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

We are acting preemptively now. We have an increasing presence there on the ground. We are supporting the Yemeni military and security forces. We've carried out some successful raids in the last couple of weeks against Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

What I meant to say was that in part because we have put so much pressure on Al Qaida in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Waziristan, they're moving to Yemen. And it's a big country, very sparsely populated, a government facing two different uprisings in different parts of the country. This is fertile ground for this -- this group to -- to fester in.

There have been three successful evasions of America's homeland defenses in the last year, the individual in Little Rock who walked in and shot a U.S. Army recruiter, Hasan at Fort Hood, and now Abdulmutallab in -- in Detroit, in the airplane. Every one of those three is connected in one way or another to Yemen, so we've got to focus there preemptively, and I'm confident we will.

MORAN: Well, let -- let's turn to Abdulmutallab and the Christmas Day terror attack and the administration's response. And let me ask you just straight up: Do you have confidence that Janet Napolitano, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, is up to the job, can do this job?

COLLINS: I do, but I will say that her initial comments were bizarre and inappropriate. It baffled me that she said that the system worked very, very smoothly, when clearly it did not. It also surprised me when she implied that there was not information to indicate that this individual posed a threat when there was information.

Nevertheless, I believe that Secretary Napolitano is working very hard and that she will cooperate with our efforts to ensure that these breaches in our defenses cannot happen again.

MORAN: Is she the right person for the job?

LIEBERMAN: Yes, she -- she came to the job with tremendous experience, federal prosecutor, state attorney general, governor. She's done a good job. I agree with Senator Collins, and I'm sure Secretary Napolitano agrees with us, too. The choice of words -- some of the choice of words last Sunday were subject to misunderstanding, and they've been badly misunderstood.

Senator Collins and I are beginning a series of hearings when Congress and the Senate comes back into session in a couple of weeks to look not just at the Detroit bombing attempt, but at where we are five years after the 9/11 Commission reforms went into effect, seven years after the Department of Homeland Security went into effect. We're going to conduct these in the same bipartisan way that we've done everything in our committee.

We're not out to protect anybody or attack anybody. We're out to fix what went wrong on December 25th and to note that, in this year, last year, 2009, our homeland -- there were -- there were more than a dozen attempts to attack our homeland, and three of them broke through. The -- the Detroit bombing could have been the most devastating terrorist attack on the U.S. since 9/11 if the -- the -- the explosive had gone off.

So it's time to take a fresh, nonpartisan look, not to knock down the Department of Homeland Security or the 9/11 reforms, but, frankly, to fix and build them up so we learn from our mistakes and we're more secure in the future.

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