Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says people should "be fair" to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper after he revealed in an interview last week that he was unaware of a string of terror arrests that happened in Britain hours prior.

Clapper had been working on Capitol Hill on issues involving START and North Korea and went into the interview before his briefer had a chance to relay the information, Napolitano told CNN Sunday.

Asked if the revelation that Clapper wasn't in the loop was disconcerting, Napolitano said all Homeland Security officials that needed to know were informed.

"Well, let's -- let's be fair. I knew. John Brennan knew. We also knew there was no connect that had been perceived to anything going on in the homeland and that we were in perfect connectivity with our -- our colleagues in Britain," she said.

As a general standpoint, Napolitano said national security "is objectively better than it was a year ago, particularly in the aviation environment" due in part to the use of full-body scanners and invasive pat-downs at airports around the U.S., which she said will not change for the "foreseeable future."

While saying that she is always looking to improve the security systems in place, Napolitano added that the new technology and the pat-downs were "safer for our traveling public."

Napolitano dismissed a recent news report about major airports failing secret tests designed to get contraband such as guns and knives past security screeners. The report said some airports had a 70 percent failure rate.

"Many of them are very old and out of date and there were all kinds of methodology issues with them. Let's set those aside," she said. "We pick up more contraband with the new procedures and the new machinery."