Exclusive – Vice President Biden: Rome Bombings a ‘Random Pattern,’ Don’t Seem to Be al Qaeda

By Kate McCarthy

Dec 23, 2010 6:31pm

The small package bombs that exploded at two embassies in Rome today don’t appear to have the markings of an al Qaeda attack, the vice president told me this afternoon.

“I’m always cautioned not to speculate about this.  But, you know, it seems like a random pattern for an al Qaeda attack.  But that’s– we actually don’t have any hard data yet as to the origin,” Vice President Joe Biden said in an exclusive interview.

The Chilean and Swiss embassies were hit earlier today wounding two people, but Biden said the explosions have not impacted the U.S. embassy in Rome.

The United States has been on high alert this holiday season nearly a year after the so-called “underwear bomber” attempted to blow up a Detroit bound plane on Christmas Day.

The White House asked Americans to be increasingly aware and in an interview with my colleague Pierre Thomas this week Attorney General Eric Holder said we “have to be prepared for potentially bad news.”

But despite the warnings Biden urged everyone to go about their daily lives and not let the increased threats deter them.

“We know that al Qaeda and affiliates are out there trying their best to figure out how to do damage in the homeland,” he told me. “But I think that it should be made clear to the American people that they should basically go about their business.  It’s not as though there is some massive strike we think is imminent.” 

It would be much more difficult for the “underwear bomber” to get through today than it was last year, Biden said, because our security has improved and therefore the potential scale and consequences of an attack are reduced.

“They’re relentless and pray god we’ll be able to intercept every attempt…But, again, I just think — I don’t want people walking away from this program thinking that, ‘Oh my god.  I’d better fundamentally change how I’m going to go about my business over this holiday season,’’ he said.

The vice president and I spoke about a lot more including his role in the Obama White House, when he really thinks our troops will be out of Afghanistan and what he hopes to find under the Christmas tree this year. All that will air on “GMA” tomorrow morning at 7am.

George Stephanopoulos

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