Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Could MI5 have stopped 7/7?

This seems to be the question that arises out of yesterdays conviction of 5 people for plotting to blow up several targets with ammonium nitrate based explosives.

Bizarrely the ammonium nitrate was purchased from an agricultural merchants only a few miles away from me, in an unremarkable transaction. The Merchant concerned has since received much ribbing.

Well, MI5 clearly stopped a major terrorist threat. Could they have prevented 7/7?

Two of the July 7th bombers turned up on the radar of MI5 during the surveillance operation, Mohammad Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer. They did some surveillance on them, but decided that they were only involved in credit card fraud. This meant that of the 50 people who were on the edge of the investigation, 15 were followed up closely but these two ended up being in the "desirable" category.

Obviously hindsight being what it is that was an error. What concerns me though is that this information was not passed to any other agency for any sort of follow up, either before or after the main arrests.

It also concerns me that some of the victims of July 7th claim they were told that as soon as the police had identified Mohammad Sidique Khan and fed his name into their computers bells lit up, yet when this came before the intelligence committee of the House of Commons MI5 apparently said they did not know who he was or the connection until after the July the 7th bombings.

This does give rise to the serious need for a proper independent inquiry. Not because someone needs some blame pinned on them, but because we do need to learn lessons and think about follow ups.

There are other questions as well. For example why did we let the preachers of hate stay here and do what they did? Why were we not monitoring them very closely?

One last point of course is that the main reason why MI5 did not follow up every connection is lack of resource. Resource is never infinite. However after September the 11th, you would have thought that MI5's budget could and should have been massively increased.

The BBC has this.

4 comments:

james higham said...

Obviously hindsight being what it is that was an error. What concerns me though is that this information was not passed to any other agency for any sort of follow up, either before or after the main arrests.

I believe this was no error as, if you put it together with the failure to follow up in the US, the Israeli foreknowledge and a host of other little "factlets", let alone the view of 90% of respondents to the poll on my site - Blair knew. Ipso facto, security knew.

Benedict White said...

James. I share your concerns. I could understand not passing on the information before the arrests if operational reasons dictated that, but once the arrest was made, then there was no excuse.

Aberdeen Group Organiser said...

Yes they could have stopped the bombings if this country wakes up to the real threat of Islam and removes the politically correct handcuffs our security services have to wear.
If they had arrested them with just 90% evidence their would have been the usual outcry from the soft liberals, and human right brigade. Britain needs to toughen up.
A good portion of the blame for these deaths must lay at the door of the politically correct, because they make it easy for the bombers.

God we need the BNP

Benedict White said...

Aberdeen Group Organiser, Arrested who with 90% of the evidence?

The Crawley bomb plotters? Well they didn't get to bomb anywhere, and arresting them too early would have led to more aquitals.

The July 7th bombers? There was no evidence at that time that they were involved in bombing. The problem was they were not investigated and their details not passed on to other agenices.

Whilst I am at it, is this arrest first, worry about evidence later approach apply to Muslims only, or to everyone? If Muslims only, what do you do with ones who convert to another religion?