'This Week' Transcript: Napolitano, Gibbs, McConnell

Transcript: "This Week" with Janet Napolitano, Robert Gibbs, Mitch McConnell

ByABC News
December 20, 2009, 6:03 AM

Dec. 27, 2009 — -- JAKE TAPPER, GUEST HOST: Good morning and welcome to THIS WEEK.


TAPPER (voice-over): Terror in the skies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This, if nothing else, is a wake-up call.

TAPPER: How did the attempted airline bomber slip through security? We'll ask the top cabinet official in charge of homeland security, Janet Napolitano.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The patient protection and affordable care act is passed.

TAPPER: Finish line.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Let's make 2010 the year we finally reform health care.

TAPPER: What hurdles remain for Democrats to arrive at a final health care bill? Can Republicans still stop it? Those questions for our headliners, the president press secretary, Robert Gibbs, and the top Republican leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, only on THIS WEEK.

Plus, more debate and analysis and predictions for 2010 with our "Roundtable.": Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman; former Bush strategist Matthew Dowd; David Brooks of The New York Times; and Ruth Marcus from The Washington Post.

And as always, "The Sunday Funnies."

JAY LENO, HOST, "THE JAY LENO SHOW": Meteorologists are calling this a record blizzard, which makes sense if you think about it. I mean, Republicans always said the Senate would pass health care when hell freezes over. And apparently…


LENO: Apparently it has.

ANNOUNCER: From the heart of the nation's capital, THIS WEEK WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, live from the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue, filling in this morning, ABC News senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper.


TAPPER: Good morning.

We're learning more about the 23-year-old Nigerian man the U.S. government has charged with trying to blow up that Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas Day. He told investigators that the explosive material had been sown into his underwear and his name was known to U.S. officials but it never made it onto a no-fly list. Now air travelers will face stepped-up security measures

Joining us this morning from San Francisco, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Madam Secretary, thanks for joining us.


TAPPER: I want to get your reaction to a comment from the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who said in a statement: "I am troubled by several aspects of this case, including how the suspect escaped the attention of the State Department and law enforcers when his father apparently reported concerns about his son's extremist behavior to the U.S. embassy in Lagos, how the suspect managed to retain a U.S. visa after such complaints, and why he was not recognized as someone who reportedly was named in the terrorist database."

Madam Secretary, how do you answer Senator Lieberman's questions?

NAPOLITANO: Well, I think, first of all, we are investigating, as always, going backwards to see what happened and when, who knew what and when. But here -- I think it's important for the public to know, there are different types of databases.

And there were simply, throughout the law enforcement community, never information that would put this individual on a no-fly list or a selectee list. So that's number one.

Number two, I think the important thing to recognize here is that once this incident occurred, everything happened that should have. The passengers reacted correctly, the crew reacted correctly, within an hour to 90 minutes, all 128 flights in the air had been notified. And those flights already had taken mitigation measures on the off-chance that there was somebody else also flying with some sort of destructive intent.

So the system has worked really very, very smoothly over the course of the past several days.

TAPPER: Well, let me ask you a question about intelligence-sharing. When the suspect's father went to the U.S. embassy in Nigeria and said, I'm worried because my son is displaying extremist religious views, how was that information shared with other parts of the U.S. government, or did it just stay at that U.S. embassy?

NAPOLITANO: Well, again, we are going to go back and really do a minute-by-minute, day-by-day scrub of that sort of thing. But when he presented himself to fly, he was on a tide (ph) list. What a tide list simply says is, his name had come up somewhere somehow.