Top Counter-Terrorism Official: No Further Threat From Bomb or Attempted Bomber
Brian Ross reported brand new details this morning that the inside source who helped foil a bomb threat has been taken out of Yemen and is safely in Saudi Arabia. That's where I began with John Brennan, Obama's top counter-terrorism advisor.
"Was that source the would-be bomber," I asked Brennan. Notice the non-denial.
"We've been working very closely with our international partners to make sure that this device did not pose a threat to the American public. We continue to work with them, there are some very sensitive operational aspects of this that we're continuing to pursue. So the means we were able to get this device we are trying to make sure that we protect, again, the equities that are involved with it," Brennan told me on "GMA."
The FBI are examining the device, Brennan said, and although he can't confirm that there aren't other bombers at-large he said that "neither the device nor the intended user of this device pose a threat" to the United States.
"Again we are working with our partners overseas to ensure that all measures are taken related to the device as well as to any individuals that might have been designed to use it," he said.
The device is reported to be more sophisticated than the 2009 so-called "Underwear Bomber," with a better detonator and no metal. But Brennan would not definitively say if the device could have passed airport security, had it gotten to that point.
"There are a number of measures in place at airports overseas. We work with our partners. They continually change those measures to stay abreast of the latest developments that we have been able to uncover in terms of the types of techniques and tactics used by terrorists groups," Brennan said.
People flying should not be concerned, he said. Instead, in light of the foiled attack, Americans should be confident that our intelligence is working.
"We don't want to be complacent, feeling as though our security measures are as strong as they could be. We continue to adapt and evolve them. Again this IED was a threat from the stand point of the design…so now we are trying to make sure we are taking the measures that we need to prevent any other type of IED similarly constructed from getting thru security procedures."
Finally I asked Brennan, who I interviewed on "This Week" a few days prior to the anniversary of Osama Bin Laden's death, to clarify a statement he made. He told me that "At this time we don't see any active plot that is underway," when it now seems that there was a plot.
"We had confidence that we had control, that that IED was not a threat, was not an active threat at that time," Brennan told me today. "We have no intelligence that indicates that that IED was going to be used in an attack to coincide with the Bin Laden anniversary. So we were confident that that did not pose a threat and we were unaware of any other threat at that time."