'This Week' Transcript: John Brennan, Reps. Hoekstra, Harman, Sens. Collins, Lieberman

This Week:Brennan, Hoekstra, Collins, Lieberman, Harman

TERRY MORAN, GUEST HOST: And we begin with the man who is leading the president's review of the intelligence failures that led to the Christmas Day attempted bombing of Flight 253, the president's top counterterrorism official, Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan.

Good morning, thanks for being with us.


MORAN: Well, this morning there is news out of Yemen that the United States embassy has been closed for security reasons and the British embassy closed as well. What can you tell us about the intelligence? What is it showing about the new threats to U.S. interests there?

BRENNAN: Well, I think it underscores the threat that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula poses to U.S. interests. I spoke with our ambassador in Sana'a, Steve Seche, early this morning and last night, looked at the intelligence that is available as far as the plans for al Qaeda to carry out attacks in Sana'a, possibly against our embassy, possibly against U.S. personnel.

Decided it was the prudent thing to do to shut the embassy. But we're working very closely with the Yemeni authorities to address the threat that is out there. But again, it just demonstrates that al Qaeda is determined to carry out these attacks and we're determined to thwart those attacks.

MORAN: There is a live threat, there is an active threat?

BRENNAN: There is. Al Qaeda has several hundred members, in fact, in Yemen, and they've grown in strength. That's why from the very first day of this administration, we've been focused on Yemen. I've traveled out to Yemen twice, talked with President Saleh, in fact, just this past week. We're continuing this dialogue. We've provided equipment, training. We're cooperating very closely.

So this is something that we've known about for a while. We're determined to destroy al Qaeda, whether it's in Pakistan, Afghanistan, or in Yemen. And we will get there.

MORAN: And there is a report that the British and the United States are now setting up a counterterrorism police force in Yemen. The efforts that you've described, counterterrorism police force, is this evidence that this is a new front, and does it require more American boots on the ground in Yemen?

BRENNAN: Well, we've been investing in Yemen for many, many months now. And we're working very closely not just with the Yemenis, but with our international partners, with the British, with the Saudis, and others, to make sure that we provide the Yemeni government the wherewithal to carry out this fight against al Qaeda.

So it's not a new front. It's one that we've known about. It's one that we've been able to make tremendous, I think, progress and gains. Just this past month, we and the Yemenis were able to identify the location of some of these al Qaeda operatives and commanders and leaders, successful strikes that were carried out, and there were several of the al Qaeda members, operatives and the senior leaders who are no longer with us today as a result of those actions.

MORAN: OK. Let's turn to Flight 253, the failed terror attack on Christmas Day. The president now has reports from the CIA, Department of Homeland Security, other agencies, and the basic questions the American people have are pretty straightforward, who dropped the ball here? Where did the system fail?

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