7/7 bomb attacks: Police, MI5 cleared of blame

May 20th, 2009 - 1:52 pm ICT by ANI  

London, May 20 (ANI): The British Parliament’s intelligence and security committee (ISC) has cleared the police and intelligence agencies of any blame for failing to track Mohammad Sidique Khan and his right-hand man, Shehzad Tanweer, after they appeared as part of an investigation into a plot to detonate fertiliser bombs in the UK, almost 18 months before the 2005 attacks in London.

According to The Guardian, the ISC said there was no evidence the pair planned to launch attacks themselves.

But it also listed a string of occasions, dating back to 1993, when versions of Khan’s name or addresses connected to him were recorded by police or MI5, all but the earliest because of links to people being investigated over extremism.

In unprecedented detail, the committee also revealed a lack of co-operation between MI5 in London and police special branch in West Yorkshire. But it concluded that MI5 suffered at the time from a serious lack of resources.

The heavily censored, 102-page report revealed that in 2001 West Yorkshire police had videoed Khan at a training camp in the UK organised by two known extremists, an event described as a “significant lead” by the ISC. Images from the footage were shown to their sources but Khan was not identified.

The other pieces of information on Khan, held variously by West Yorkshire police, the Metropolitan police and MI5, were never connected before 7 July. It was “surprising” that MI5 said it had not identified Khan by then, given the amount of information held, the report said.

The report revealed that MI5 is not automatically informed when the police special branch receives intelligence about terrorism.

It also said MI5 had no legal power to pass to the police all the intelligence it collects from counter-terrorism operations. But the committee concluded that, having looked at all the evidence in “considerable” detail, “we cannot criticise the judgments made by MI5 and the police on the information that they had and their priorities at the time”. (ANI)

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