A senior MI5 officer said during the 7/7 inquest that there were no reasonable means in 2004 to detect the 7/7 bombings that took place in July the following year.
The Chief of Staff to MI5 Director General Jonathan Evans, known as witness G said there had been no investigative steps taken to identify ringleader Mohammed Siddique Khan prior to the attacks.
Witness G confirmed that by March 2005, MI5 intelligence knew that Siddique had trained in Afghanistan in the late 1990’s to early 2000’s. Siddique also made a visit to Pakistan in 2001 where it is believed he jumped the border to Afghanistan recieving a further two months of training in a Mujahadeen training camp.
The inquest told of Siddique’s plans changing during the last visit he had to his home country Pakistan in 2004. Siddique was not planning to come back to England but in November decided he would return in February 2005.
Patrick O’Connor QC, counsel to the inquest, said to the MI5 officer: “there were no conceivable, reasonable means of any kind which you could have done to detect the July 2005 plot in 2004 because it hadn’t even been formed, and on this history was only formed, at the earliest, December 2004 and onwards.”
O’Connor then put forward the question as to why Siddique was not placed under high priority after his travel had been detected. Witness G told the inquest: “Lots of people, including our targets, do travel to Pakistan for non-nefarious purposes”. Witness G also said that the resources to monitor Mohammed Siddique Khan were available but only if assessment justified it. He added it had failed to do so in this case.
O’Connor added: “Granted the history of training, perhaps more than one visit to Pakistan and the intelligence about this person’s intentions and views, if possible, it would have been very important to identify Siddique”.
[From Inquest Date: 23rd February 2011]