CIA 'warned UK' over bomber before 7/7


The mastermind of the July 7 bombings was considered so dangerous that he was banned from flying to America two years before the London attacks, a new book has claimed.

British intelligence "was certainly told" in 2003 that Mohammed Sidique Khan was a terrorist, award-winning security writer Ron Suskind has said.

The allegations in Suskind's book, The One Percent Doctrine, contradict MI5's insistance before parliament that the Edgware Road suicide bomber was never listed as a terror threat.

Khan made at least three trips to America as part of a plot to "blow up synagogues on the East Coast", the book claims.

CIA agents allegedly compiled detailed evidence of contact between Khan and extremists in the US - including Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, a student of Northern Virginia jailed 30 years for a plot to assasinate George Bush.

"British intelligence was certainly told about Khan in March and April 2003," Suskind told The Times. "This was a significant set of contacts that Khan had, and ones of much less importance were exchanged on a daily basis between the CIA and MI5.

"British authorities were sent a very detailed file."

In March 2003 the CIA learnt Khan was again underway to the US, according to the book. When the FBI said it did not have the manpower to follow him, his name was put on a "no-fly list".

At the Heathrow ticket counter, Khan was allegedly told the US had a problem with him. For the first time, he knew he was being watched, Suskind wrote. "Mohammed Siddique Khan returned to his job as a schoolteacher in Leeds, worked intently with three young Muslim men he recruited and on July 7, 2005, masterminded a series of terrorst attacks in London subways that killed 52, injured 100, and brought England to its knees."

Yet the 7/7 inquiry by the parliamentary committee on intelligence and security found MI5 saw Khan as a peripheral figure - even though he came to their attention five times in the previous two years.

An unnamed "senior British security source", quoted by The Times alongside its serialisation of the book, dismissed the claims as "untrue and one of the many myths that have grown up around Khan".

Suskind's revelations prompted new calls for a public investigation into what officials knew about the suicide bombers.

David Davis, the shadow home secretary, said: "If true, this new information shows that there is an unarguable case for an independent inquiry that will enable us to ensure any weaknesses in our security and intelligence system are put right before we face any further threat."

A Home Office spokesman said: "We stand by what we have said. We do not believe a public inquiry would add to our understanding of the events on July 7, but would be a diversion of police and security resources and time." She declined to comment on the book's claims.