The official, John Brennan, said the realization that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's "aspirations" to attack the United States had become a real and nearly successful plot was his biggest surprise in reviewing intelligence failures surrounding the event.
Washington (CNN) - Former Vice President Dick Cheney either "willfully mischaracterized" President Barack Obama's terrorism policies or is "ignorant of the facts," Obama's anti-terrorism czar said Sunday.
In comments on "FOX News Sunday" and NBC's "Meet the Press," John Brennan - the deputy national security adviser who is Obama's assistant on homeland security and counterterrorism - said partisan sniping diverts attention from the terrorists trying to harm the country.
Last week, Cheney said Obama had made the nation less safe by pretending there was no war against terrorists. Cheney, who spoke after the failed Christmas Day terrorist bombing of a U.S. airliner, was a main driver of the previous administration's controversial anti-terrorism policies.
Obama has ended or scaled back some of those policies, and Brennan said Sunday that critics were wrong to question the president's resolve.
"It's disappointing to me that either the vice president and others have willfully mischaracterized President Obama's position and actions, or they're just ignorant of the facts," Brennan said on the FOX program.
Washington (CNN) - The United States still intends to send some Yemeni detainees at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, facility back to Yemen despite a terrorist threat there, President Barack Obama's terrorism czar said Sunday.
John Brennan, the assistant to the president for homeland security and counter-terrorism, said on CNN's "State of the Union" that the failed Christmas Day terror attack on a U.S. airliner doesn't change the plan to close the Guantanamo facility.
On Saturday, Obama linked the airline bombing suspect to an al Qaeda affiliate based in Yemen.
Brennan called the failed attack on a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam, Netherlands, to Detroit, Michigan a "unique incident" that won't affect the process of closing the Guantanamo facility.
"We are making sure that we don't do anything that's going to put Americans at risk," Brennan said.
John Brennan, the assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, said on CNN's "State of the Union" that the security breakdown in the failed bombing of the Northwest Airlines flight was different from the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.
"It's not like 9/11," Brennan said, adding that the "system didn't work as it should have" due to "lapses" and "human error."
"There wasn't an effort to try to conceal information," he said, referring to the well-chronicled competition and turf wars among security agencies prior to the 2001 attacks, which was later blamed for the failure to prevent them.
"There is no smoking gun piece of intelligence out there," Brennan said of the failed Christmas bombing, allegedly planned by a Nigerian man who boarded the flight from Amsterdam, Netherlands, to Detroit, Michigan, with explosives in his underwear.