this tenth anniversary.
Well what I can say is that we're still staying on top of all information that is coming in related to this possible threat.
The president convened his national security team yesterday in the White House situation room we had another meeting this morning at 8 o'clock -- all departments and agencies.
So that we could go over that information and make sure that all elections are being taken.
So what we're doing is we're making sure that we can assure the American public.
That if there's something out there we will do our best to try to thwart any attack that might be planned.
At this point.
Do you believe it's real do you have solid information that in fact three people maybe two of them American citizens or American passports.
Have come into this country that they're planning.
To copy is a car bomb in either Washington or.
Or New York City how how hard as the -- well.
We know that it is specific.
Related to both Washington New York trying to carry out some type of attack here.
Is credible in terms of -- source that it comes from and what we're trying to do is to put the pieces together.
We know that al-Qaeda has been trying for many years to carry an attack here on our homeland we know that they've tried to carry out major attacks similar to -- 9/11.
Type of attack that took place ten years ago.
But we also know that they're not trying other types of attacks to be smaller attacks using car bombs or other types of things so.
We are stuck trying to be as vigilant as possible we're trying to.
And -- -- were able to tap into all of those databases that we have to -- the bits and pieces of patient coming in but we are taking this very seriously.
-- that was the last -- I was gonna ask -- in this regard you are taking it seriously you are treating this as we speak today as if this is a real plot.
I think we have an obligation to the American people I think we have an obligation to.
The families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks to do everything possible that we can.
To see what it is that might be out there and that is facing American public right now.
The president expects those of us and when this information first came -- He told us very clearly I want everything to be done.
To find out whether or not this information from these sources has any credibility to it.
We've been doing that we've been working very closely with our state and local partners.
Bulletins have gone out we had a number of individuals who have called in about suspicious vehicles that is something that we want people to do.
The see something say something campaign is has been very effective.
So this is a nationwide effort will want to make sure that we have.
The ability to detect something before.
An attack comes off.
Let's take a bigger look at mr.
-- you say -- This country is much safer now than it was ten years ago both from the threat side in terms of taking out our enemy.
And also from the vulnerability side in terms of plugging -- gaps in Homeland Security.
-- -- -- -- Well -- up got to ranks in terms of leadership.
Operatives as well as their ability to train and deploy individuals to carry out attacks.
Has been seriously degraded by the constant efforts that we have been undertaking.
Over the past decade we're doing a lot of this with our partners overseas.
So their ability to carry -- attack launch it from the areas of Pakistan over.
And in that area.
Has been seriously undermined at the same time we've learned a lot of lessons from the 9/11 attack as well as other attempted attacks in the -- years.
We're trying to do is to address any vulnerabilities might that might be out there were trying to enhance our security measures and and the procedures that we have at our airports and other ports of entry.
The watch listing system is working very well.
And as well as the integration of effort throughout the country again it has to be the federal government working with the state and local officials local law enforcement.
So that we can react very quickly if anything comes in that suggests that as part of the terrorist.
Let's talk about ongoing threats mister Brandon first of all what it how concerned do you what does the threat.
In Libya that Qaddafi is cache of of shoulder mounted anti aircraft.
Missiles the so called man pads or chemical weapons ingredients of that could fall into the hands of terrorists how serious a threat -- All working very closely with -- authorities.
That are in Tripoli and other areas the country.
So that we can work with them and help them to.
Insure that the weapons that are available in the country to not -- -- the hands of terrorists.
There are concerns about -- heads the -- the fire missiles that can be used against aircraft.
And there were large number of these in the living -- the in the -- So we're working with them to find out where they are make sure they don't fall into the hands of terrorists.
But this is an ongoing effort to wanted to continue to work very closely with them as well as.
With our other partners -- let me ask you let me follow up -- -- -- -- because the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Mike Rogers says that we should have US.
Forces -- -- about a big army but we should have US personnel on the ground to secure.
The man -- the shoulder of fired antiaircraft missiles and also -- coupled with.
Michael weapons ingredients.
What -- happen in -- over the past several months of the Libyan people rising up against authoritarian leader.
And they have done this job.
We are working with them as well as with our other allies and partners overseas.
We will -- the assistance that we need to to the Libyans.
Officials so that they can.
Find those weapons and bring them under their control.
The president has been very clear that we are committed to do what we can to support the Libyan authorities.
And so what we're going to do is continue to monitor the situation very closely provided information and intelligence that they need so they can find these weapons.
So we're looking at it again -- very intensely.
What about Yemen is the civil war and that country impeding our ability to -- go after what are the most active.
Branches about cut.
There are a number of problems that the Yemeni government faces there's a focal crisis right now as far as the different opposition groups that want change and rightly want change within Yemeni political system.
There is a effort on the part of -- kind of mid peninsula particularly in the south of the country.
Moving against -- Yemeni cities and towns of -- military that has been progress that the Yemeni army has made recently against al-Qaeda.
We are working very closely with Yemeni authorities.
So that we can take -- appropriate actions to support their counterterrorism efforts.
This is something that would have to stay on top of al-Qaeda we've been slow is it dangerous organization is a danger to the company's and it's danger to us as well.
I wanna look at this whole another aspect.
Despite the president's.
Best efforts much of the counterterrorism architecture legal structure.
There was put in place by President Bush.
Remains in place today one -- a mile -- indefinite detention military commissions.
Doesn't turn out that some of that was -- necessary.
In fighting the war on terror than President Obama or at least candidate Obama fought.
Well there -- certain aspects and foundations of our counterterrorism program has been in place spot eleventh that has continued for the last administration to this administration.
There also are some significant differences that we are trying to pursue such as the closure of Guantanamo transferring a number of those individuals abroad as well as prosecuting them.
The reform military commissions or something that we move that the president felt very strongly about we have a number of tools at our disposal.
We are committed to making sure that we do.
Proceed on the counterterrorism front and adherence.
And do with the hearings to the law as well as consistent with the values that I think the president has articulated numerous times.
So again catchers -- professionals throughout the US government.
-- agencies see this is a mission that.
Proceeds from one administration to another.
There are elements of our policy.
That have some distinctions -- the last one I think what today it's a special day to note.
Is just how committed -- strong and resilient this country has been against the terrorist threat and what we've been able to accomplish over the past ten years.
And finally mr.
brown and we've got about a minute left I've been asking most of my guest today and I want to ask you.
What are your thoughts on this tenth anniversary what -- you hope Americans will focus -- Well first and foremost -- the day of remembrance and reflection of all those victims.
Who so tragically were taken.
On that -- ten years ago.
Our thoughts and prayers are with them and also with all the individuals.
Who had family friends and colleagues who were killed.
After ten years.
We had at our meeting this morning and so many people in the US government have a working this issue very heart of the last decade.
They have been committed to do what they can't protect their fellow Americans.
And I think the American people should feel a great sense of pride as well as accomplishment.
Terms of what this country has been able to do.
As tribute and honor.
Of those brave Americans and others.
A decade ago.
Brennan were gonna have to leave it there we want to thank you for joining us today we also want to thank you sir for your service to our country this last decade.