[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."
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with