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Brennan Says White House Takes Terror Threat 'Very Seriously' Brennan Says White House Takes Terror Threat 'Very Seriously' Brennan Says White House Takes Terror Threat 'Very Seriously' Brennan Says White House ...

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Homepage / Sunday Show Blog

Brennan Says White House Takes Terror Threat 'Very Seriously'

John Brennan, assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

photo of Chris Strohm
September 11, 2011

11:15. John Brennan Discusses Terror Threat

As the nation marks the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks on Sunday, White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan said that the federal government is taking the threat of car bombs being set off in New York City or Washington “very seriously” and that counterterror officials are working non-stop to determine “if something is out there.”

Brennan offered no new details about the potential plot, which U.S. officials have described as being based on credible but uncorroborated information that al-Qaida may be plotting an attack to mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

“We know that it is specific, related to both Washington and New York, trying to carry out some type of attack here. It is credible in terms of the source that it comes from. And what we’re trying to do is put the pieces together,” Brennan said on Fox News Sunday.

Speaking on CBS’ Face the Nation, Brennan said officials are seeking information to corroborate reports that up to three individuals came into the country planning the attack.

“We do have some information that we’re trying to track down,” Brennan said. “None of this is confirmed at this point. But we are doing everything possible to see if we can find any additional information that would give us a lead about where these individuals, if they do exist and if they are planning to carry out an attack here in the states, might be residing right now.”

Brennan said some elements of the plot “are consistent” with what the U.S. knows about al-Qaida’s planning.

“We know that we acquired material from the bin Laden compound in Pakistan,” Brennan said. “He was looking at the 9/11 anniversary as a possible time to carry out an attack. There are elements of this report that are consistent with our knowledge of al-Qaida, but also there are things here that are new and we are tracking down.”

10:40. McCain, Feinstein Argue Against Complacency in War on Terror

 

Senate Armed Services ranking member John McCain, R-Ariz., and Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., told Fox News Sunday they believe U.S. counterterrorism efforts over the last decade have diminished the capabilities of al-Qaida since 9/11, but they cautioned against complacency.

“I think we have come a long way since then, and I think we can be proud of the fact that there hasn’t been another attack on America,” McCain said.

McCain said he does not believe the United States will launch another war in the Middle East or South Asia. “Frankly, I don’t think you’re going to see the United States of America in another war in that part of the world,” he said. “I don’t think American public opinion would stand for it.”

“I do believe that we have developed new ways of countering this threat,” he added, alluding to the use of special forces and armed drones to kill suspected terrorists. He said he expects terrorist threats from Yemen and Somalia to persist.

But McCain criticized the Obama administration for planning to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.

Feinstein said she believes terrorists in Yemen will continue trying to attack the United States. The group al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula has already tried to carry out attacks, including a failed attempt to mail bombs disguised as printers to the United States late last year. She also said she worries that Iran is moving to dominate northern Iraq, and that new terrorist groups are beginning to have success in Iraq.

“I wish I could say it was over. I wish I could say America doesn’t have to fear any attack. But I don’t think I can," Feinstein added. "I think we have to remain vigilant. We have to complete our mission in Afghanistan and Iraq."

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