A Conversation with John O. Brennan (CFR)


This Council on Foreign Relations video features John Brennan, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. Topic covered in this lecture include American-Yemeni counterterrorism relations and cyber policy.

Taking points include:

1) The push for a more democratic Yemen under President Hadi by the creation of a framework by the Gulf Cooperation Council

2) The route of AQAP from cities in Yemen

3) American policy pushes for better governance, development, and security policy in Yemen, with the objective of “facilitating a democratic transition, while helping Yemen advance political, economic, and security reforms so it can support its citizens and counter AQAP.”

4) The pillars of American-Yemeni relations are:

A. “First, the United States has been and will remain a strong and active supporter of the political transition in Yemen.”

B. “As we support the transition, our comprehensive approach has a second pillar: helping to strengthen governance and institutions upon which Yemen’s long-term progress depends.”

C. “That is why the third pillar of our approach is immediate humanitarian relief.”

D. “As we help address immediate humanitarian needs, we’re partnering with Yemen in a fourth area, the economic reforms and development necessary for long-term progress.”

E. “This brings me to the final pillar of our comprehensive approach to Yemen: improving security and combating the threat of AQAP.”

5) “Ultimately, the long-term battle against AQAP in Yemen must be fort — fought and won by Yemenis.”

6) [Brennan on Syria] “I think the policy of the U.S. government is very clear. Assad must go. What is happening in Syria is outrageous. The tragedy that’s been perpetrated on the Syrian people is something that really needs to be addressed, and so we are very much supportive of the effort by the opposition to in fact bring this (to a close ?).”

7) [Brennan on cyber incidents] “And so what we’re seeing now is a lot of intrusions. We’re seeing a lot of exfiltrations. You know, and then the next step is, again, the disruptive, disabling, destructive types of attacks. And so, you know, electric grids, water treatment facilities, you know, mass transportation systems, you know, railways and trains, whatever — if those intruders get into those systems and then can determine how they can in fact interfere in the command and control systems of these systems, they can do things. They could, you know, put trains onto the same tracks. They can, you know, bring down electric grids.”


See the event video at: http://www.cfr.org/asia-and-pacific/conversation-john-o-brennan/p28786

See the transcript at: http://www.cfr.org/united-states/us-policy-toward-yemen/p28794


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