MPs demand to see report into 'failure' of MI5 to stop 7/7 bombers (Evening Std)

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MPs demand to see report into 'failure' of MI5 to stop 7/7 bombers:

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23682852-details/MPs+demand+to+see+report+into+%27failure%27+of+MI5+to+stop+7+7+bombers/article.do


Senior MPs today demanded the immediate publication of a secret report into possible MI5 failures linked to the 7/7 bombings.

The Intelligence and Security Committee has conducted a highly sensitive study into the security services' handling of the run-up to the 2005 London terror strikes.

No publication date has been set for the report, but the ISC's chairman, Kim Howells, today told the Evening Standard he was "very keen" to release it.

"We would publish it tomorrow if we felt we were absolutely certain it was not going to impact on any other legal action that may be taken," said Mr Howells.

Senior figures today called for the release of the report, which was expected to be published next month but was held back until the completion of the trial of three men accused of helping the 7/7 suicide bombers.

One security expert today claimed that the ISC could publish within a few weeks once the "dust has settled" from the court case.

Waheed Ali, 25, Sadeer Saleem, 28, and Mohammed Shakil, 32, were acquitted at Kingston crown court yesterday of plotting the London bombings following a four-year investigation and two trials costing more than 100million.

The verdict is a huge setback for anti-terrorism officers, who have conceded that no one will be prosecuted for the 52 deaths. Families of those who died in the attack and survivors called for a public inquiry into perceived failings by the security forces.

The verdict opens the way for potentially damaging disclosures by the ISC about how MI5 and West Yorkshire police missed opportunities to follow two of the bombers.

The report, which is understood to describe in detail MI5 and West Yorkshire police's failure to intercept the attackers, was withheld in case it prejudiced the trial. Campaigners said it had been described as "devastating".

More details are believed to have emerged about what the security and intelligence agencies knew of training camps in Pakistan, the number of people connected with the 7/7 bombers, who visited them and how many times.

It was claimed today that the ISC report has details of MI5 officers monitoring four meetings in early 2004 between Mohammad Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer - the 7/7 ringleaders - and Omar Khyam, who plotted to blow up shopping centres and nightclubs and was jailed for life in 2007. Ali was also at some meetings.

Andrew Mackinlay, a senior member of the foreign affairs select committee and long-standing critic of the ISC's lack of Parliamentary accountability, said there was "no excuse for delay" of the report's publication.

"This is a safe committee, whose chairman is chosen by the Prime Minister, not a parliamentary committee. Clearly there are some people in the security and intelligence services who are seriously embarrassed, but we need to debate this report," he said.

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said there was a strong case for a public inquiry: "The best course now would be to publish the report as soon as possible so we can understand what happened. There's no point in any delay. The families deserve to know the full truth."

Peter Clarke, former head of the Met Police's anti-terrorism branch who led the inquiry until his resignation last year, said "every possible line" in the 7/7 investigation was exhausted - even though detectives found up to 10 sets of unidentified fingerprints in bomb factories used by Sidique Khan.

Andy Hayman, Scotland Yard's head of terrorism in July 2005, said the trial was the "last throw of the dice", which will intensify calls for an inquiry from survivors and victims' families.