According to US intelligence sources, British officials received a credible warning months before the July 2005 London bombings, which killed 52 people.
An article in the February 5 Observer cites senior White House sources confirming that very specific information issued by Saudi intelligence authorities in early 2005 was passed on to Britain. Saudi intelligence reported that there was a bomb plot involving four Islamic militants, some of whom would be British citizens. The bombers could target the London Underground within the next six months.
The claim that the Saudis had passed information to London about a bomb plot was first revealed by the Observer in August 2005. At that time, British security sources categorically denied they had received any warnings that might have prevented the July bombings. According to the paper, British sources said “they did not recognise” the specific information in the Saudi claims.
In its latest article, the paper says that high-ranking counterterrorism agents working for the US National Security Council have now confirmed that such a warning was received by American and British officials in early 2005.
According to the Observer, the Saudi security advisor was “convinced” the intelligence transmitted to London was “directly linked” to the July bombings.
A statement issued in August 2005 by Prince Turki al-Faisal, Saudi ambassador to the UK, confirmed, “There was certainly close liaison between the Saudi Arabian intelligence authorities and the British intelligence authorities some months ago when information was passed to Britain about a heightened terrorist threat to London.”
The Saudi intelligence is said to be based on information obtained from intercepted mobile phone calls from Kareem al-Majati, named as one of Al Qaeda’s leaders in the region, to Mohammed Siddiqui Kahn, who headed the four-man terrorist cell that detonated the London bombs.
According to the Observer, a Saudi official said, “It was clear to us that there was a terror group planning an attack in the UK. We passed all this information on to both MI5 and MI6 at the time. We are now investigating whether these calls were directly to the London bombers. It is our conclusion that either these were linked, or that a completely different terror network is still at large in Britain.”
The revelations in the Observer cast a sharp light over the seemingly inexplicable decision to lower the terrorist threat level in the UK less than a month before the attacks. The terror threat remained lowered despite Britain hosting the G8 conference of the leaders of the world’s most powerful nations—including President George W. Bush—that necessitated a massive security operation.
In January 2006, the Sunday Times reported it had seen a leaked document from Britain’s Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) claiming the secret services still knew very little about the July 7 bombings and the failed July 21 attack.
“We do not know how, when and with whom the attack planning originated. And we still do not know what degree of external assistance either group had,” the 8-page report states.
Further on, the JTAC document says, “How long the 7/7 attack had been planned remains unknown.”
If Saudi intelligence did indeed pass on information to their British counterparts about a possible Al Qaeda plot to bomb the London Underground, why is there no reference to this in the JTAC report?
Last year, on July 7, the US-based Stratfor intelligence web site reported rumours within intelligence services that Israel’s Mossad had also warned MI5 of a possible terror attack.
Further, some of the bombers were known to the security services. One of them, Mohammed Sidique Khan, was scrutinised by MI5 in 2004 as part of an inquiry into an alleged plot to explode a truck bomb outside a London target.
The explanation that this simply reveals extraordinary intelligence failures becomes more and more unconvincing.
If Britain was informed of a threat, why was this ignored at the time? And why did the security services subsequently deny that the information had been sent by Saudi Arabia?
The Bush administration seized on 9/11 as a pretext for the invasion of Afghanistan and then Iraq, as well as an excuse to implement a raft of antidemocratic legislation. There is a substantial body of information pointing to the fact that those responsible for 9/11 were also known to the CIA and that a decision had been taken within the highest levels of the security services and the government to allow a terrorist atrocity to be committed to facilitate this agenda.
The London bombings were also seized upon by the Blair government in order to abrogate longstanding democratic rights and strengthen the powers of the police and secret services—including implementing a “shoot-to-kill” policy for alleged terror suspects that resulted in the police murder of the young Brazilian worker Jean Charles de Menezes.
It appears that on the issue of having prior knowledge of and possibly even collusion with the perpetration of a terrorist crime, London may once again have followed Washington’s lead.