"Face the Nation" transcript: September 11, 2011

Schieffer: What exactly were they trying to do Mr. Brennan or what information did you have along that line?

Brennan: The information is that there were plans to carry out an attack here in the States, either in Washington or New York that would coincide with the 9/11 anniversary. This is something that we have seen before as far as Al Qaeda's intent. We know that we're acquired material from the Bin Laden compound in Pakistan. He was looking at the 9/11 anniversary as a possible time to carry out an attack. So there are elements of this report that are consistent with our knowledge of Al Qaeda, but also there are things here that are new that we are tracking down.

Schieffer: Was it supposed to be a truck bomb, something of that nature?

Brennan: Again Bob, I'm sorry but I'm not going to get into specifics here because these are important leads that we need to run to ground and we want to make sure that we protect the sources that are cooperating with us. At the same time, we want to see what we can do as far as uncovering these opportunities that might be here in the States.

Schieffer: The attack that came off in Afghanistan this morning, a rather large bomb went off there. Is there any suggestion that that might have been tied in any way to the events in this country today?

Brennan: Well, unfortunately our troops and the troops of the international coalition in Afghanistan as well as the Afghan forces themselves have been targeted many times by the Taliban and the militants inside Afghanistan. This was a tragic attack and a large number of individuals were injured in this attack but the effort to prevent such attacks is ongoing and we see, at this point at least, no correlation between that attack out there and the reported threat stream.

Schieffer: Where do you think we stand right now on the war on terrorism? I know you don't even call it that anymore, but where are we?

Brennan: Well today is a day of remembrance, of what happened nine, or ten, years ago on 9/11. Evil visited us in the homeland at that time. Since that time, the counterterrorism community and the U.S. government has made enormous strides as far as making this country safer. The threat is still out there, we know that Al Qaeda has posed a serious threat. We're not going to relent, but I think the American people should feel a deal of pride that we've been able to accomplish so much in the last decade.

Schieffer: Alright. Thank you so much, Mr. Brennan.


BOB SCHIEFFER: On that day, 40 were killed in a thwarted attack in Shanksville, PA and 184 were killed when another plane plowed into the Pentagon. Donald Rumsfeld was sitting at his desk at the Pentagon when the plane struck...

DONALD RUMSFELD.....the building shook at the Pentagon. And-- and it-- we had been hit and I didn't know if it was a bomb or an airplane or what. So I went out of my office and ran down the hall until the smoke was so bad that you couldn't get any farther and-- and went downstairs and outside and there on the apron outside the Pentagon were the-- were just thousands of pieces of metal. Small pieces. Not big chunks of an airplane.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, I mean-- I-- if I remember, you actually helped-- some of the first responders to get people on the gurneys and--

DONALD RUMSFELD: Well, at that point the first responders hadn't gotten there. These were just people from the Pentagon who came out and started helping and bringing people out of the burning building. And the flames were leaping up and the smoke. And-- and at that moment I just gave somebody a hand and-- and then when the first responders did come in I went back to my office and got about my business.