MI5 could potentially have prevented the Manchester Arena terror attack because the intelligence agency received information about the attacker, Salman Abedi, that was not properly interpreted, according to an official report.
David Anderson QC, who compiled a report into recent UK terror attacks, said: “It is not the purpose of the internal reviews, or of this report, to cast or apportion blame. But though investigative actions were for the most part sound, many learning points have emerged.
“It is conceivable that the Manchester attacks in particular might have been averted had the cards fallen differently.”
BREAKING: MI5 received intelligence in early 2017 that was "highly relevant" to the plans of the Manchester Arena attacker. Review finds attack could have been averted "had the cards fallen differently".
— Dominic Casciani (@BBCDomC) December 5, 2017
The security agency received intelligence about the suicide bomber ‘whose true significance was not appreciated at the time’, the report states.
This raises serious questions about the resources given to the UK’s intelligence services, as the report notes that Abedi was one of around 20,000 ‘subjects of interests’ being monitored at the time of his attack.
The scary thing is that only 3 of the 6 terrorists who carried out attacks in Britain between March and June 2017 were on MI5’s radar – though both Abedi and Khuram Butt, one of the London Bridge/Borough Market jihadists, were no longer regarded as subjects of interest.
Britain faces an unprecedented terror threat and the security services must be given the resources they need to keep people safe. Without those resources, more innocent civilians will be killed.