ABC News Diane Sawyer Interview Transcript/Video: Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Didn’t Know About Arrests of 12 Terror Suspect in London

Following is a video showing an interview with ABC News Anchor Diane Sawyer and top national security officials Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, Chief Counterterrorism Advisor John Brennan, and Secretary of Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. Also following is a transcript of the context when Director James R. Clapper appears to stumble on a question posed by Diane Sawyer regarding an arrest of twelve suspected terrorists.

SAWYER: But we wondered. How did they stay in control with so much information coming in every day

For instance, the afternoon of our interview, the day’s news had been filled with the terror arrests– twelve people in London just that morning

But when we asked the Director of Intelligence: London, How serious is it, any implication that it was coming here.? Any of the things that they have seen were coming here?

[PAUSE, Clapper looks puzzled, stumped]

SAWYER: Dr. Clapper?

BRENNAN: You read the arrests of the 12 individuals by the British this morning


BRENNAN: … this is something that the British informed us about early this morning that it was taking place.

SAWYER: Later in the interview …I came back to the director … did he really not know? I was a little surprise you didn’t know about London, Director Clapper.

CLAPPER: Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t.

BRENNAN: You referenced London, but you didn’t about the arrests.

SAWYER: Before we left, a question for the three people standing sentry over American security this Christmas. ‘You all sleep well at night?’

CLAPPER: When we get to sleep, yes we do.

NAPOLITANO: I call it sleeping fast. We sleep fast.

You’re always trying to anticipate what the next threat is going to be. what we need to do. One of the things that the president has said to all of us, is to make sure we take every step we can when we have indications that there might be a thereat to the American people in the Homeland or abroad. It’s one of the things that we each go home at night we want to make sure that we’ve done all that we can do to identify these threats and to stop them.

A statement released from the national intelligence director’s office after the interview and the following day read that Sawyer’s question was ambiguous, and that the director’s knowledge of the threat streams in Europe — quote is ‘profound and multi-dimensional.’

Full interview (left-to-right)
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper
Chief Counterterrorism Advisor John Brennan
Secretary of Department of Homeland Security
Janet Napolitano