Eric Holder: Al Qaeda, ISIS, 'Both' Pose Threat to U.S.

Attorney General Holder says we don't yet know if AQAP or ISIS is responsible for this week's attacks in Paris, but says both threaten the U.S. and its allies.
6:59 | 01/11/15

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Transcript for Eric Holder: Al Qaeda, ISIS, 'Both' Pose Threat to U.S.
We are joined now from Paris by the U.S. Attorney general, Eric holder. Mr. Attorney general, thanks for joining us this morning. We've heard about this concern, aqap still a lethal threat. Good morning. Good morning, and we also have this new video out this morning where Coulibaly, one of the gunmen, appears to be pledging allegiance to Isis. What more do we know about which group may have been behind this attack? Well, at this point we don't have any credible information that would allow us to make a determination as to which organization was responsible. I think it's clear that both organizations pose a threat to the United States, as well as to its allies. Is there any evidence that any other sleeper cells have actually been activated? Again, I don't think that we have any information that would indicate certainly with regard to the homeland that there is any ongoing threat or any threat that was activated by what we see so tragically here in France. With regard to sleeper cells here in France, that is an investigation that's ongoing and being conducted by our French allies. And the French have said that if they can determine who is behind this, they will retaliate. Will the United States join in that retaliation? We'll certainly have to see exactly who was responsible, determine what kind of retaliation would be appropriate. We have certainly worked together quite well with our French allies in a whole variety of ways bringing people to justice who are responsible for these acts is certainly something that we would work together with our French counterparts and to the extent there is something more than that, we will certainly consider whatever it is that they would propose, but we stand in solidarity with the French. Mr. Attorney general, do you understand how these gunmen slipped through the cracks? They had been arrested, they had been on the radar of the French yet they fell off and were able to carry out this massacre. Well, you know, these are the kinds of things that we have to do an after action report and try to make determinations about how these events actually unfolded. It is something -- it's something that we have done in the United States as well as we have had to deal with these kinds of incidents. We exchange information with each other. We had a good meeting today with a number of interior ministers from around Europe. There's a meeting going on now with world leaders meeting with the president of France and I think one of the things that we have certainly gleaned from these interactions is there is a greater need for us to share information, to knock down these information-sharing barriers so that we can always stay on top of these threats. One nation cannot by itself hope to forestall the possibility of terrorism even within its own borders. The head of british intelligence, Andrew parker of mi5, has been sounding the alarm about this threat. He said Al Qaeda in Syria has been planning mass casualty attacks and added this, "My sharpest concern as director general of mi5 is the growing gap between the increasingly challenging threat and the decreasing availability of capabilities to address it." Does the U.S. Share that concern? Do we have what we need to defeat this threat? Well, I certainly share the concern that he expressed about the continued viability and the threat capability that Al Qaeda and the Arabian peninsula, especially isil growing poses to the United States. I do think that we have adequate resources to detect these kinds of threats to disrupt plots. But it will really entail a whole of government approach. It means that we have to have our intelligence community, we have to have the law enforcement community. We have our state and local counterparts, and we have to have American citizens be vigilant. We have that program of see something and say something. It will take the entirety of the American nation to try to keep us safe. But I am confident that we do have that ability. You said you're not aware of any specific credible threats against the United States right now, but you've told Pierre Thomas earlier this year that the entire threat environment is as dangerous as you've seen since 9/11. Is that still the case? Yeah, I would say that that's true, although there is not a specific credible threat I can point to, I certainly think that the environment has changed over the years. We have decimated core Al Qaeda and I think we have decreased if not eliminated their ability to do the kinds of things they did on September the 11th. On the other hand, when one looks at what happened here in France with a relatively small number of people and we look at some incidents that have happened in other parts of the world and look at what's happened in the United States we have a very small number of people without huge amounts of planning, without huge amounts of resources inflicting very severe damage. That environment is the one that I was referring to and that environment is still one that gives me great concern, especially, especially those we identify as lone wolves. The French prime minister said yesterday that France is at war with radical Islam. Is the U.S. At war with radical Islam? Well, I certainly think that we are at war with those who would commit terrorist attacks and who would corrupt the islamic faith in the way that they do to try to justify their terrorist actions. So that's who we are at war with, and we are determined to take the fight to them to prevent them from engaging these kinds of activities. Our president has indicated that we will be calling on February the 18th a summit so that we deal with better ways in which we can counter violent extremism and get to the core and come up with ways we prevent people from adhering to, being attracted to this terrorist ideology. We certainly have to work I think in a dual way. We need to confront people who engage in these acts, hold them accountable but have to also somehow come up with a counternarrative that too many people especially young men find attractive. As I said, February 18th the white house will host a summit that I announced at the meeting here today in Paris. Finally, sir, on another subject "The New York times" reported yesterday that the prosecutors have recommended bringing charges against former cia director general David petraeus for mishandling classified information. That's drawn a sharp response from senators John McCain and Lindsey graham. They say "This leak is a shameful continuation of a pattern in which leaks by unnamed sources have marred this investigation in contravention to fundamental fairness. No American deserves such callous treatment, let alone one of America's finest military leaders." Your response? Well, I can't really comment on what is an ongoing matter, but I will say that I share those concerns expressed by two senators who I have a great deal of respect for. But I also want to assure them and the American people that any investigation that is ongoing will be done in a fair and an appropriate way. So you have not received a recommendation? As I said, I don't want to really comment on what is an ongoing investigation but I will say that frequently those things that we characterize as leaks, they are frequently inaccurate, and I'll just leave it at that. Mr. Attorney general, thanks very much for your time this morning. Thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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