LONDON, AP – The decision by British intelligence agencies not to concentrate on two of the London transit bombers before last year’s attacks was understandable given the scale of the threat and limited resources, said a legislative report released Thursday.
The report by the Intelligence and Security Committee said resources were shifted to concentrate on “known plans to attack the U.K.”
The report said the degree of al-Qaida involvement in the July 7 attacks, if any, was unclear, and it had found no links between the attacks and those who mounted failed bombing attempts against the London transit system two weeks later.
The report said intelligence agents were aware of Siddique Khan, the leader of the attacks which killed 52 bus and subway passengers, but had not confirmed his identity until after the bombings.
The decision was made not to investigate Khan and another bomber agents were aware of before the attacks, Shazad Tanweer, because “there were more pressing priorities at the time, including the need to disrupt known plans to attack the U.K,” the report said.
“When resources became available, attempts were made to find out more about these two and other peripheral contacts, but these resources were soon diverted back to what were considered to be higher investigative priorities,” the report said.
The man later identified as Khan had been mentioned by people detained outside Britain in 2004, the report said. “This reporting referred to men from the UK known only by pseudonyms who had travelled to Pakistan in 2003 and sought meetings with Al Qaida figures.”
The report confirmed that Britain’s alert status had been downgraded from “severe general,” the second-highest, to “substantial” on May 26.
“The main reason given … was that there was no intelligence of a current credible plot to attack the U.K. at that time — i.e. a group with established capability and current intent,” the report said.