December 22nd, 2010
12:15 PM ET

UK terror sweep was news to U.S. intelligence director

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/12/22/clapper.terror.arrests.interview/story.james.clapper.gi.jpg caption="James R. Clapper Jr., the U.S. director of national intelligence, was late in hearing about terror-related arrests in the UK." width=300 height=169]

CNN Wire Staff

Washington (CNN) - News of 12 terror-related arrests in Britain sped across the 24/7 cycle Monday. But the U.S. director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., somehow missed it.

In an interview that aired Tuesday but was taped on Monday, ABC's Diane Sawyer chatted with Clapper, Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano, and John Brennan, the president's assistant for homeland security and counterterrorism.

She asked Clapper about the incident.

"First of all, London," Sawyer said. "How serious is it? Any implication that it was coming here? ... Director Clapper?"

Clapper was initially bewildered and Brennan jumped in to acknowledge the arrests.

Sawyer said to Clapper she was "a little surprised" that he "didn't know about London."

He replied "I'm sorry, I didn't."

His spokeswoman, Jamie Smith, on Wednesday said Clapper hadn't been briefed about the arrests, but should have been.

"Steps have been taken to ensure that he is (briefed) in the future," she said in a statement. "The intelligence community as a whole was fully aware of this development and tracking it closely."

Smith said Clapper hadn't been "immediately briefed" because the event "didn't appear to have a homeland nexus and there was no immediate action by the DNI required."

She also said the "DNI was working throughout the day on important intelligence matters, including monitoring military and political developments on the Korean Peninsula, providing answers to questions concerning the ratification of the START nuclear treaty, and other classified issues."

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Terrorism
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Victor

    Watching his reaction sent goosbumps up my spine. Are you kidding me? Is someone sitting in their office high atop the building playing solitare on their computer? Changes I believe should be coming immediately. No excuse. Chilling.....

    December 23, 2010 at 7:18 am |
  2. Maria

    This guy Gupta, whatever is his name, and CNN should be treated for paranoia.

    CNN, again, attacks the President and his team, using conspirators as Woolsey?

    Shame on you..

    December 23, 2010 at 1:29 am |