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

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JOHN BRENNAN: I wouldn't say it was a failure to coordinate. I think what we identified were that there were deficiencies in the system that we need to improve. And it's a constant process of improvement. We try to make sure it's going to be evolutionary, that we add additional capabilities. We don't want to build unnecessary redundancies into the system. No, we want to be able to coordinate very effectively among all these different departments and agencies. But it is complex. And it's not just the United States. Other governments as well, overseas, are having the same challenge. And so, we're trying to put an international architecture. Again-- information moves at the speed of light. So, we need to be able to take steps to prevent terrorist attack, as terrorists are moving. And so, I do think it is a testament to the work that has been in the intelligence, homeland security, and national security communities that we've been so successful as we've been over the last decade.

DIANE SAWYER: Let me--

JANET NAPOLITANO: Might I-- one last point I-- I sort of want to-- part of your interview. But-- the connecting the dots analogy in the intel world is-- is really not the right analogy to use. There is so much information that comes in from so many forces-- places now, sources-- that— it's a cloud of information. And what you need to be able to do analytically is-- is discern patterns and so forth in that cloud. Tactics, behaviors-- other indicators that something is being planned that's really serious and credible, and act on that. So, connecting this dot to this dot, that is-- that is really not the way-- it works right now.

DIANE SAWYER: And as-- as of today, as we head into the Christmas holiday, what is the level of activity you see, the chatter you hear, the-- the alert? Whatever name you put on it. And we'll get out of the color coding system there. Whatever name you put on it. What is the level of alert we are on today?

JANET NAPOLITANO: Well-- I would say that-- there is a lot of chatter-- in the intel world.

DIANE SAWYER: Increasing right now over the holidays?

JANET NAPOLITANO: Well, that references the holidays. And so-- we have a whole-- whole program of things we have put in place for the holidays. And as you might imagine, it includes some extra staffing at places. Extra resources-- extra information or additional information being provided, out to the countries. We know that things have already happened in-- in Europe, and we're watching that very closely as well. But yes, there is-- there is increased chatter in the system. And there are increased efforts on-- undertaken now by the-- homeland security.

DIANE SAWYER: But no concrete indications of a planned attack?

JANET NAPOLITANO: Nothing that is specific and credible in that sense. So, a-- again, it makes it-- it's one of those things where we've got a cloud-- but we don't have something specific from that cloud, but that means we all have to be leaning forward. And all means we have to be-- really at the top of our game. And we have literally thousands of people in the-- in the security community at the federal and state and local level who are participating in this.

DIANE SAWYER: Will you all be staying here over this holiday?

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