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July 14, 2005
London Bombers Were The B-Team

According to ABC News, British intelligence thought they had stopped the coordinated attack on the London subway and bus system when they first discovered the plot -- when Pakistani officials arrested al-Qaeda computer expert Naeem Noor Khan a year ago this week. His laptop contained a remarkably similar plan for the attack, and the British arrested a "senior" AQ operative at the time:

Officials tell ABC News the London bombers have been connected to an al Qaeda plot planned two years ago in the Pakistani city of Lahore.

The laptop computer of Naeem Noor Khan, a captured al Qaeda leader, contained plans for a coordinated series of attacks on the London subway system, as well as on financial buildings in both New York and Washington.

"There's absolutely no doubt he was part of an al Qaeda operation aimed at not only the United States but Great Britain," explained Alexis Debat, a former official in the French Defense Ministry who is now a senior terrorism consultant for ABC News.

At the time, authorities thought they had foiled the London subway plot by arresting more than a dozen young Britons of Pakistani descent last August in Luton, a city known for its ties to terrorism.

"For some time, the locus of terrorism in Britain has been around the Luton area and in some of the northern cities," said Michael Clark, professor of defense at King's College in London.

Security officials tell ABC News they have discovered links between the eldest of the London bombers, Mohammed Sadique Khan, 30, and the original group in Luton. Officials also believe it was not a coincidence the subway bombers all met at the Luton train station last week.

"It is very likely this group was activated last year after the other group was arrested," Debat said.

The terrorists don't like to abandon plans once they've been developed, it seems. In this case, investigators suspect that AQ leadership activated a new cell to carry out the plan. In order to get the plans and the coordination transferred, it used one of its operatives that escaped the dragnet touched off by Khan's capture to train and guide the suicide bombers. Mohammed Sadique Khan had ties to the former group, they have found, which puts his involvement in this operation past the threshold of coincidence.

This raises an important question. The Khan capture didn't just involve plans for an attack on British transportation systems. Khan also had detailed information on American financial institutions, which led to a security alert at the time in Washington DC and New York. AQ waited until the heat died down from Khan's arrest and then executed the British attack anyway. What would keep them from trying the same strategy here in the US?

ABC identified two men who may disappeared from the UK and now are at the center of a frantic manhunt. American investigators may have just as much interest in talking with these two ringleaders as our British friends. If they have spare cells for backup crews in London, they could very well have them here, too. (via Josh's Blog)

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 14, 2005 10:02 PM

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» Captain's Quarters: London Bombers were the B-Team from The Anti Corn Law League
The more we learn about just how preventable these attacks were, the more frustrated and angry we feel, and should feel, about this situation. Pressure and frustration keeps building up on this. A frustrated populace can be a very scary thing. Anothe... [Read More]

Tracked on July 15, 2005 12:03 AM

» B Team from Anomaly UK
View from Luton: This post at Captain's Quarters suggesting that the bombers were implementing the plan which had been previously foiled with the arrest of Naeem Noor Khan reinforces something I had in mind while writing the piece below, but did... [Read More]

Tracked on July 15, 2005 10:50 AM

» Pakistanis knew bombers were their own from Mark in Mexico
In this disurbing report, everyday Pakistanis waited for almost a week for the news they were sure would come. The bombers were Pakistani or trained in Pakistani madrassas or terror training camps. [Read More]

Tracked on July 15, 2005 5:51 PM



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