Revealed, catalogue of failure that let 7/7 bomber free to kill
(Daily Mail Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)THERE were new calls for an independent inquiry into the July 7 bombings yesterday after further details emerged of how their mastermind slipped through a security net.
Suicide cell leader Mohammed Sidique Khan had been under detailed surveillance in the months before the London atrocity which killed 52 innocent people.
But intelligence officials considered him a low priority and not worth the allocation of scarce resources.
Details of the failure to identify the danger from the 30- year- old special needs teacher are highlighted in a leak of a forthcoming report from the Commons intelligence and security committee.
The cross-party committee says the intelligence and security services cannot be blamed for the bus and Tube attacks.
But they will ask Tony Blair why British-born Khan, from Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, was not investigated.
Whitehall officials have admitted that Khan had been in a vehicle that was bugged.
But they said the investigation was into a possible terrorist plot involving other people, and he was suspected only of petty fraud.
Details of the report were obtained by BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner.
After learning of its findings, he said: 'Could they (the July 7 bombings) have been prevented with better intelligence? Yes. Could they have been prevented given the resources the agencies had?
They think probably not.' But angry relatives of some of those who died demanded an independent inquiry into the intelligence failures and branded the decision not to investigate Khan a disgrace.
Architect Emmanuel Wundowa, 53, whose wife Gladys, 50, was killed in the Tavistock Square bus bombing, said: 'If Khan had been properly investigated, the attack would never have happened and my wife would still be alive.
'They knew about him but did not follow him. If they had done their job they would have picked him up and his accomplices. The security services are at least partly culpable.' Mr Wundowa, from Chadwell Heath, Essex, added: 'Huge mistakes were made. To say the security services were not to blame adds insult to injury.
If I make a mistake in my job, I have to take responsibility and so should they.' John Falding, whose 39-yearold girlfriend Anat Rosenberg also died in the bus bombing, said: 'It is chilling to know that Sidique Khan was in the frame and that something could have been done about him.
'I understand that the security forces had difficult choices to make about who to track, but it seems there simply weren't enough people on the ground.
Whoever was in charge of allocating resources seems to have fallen down on the job.' Pamela Bond, from Enfield, North London, whose son Jamie, 30, died in the bombings, said: 'The lack of intelligence about the new threat of religiously inspired terrorism was definitely a weakness. This should have been a priority after the September 11 attacks.
'I don't see the point in throwing blame around but I do think it would be sensible to have a public inquiry so we can find out what went wrong and try to stop a repeat.' Professor Anthony Glees, head of the Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies at Brunel University in West London, insisted the security service had failed.
He said: 'It is a body charged with having good predictive intelligence and what the London attacks show is that there was no good predictive intelligence. They did not look carefully enough at the sort of people who might be tempted into becoming terrorists.' The MPs, who interviewed members of the police and intelligence community and studied security documents, are also said to have been concerned that intelligencegathering on British militants travelling to Pakistan was not as good as it should have been.
Khan and two more of the four July 7 bombers went to Pakistan in the months before the attacks. It is believed they received terrorist training there.
Officials stress that cooperation with Pakistan on intelligence and security matters increased markedly following July 7.
The committee also criticised the official system of threat levels and alert states, describing it as complex and unclear.
The national threat level was lowered from 'severe, general' to 'substantial' just before the July 7 attacks.
Tories said the committee's findings underlined the need for an independent or public inquiry to learn the lessons of the atrocity.
Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said: 'This raises serious questions about the monitoring of terror suspects.' [email protected]