Transcript: Top Security Officials Talk With Diane Sawyer About the Nation's Safety


DIANE SAWYER: And to those who want to feel perfectly safe?

JANET NAPOLITANO: Look, I say-- when I sit-- with my family-- that-- we are-- relentless in the sense of doing everything we can possibly think of do-- to keep the American people safe. They should live in a-- state of alertness, not a state of alarm. They are part of the solution-- to this effort. That we all have a role to play.

DIANE SAWYER: And this is 2010, 2011, and we have to be a different kind of--

JANET NAPOLITANO: We have to be a country that-- understands and I-- I think our citizenry do. But understand that-- terrorist threat is out there. It's-- it's ever changing. It's ever evolving. But we're-- a very determined and tough country. And-- we're going to do everything possible to prevent and should something-- actually get through-- our systems, we will be resilient, and we will get-- get after it.

JAMES CLAPPER: I agree. I-- I-- I don't know that any government-- at any point in our history could absolutely positively guarantee absolute safety and security. We always have threats to contend with. We have another form of it now. And-- we're doing everything we can to-- to thwart that threat and to make people safe and secure.

JOHN BRENNAN: And they're very brave men and women who are putting their lives on the line right now in places like Afghanistan, to protect our lives. And-- what we're doing here in the United States in some respects pale by comparison in terms of what they're doing out there. And so, I think-- the people in the United States should feel good that-- the Americans throughout the world are doing their best to-- protect-- their fellow Americans from harm.

DIANE SAWYER: Who of you has to call the President in the middle of the night if something happens?

JANET NAPOLITANO: I would say probably the homeland security advisor, usually.

JOHN BRENNAN: I-- you know, what we do is work very closely and collaboratively, and we make determinations about sort of when people should be notified of things. The President wants to stay very much in touch. He wants to be aware of what's going on. And so, if there's something that as a team-- and I think that's one of the things that we really feel good about. And it's a team of people working. Whether it be at the senior level, or the working level. They really have pulled together, because this is a-- shared-- goal, and objective. And the President-- I like to think that the President counts on his team to do the very best, and to bring the good news and the bad news to him. And-- we all have had the opportunity to-- to--

JANET NAPOLITANO: We've all had the opportunity to share the good news and the bad news.

DIANE SAWYER: And I'm really surprised you didn't know about London.

JAMES CLAPPER: Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't.

JOHN BRENNAN: Well, you referenced London, but you didn't talk about the arrests.

DIANE SAWYER: The arrests. That's true. We have to put you on the ABC newsletter.

JAMES CLAPPER: Oh, good, I'll read it.

DIANE SAWYER: So, you feel good, this is a good holiday?

JANET NAPOLITANO: I feel that we have-- ramped up our efforts. We are-- leaning forward into it. And our goal is for the American people to have a safe and happy holiday season.

DIANE SAWYER: Thank you very much. Thank you all for your views.


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