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Transcript of John Brennan on CNN
CROWLEY: Was Shahzad trained, do you think, or taught how to put together a bomb in Pakistan? Is it looking like that?
BRENNAN: He has traveled back and forth to Pakistan a number of times over the years. He returned to the United States in February.
And it is, again, looking like the TTP was responsible for this attempt, that he had worked with the TTP over the past number of months when he was in Pakistan. But again, this is an ongoing investigation. We are trying to learn as much as we can. Pakistani authorities have been very cooperative with us, and so we are sharing information with them. But we are determined to uncover all of the different elements of this plot and those who are responsible.
CROWLEY: Are there other Shahzads out there? Are they in the United States? I mean, this was an American citizen that -- a naturalized citizen. Are there others like him out there similarly trained with that kind of connection?
BRENNAN: I think over the last six or eight months, we have seen Najibullah Zazi, David Headley. These are individuals who have roots in that region, who travel back and forth. And I think it shows that al-Qaeda, the TTP and other groups, are trying to take advantage of individuals who may have been able to come here to the United States, in some instances like Mr. Shahzad, acquire United States citizenship, and exploit them for their agendas. This is something we have to remain on guard against that, and we are doing that every day.
CROWLEY: And how do you do that, though? This seems to me so difficult. You are talking about one person who may be an American citizen.
BRENNAN: Yes. And that's why we have this redundant security perimeters and capabilities in place. We were able to stop Mr. Shahzad before he was able to leave the country. Tremendous work by FBI, law enforcement, Homeland Security, to identify who was responsible for the attempted attack in Times Square, find that individual and stop him before he was able to leave this country. In a span of a little over two days.
So this was I think a remarkable illustration of how capable now our system is. After 9/11, there has been some tremendous work done, in the previous administration as well as this administration. And so what we have put in place is a system where we have the capabilities to stop people overseas. If they are able to come into the United States, also find them.
CROWLEY: What about Al-Awlaki? Have you been able to find any connection between Shahzad and Al-Awlaki? And what can you do about a person who uses the Internet, basically, to reach out to some of these people and, you know, tell them to go ahead and do things like this?
BRENNAN: Well the Internet now is the arena that that terrorist groups are trying to exploit to propagate their message, to reach out, to identify individuals, recruit them, contact them. And so Mr. al-Awlaki has been over the past number of years, spewing a lot of this venom internationally via the Internet. And his messages are resonating with some individuals, unfortunately, who also adhere to this distorted agenda.
CROWLEY: Well he's had exchanged e-mails with at least two of the people that we know of that have made attempts here in the U.S.
BRENNAN: We know that there are a number of people who have reached out with Mr. al-Awlaki and Mr. al-Awlaki has been in contact with him.