December 29th, 2010
04:47 PM ET
HONOLULU, Hawaii (CNN) - Every day before 8 a.m. Hawaiian time, President Obama gets an extensive briefing about all of the national security threats that have been bubbling around the world overnight while he's been vacationing.
An intelligence official heads over to Obama's vacation rental to deliver the Presidential Daily Brief, the very same classified briefing he receives every day back at the White House, and then a series of White House staffers provide him with extra information throughout the day via secure telephone, video and email lines.
"There's the PDB plus anything else the president needs to know about," Ben Rhodes, a senior National Security Council staffer who is traveling with Obama here in Hawaii, said in an interview. It didn't quite go that smoothly last Christmas here in Hawaii.
White House aides confirmed a New York Times report that Obama was peeved in late 2009 when he had a hard time connecting securely with his top counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, after a Nigerian national tried to launch a Christmas Day terror attack on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.
As a result, Brennan made sure that for this trip to Hawaii Obama got an upgrade to his communications equipment at the beach house his family rents in Kailua, a tiny town on the eastern side of Oahu about a 30-minute drive from Waikiki Beach.
December 22nd, 2010
10:39 AM ET
John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, responds to criticism of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper unaware of UK terror plot during television interview
"Jim Clapper, is I think, the consummate DNI. He was working on developments on the Korean peninsula in terms of political and military developments. He was focused on trying to provide support to the Congress as far as the START treaty deliberations were concerned. He was engaged in a variety of classified matters.
Should he have been briefed by his staff on those arrests? Yes. And I know there was breathless attention by the media about these arrests and it was constantly on the news networks. I am glad that Jim Clapper is not sitting in front of the TV 24 hours a day and monitoring what is coming out of the media. What he is doing is focusing on those intelligence issues that the president expects him to focus on and to make sure that we don't have conflict in different parts of the world. He continues to focus on those and his not being briefed yesterday afternoon – this is something they've acknowledged that he should have been briefed on. They have taken steps to correct that now and if that happens again I am sure that he is going to be au courant as far as a takedown overseas."
October 29th, 2010
07:00 PM ET
Delivered by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan
MR. GIBBS: Good afternoon. Before I bring John up to answer a few of your questions, I wanted to run you all briefly through a tick-tock of some of the events of the last few hours, starting, as you know from our earlier statement, that at 10:35 p.m. last night, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan alerted the President of the credible terrorist threat. The President directed U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies and the Department of Homeland Security to take steps to ensure the safety and security of the American people and to determine whether these threats are a part of any additional terrorist plot.
October 29th, 2010
06:40 PM ET
Statement from John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counter-Terrorism
"The United States is grateful to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for their assistance in developing information that helped underscore the imminence of the threat emanating from Yemen. Their assistance, along with the hard work of the U.S. counter-terrorism community, the United Kingdom, the UAE, and other friends and partners helped make it possible to increase our vigilance and identify the suspicious packages in Dubai and East Midlands Airport."