Transcript of John Brennan on CNN

Sunday, May 9, 2010; 11:02 AM

Candy Crowley interviews John Brennan, top White House counterterrorism adviser, on CNN's 'State of the Union,' on Sunday. A transcript of the interview follows:

CROWLEY: Joining me now is John Brennan, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism. Welcome after a really busy week, I know.

BRENNAN: Thank you, Candy.

CROWLEY: Catch us up to date on the case of Faisal Shahzad. Have you found a link between this alleged Times Square bomber and many terrorist groups?

BRENNAN: OK. First of all, I want to wish a happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there, many of them serving on the front lines in the defense of this country. Also happy Mother's Day to my wife and mother.

The case is still evolving, ongoing investigation. As you know, Mr. Shahzad is in custody. He is being cooperative as far as responding to our questions.

It looks like he was working on behalf of the Tariqi Taliban Pakistan, the TTP, that's the Pakistan Taliban. This is a group that is closely allied with Al Qaida. They have been responsible for a number of attacks in Pakistan against Pakistani targets as well as U.S. targets. But this is something that we're taking very seriously. The investigation is ongoing. And we are learning more and more every day.

CROWLEY: Well, this is scary then, because what you are telling me is that the Pakistan Taliban has moved sort of regional targets, reaching into the United States. What is our counter to that?

BRENNAN: Well, the TTP has been training with, operating with, planning attacks with Al Qaida for a number of years. It was formed several years ago. It is dedicated to the same type of agenda that Al Qaida has, which is a murderous one, to kill innocent civilians. They have operated inside of Pakistan. They have pledged to carry out attacks in other areas of the world, including the United States here.

So I think what this incident underscores is the serious threat that we face from a very determined enemy. And we have to remain very vigilant. And we have to do everything in our power to prevent them from carrying out successful attacks.

CROWLEY: So far, you know, you could say we have been lucky. We have been talking about the Christmas Day attempted bombing aboard the airline, we're talking about this Times Square. These were people who did not put together effective bombs. And so in that sense, we were lucky. Aren't you dealing now with if there is a 12-person conspiracy and they are running around the United States, you have different 12 different shots of getting some kind of information? If it is one person with a backpack or with a car with explosives in it, how can you prevent all of those from happening? You can't, can you?

BRENNAN: It is a very difficult challenge. And because of our success in degrading the capabilities of these terrorist groups overseas, preventing them from carrying out these attacks, they now are relegated to trying to do these unsophisticated attacks, showing that they have inept capabilities in training. So this is a challenge that every day, we have to remain on our guard. They are trying to find vulnerabilities in our defenses and we have been very, very successful because of the tremendous courageous and brave work that Americans are doing throughout the world.

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