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U.S. Intel Director Didn't Know About London Arrests; Big Problem?

Among the stories making headlines around the world Monday morning was word from the U.K. that 12 a dozen men had been arrested in three cities in what the Associated Press said were "the most high-profile terrorism raids in Britain in more than a year and a half."

Monday afternoon, ABC News' Diane Sawyer interviewed Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, White House homeland security adviser James Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. She directed a question about the London arrests to Clapper, and he hadn't heard about them.

ABC's World News aired the video last night. (Our apologies for the ads that ABC inserts.) If you fast-forward to about the 3:35 mark, you'll see how Sawyer sets up the question and Clapper's stumped expression:

Today at the White House, Brennan was asked why Clapper didn't know about the arrests and whether that signals a problem in intelligence-sharing within the government.

"He was working on developments in the Korean peninsula" and was providing "support to Congress on the START treaty," Brennan said. "Should he have been briefed by the staff? Yes."

And though the arrests had been all over the cable news networks and other media outlets, "I'm glad that Jim Clapper is not sitting in front of the TV 24 hours a day," Brennan said.

We wonder:

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.