Authorities from the U.S. and international groups are doing everything possible to find hundreds of abducted Nigerian school girls, CIA Director John Brennan said Saturday.
Last month, the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls from their school and threatened to sell them into slavery. The incident has provoked worldwide outrage and a response from foreign governments.
“Well, we and our partners … are doing everything we can to find the location of those girls and to bring them home to their families,” Brennan told Fusion’s Jorge Ramos in an exclusive interview.
The Obama administration this week announced it was sending military and law enforcement personnel to assist the Nigerian government in finding the girls and tracking down those responsible for abducting them. The U.S. team reportedly includes military intelligence and hostage negotiators.
Brennan would not confirm whether CIA officers were part of the U.S. team on the ground in Nigeria, but he said that agency personnel are positioned in “many parts of the world” who can “help our partners in Nigeria with technologies and expertise.”
“This is a tragedy and the president has made it clear that this is a priority, that we need to be able to help the Nigerian authorities and those families — and bring those family members back home,” he said.
Brennan was also asked about another trouble spot for the U.S.: Ukraine. Russia launched a military intervention there following the collapse of the country’s government, during which it annexed Crimea.
President Obama has condemned Russia’s actions and has imposed sanctions on Russian officials, but has refused to label the country an enemy.
Brennan, who visited Ukraine last month, also declined to call Russia an enemy, instead describing it as, “a major power.”
“It is a country that has tremendous influence, particularly in its part of the world,” he said. “What’s going on in Ukraine right now is something that needs to be addressed. Clearly, what we want to see happen is for the Ukrainian people to have their ability to define their future, free from outside interference and harm.”
Watch Brennan talk about Benghazi, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and more on Tuesday at 10 p.m. on “America with Jorge Ramos” on Fusion.