'This Week' Transcript: John Brennan, Sens. Cornyn and Menendez


BRENNAN: The individual who has been making these bombs, whether it be the one that was given to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, or was the one that was attempted to assassinate Prince Mohammed bin Nayef of Saudi Arabia, or the ones that were found in these packages, is a very dangerous individual, clearly somebody who has a fair amount of training and experience. And we need to find him. We need to bring him to justice as soon as we can.

AMANPOUR: You say individual. Do you think it's the same individual?

BRENNAN: I think the indications are right now based on the forensics analysis that it's an individual who has been responsible for putting these devices together, the same.

AMANPOUR: Now, Qatar Airways has just announced that the package laden with explosives that ended up in Dubai actually traveled on two of its passenger planes from Yemen to Doha, and then from Doha to Dubai. And they're saying that this PETN explosive simply evaded their X-ray screening, their sniffer dogs.

BRENNAN: It's my understanding--

AMANPOUR: I mean, that's very dangerous.

BRENNAN: Well, it is. What we need to do is to take a look at the procedures that are in place, the different airports out there. Again, working very closely with them. See if there needs to be any type of adjustment of procedures or screening methods or technologies. We need to be able to detect these packages, whether they be on a cargo flight or whether they be on a passenger flight.

We've stayed ahead of a lot of these adaptations of Al Qaida. We need to continue to do so. But that's where we--

AMANPOUR: Can you? Because if it's avoiding and evading those screening mechanisms, what can you do and particularly on a passenger plane?

BRENNAN: Well, I think what we've tried to do over the years is to have layered defense, and have a multidimensional effort here. And that's why we rely heavily on our intelligence and security services and working very closely with others. We are very fortunate that our Saudi partners were able to support us in this effort.

AMANPOUR: How did that happen? How did the Saudis tip you off? How did they find out?

BRENNAN: They -- once they got the -- received the information, they contacted us immediately, and it was a race against the clock to find those packages, to neutralize them. And so we owe a debt of gratitude to the Saudis. I think their actions really saved lives here.

AMANPOUR: How did they do it? How did they find it?

BRENNAN: Well, I'm not going to go into details about how the Saudis came on to some information. But once they did, they didn't hesitate whatsoever, and they needed to handle that very quickly and pass it to us right away so that we were able to track those down. They were actually in movement, those packages. So it was I think a very good example of the cooperation that exists right now between U.S. agencies and our foreign partners.

AMANPOUR: You're saying that there needs to be better and more procedures put into place to screen these, particularly on passenger planes.

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