The Investigation: Operation Crevice

Five life sentences, two acquittals: Peering deeper into the Crevice 7/07 case.

The Investigation: Operation Crevice

Joined: 25 Nov 2005, 11:41

20 Feb 2006, 15:32 #1

London Intel: Into the 'Crevice'

Feb. 13, 2006 issue - British authorities had at least two of the terrorists who bombed London last July 7 under surveillance in 2004. In an official document examined by NEWSWEEK, a British judge reports that U.K. investigators had pictures and voice recordings of Mohammed Siddique Khan—believed to have been the plot leader—and another suicide bomber, Shahzad Tanweer, meeting several times in February and March 2004 with suspects in an earlier, separate terror plot that U.K. authorities investigated under the code name Operation Crevice. The evidence includes recordings of Khan in a car driven by one Crevice suspect, and evidence showing Khan and Tanweer getting out of a Crevice suspect's car. British media have made only limited references to the evidence because a trial of Crevice suspects is pending, and pretrial publicity is restricted under U.K. law.

After July 7, investigators claimed the four suspected suicide bombers were previously unknown to British intel. But as the investigation evolved, authorities quietly made it known that antiterror investigators, presumably working for the secret counterintelligence agency M.I.5, had run across Khan and Tanweer; British authorities decided at the time that they weren't dangerous enough for continuing surveillance. U.S. law-enforcement officials, who asked not to be named because the investigation continues, told NEWSWEEK the name of a third bomber, Germaine Lindsay, also came up tangentially in Crevice. British authorities initially denied they had heard of him before July 7 but now concede they may have. A U.K. official said Tony Blair's government wouldn't comment for legal reasons.

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Joined: 04 Dec 2005, 17:55

16 Dec 2006, 06:33 #2

MI5 head resigns before July 7 bombing report is published
Last updated at 22:00pm on 15th December 2006

The head of MI5 has resigned weeks before full details of the role of her agents in a surveillance operation involving two of the July 7 bombers are due to be revealed.

Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, whose organisation has been at the forefront of the war on terror, is leaving after more than four years as director general.

Dame Eliza, 58, said the date of her departure after 33 years with the security service had been agreed with the former Home Secretary Charles Clarke, who was sacked in May.

She has maintained an unprecedentedly high profile in the fight against terrorism, revealing last month that the security services knew of 30 plots by Islamic extremists. But it is for the failure to prevent last year’s attacks in London that, some believe, her tenure as MI5 chief will be remembered. Mohammed Siddique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer, the leaders of the July 7 suicide bombers, were picked up by MI5 surveillance on five occasions but were not investigated further.

The two British-born bombers did not merely pass through the ‘periphery’ of an intelligence operation monitoring other suspects but were photographed and recorded on several occasions.

More details of the operation are likely to emerge in the New Year.

But intelligence sources say the men were first seen in early 2004, nearly 18 months before the suicide attacks in London, which left 52 people dead on three Underground lines and a bus.

On one occasion, Khan was monitored driving his car with suspects in it and on another was recorded talking to them about training for jihad.

They also talked about carrying out financial frauds, which helped persuade MI5 that they were not interested in attacks in the UK.

Last night security sources rejected suggestions that Dame Eliza jumped before she was pushed.

They stressed that she agreed her departure date – April 2007 – with Mr Clarke in 2005, before the July bombings.

They claim there will be ‘no surprises’ that might have called her position into question when further details of the surveillance operations enter the public domain. ‘Everything there is to know about how MI5 handled the 7/7 bombings, and what happened before, has been presented to the Commons Intelligence and Security Committee,’ a source said.

‘There are no surprises in store that will alter the view of how the Security Service worked. Her departure is a routine event, long-arranged. The Home Secretary has full confidence in her.’

Dame Eliza, who is paid £150,000 a year, took over counter-terrorism operations a year after the attacks of September 11, 2001, and has overseen a transformation in MI5 as its budget and staff have increased to focus on the threat of Islamic extremists.

She has made the agency far more open, recruiting agents through newspaper advertisements and by setting-up a website.

Terror risk assessments have been published for the first time.

Dame Eliza said recently that the security services had identified 1,600 people plotting actively, or facilitating, terrorist acts in Britain and abroad.

The daughter of a former Tory Lord Chancellor, she is described as a ‘feisty lady, full of character and intellectual drive’. She was chosen to run a unit set up to tackle Irish terrorism after MI5 was granted lead responsibility in the area ten years ago

Tony Blair led tributes to Dame Eliza, highlighting her ‘outstanding leadership’ following July 7 and saying the country owed her a debt of honour.

In a statement, the Prime Minister said: ‘Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller has dedicated herself to the protection of this country, our people, and our way of life.

‘She has led the Security Service through a time of significant change and growth, as it responded to the challenge of international terrorism.’

Home Secretary John Reid, who will announce her replacement in the New Year, said: ‘Her contribution to the security of our nation has been invaluable.’

In a statement, Dame Eliza, the second woman to head MI5 after Stella Rimington, said: ‘By April 2007, I shall have been an officer of the Security Service for 33 years, the last ten as either deputy director general or director general.

‘I decided in early 2005 that it would be time by then to stand down. I have been privileged to lead the service when it is facing the two challenges of a very serious threat and the consequent need to grow and change at a dramatic rate to tackle that threat.’

‘I’m confident that the service will continue to serve the UK to the best of its ability.’
Follow the numbers.

Joined: 04 Dec 2005, 17:55

18 Dec 2006, 12:05 #3

Follow the numbers.

Joined: 04 Dec 2005, 17:55

18 Dec 2006, 12:36 #4

Security services 'failed to arrest bomber last year'
Friday 15 July 2006

INTELLIGENCE officials are urgently investigating the possibility that one of the London suicide bombers could have slipped through the net of a major counter-terrorism operation last year.

Mohammed Sadique Khan [sic], a 30-year-old teaching assistant who died in the Edgware Road blast last Thursday, was yesterday named as one of the targets who escaped an anti-terrorist swoop mounted last March in southern England and North America.

The worrying suggestion that Khan could have been stopped before the attacks that killed 53 people came as police warned that it could be "months" before they find the terrorists who co-ordinated, supplied and inspired Britain's first suicide bomb attacks.

Led by the Queen at Buckingham Palace, people across Britain and around Europe yesterday observed a two-minute silence in memory of those who died on three London Underground trains and a No 30 bus.

But, as the focus of the investigation shifted further towards the search for the masterminds of the London blasts, the last of the four suicide bombers was identified as Lindsey Germaine.

Germaine is believed to be a Jamaican-born Muslim convert from Buckinghamshire. The other three bombers were British-born Muslims of Pakistani descent who lived in West Yorkshire.

Ministers and intelligence chiefs have admitted that last week's attacks came as complete surprise to the security services, suggesting that the four bombers had been "lilywhites" or "clean skins" - people who were previously completely unknown to anti-terrorism officials.

However, that has been called into question by French security sources.

Yesterday, the French daily Libération reported that Khan, the oldest of the London bombers, had been one of the targets of last year's operation, but had "escaped".

The paper quoted a senior French police official as saying that Khan had subsequently been on a Scotland Yard "target list" for 15 months, but under the name "Mohammed Kayoun Khan" with a different date of birth.

The report follows statements on Wednesday from Nicholas Sarkozy, the French interior minister, that "a part of the team" behind the London blasts had been the subject of a counter-terrorism operation last spring.

That remark appears to refer to Operation Crevice, a string of raids last 31 March that led to several men being arrested and charged under the Terrorism Act 2000.

British officials yesterday publicly refused to confirm or deny the French report, but privately some admit that there is evidence that Khan had been in contact with one of the men arrested last year.

The circumstances of that contact are uncertain, and all the details surrounding Operation Crevice now are understood to be under review by MI5 and Anti-Terrorism Branch detectives.

Raising further questions about whether Khan had a history of links with extremism, it emerged last night that one of his acquaintances contacted police following the London attacks to raise fears that Khan was a trained terrorist.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the acquaintance last night told BBC Radio 4: "From what I've heard, he used to travel extensively overseas, especially to Asia - Pakistan, Afghanistan.

"He used to regularly be out of the country, going to Afghanistan and carrying out training, every year or so.

"It would be regarding being trained up, being a fighter, being skilled in the use of army-type training, the use of weapons, explosives and simply military discipline as to how action should be carried out in the field."

While there was no way to confirm the Libération report, the paper's police source was clearly very well-informed about the London investigation.

Alone among European media outlets, Libération identified Germaine as the fourth bomber yesterday morning. At that time, most British newspapers and even many police officers believed the fourth bomber to have been another Leeds man of Asian origin.

Germaine's identity was only established yesterday afternoon after forensic experts matched DNA samples from a house in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, to shreds of tissue retrieved from the Piccadilly Line train that exploded near Russell Square.

It was also reported last night that British officials had been warned several months ago by their counterparts in the United States about a possible attack on transport networks.

Persistent reports in the US have suggested that Faraj al-Libby, a senior al-Qaeda figure captured in Pakistan in May, had been providing information about planned attacks, though the intelligence is believed to be extremely vague and there is no confirmation that it was ever passed on by US agents.

However, if it should emerge that any vital clues about the suicide plot or the bombers had been missed, there would be severe embarrassment for the British intelligence agencies and for the government.

Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, has staunchly defended the security services and refused calls for a public inquiry into the events before the attacks.

However, Mr Blair has carefully avoided stating categorically that the agencies had no intelligence about the suicide plotters before last Thursday.

In the House of Commons earlier this week, the Prime Minister said only: "I know of no intelligence specific enough to have allowed them to prevent last Thursday's attacks."

Now that the identity of the four suicide bombers has been established, other suspects are emerging.

All four suicide attackers were caught on CCTV at King's Cross station minutes before last week's blasts, along with a fifth man, a "mastermind" who may since have fled Britain.

A sixth man, believed to be Magdi El-Nashar, a 33-year-old PhD biology student, is also being sought. He rented a flat in the Leeds suburb of Burley, where police on Tuesday found a bathtub full of the same explosives used in the London blasts.

While the identification of the bombers was a significant breakthrough, the investigation is far from over and Peter Clarke, head of the Metropolitan Police's Anti-Terrorism Branch, yesterday warned the next stages could be far slower.

"There are a number of things we need to establish," he said. "Who actually committed the attacks? Who supported them? Who financed them? Who trained them? Who encouraged them?

"This will take many months of intensive, detailed investigation," Mr Clarke said.
Follow the numbers.

Joined: 04 Dec 2005, 17:55

18 Dec 2006, 13:15 #5

July 7 Bombers Tied To Al Qaeda

Source Tells FBI He Took London Suspect To Terror Camps In Pakistan

LONDON, Aug. 18, 2005

Mohammed Junaid Babar in a Nov. 2001 interview with Canadian television. (CBS)


"Yes, I am willing to kill the American soldiers if they enter into Afghanistan with their ground troops."
Mohammed Junaid Babar
Nov. 2001 interview

(CBS) The July 7 London bombers may have been homegrown, but investigators are now certain they had direct ties to al Qaeda.

Mohammed Siddique Khan, the 30-year-old suspected ringleader of the London bombings, had key connections that could have led to his earlier arrest, CBS News Correspondent Sheila MacVicar reports from London.

A source familiar with the investigation has told CBS News that an American al Qaeda operative, now in U.S. custody, told the FBI that he escorted Siddique Khan to a terrorist training camp in northern Pakistan and that Khan was in Pakistan at the same time as another group of alleged British terrorists.

The operative-turned-source is Mohammed Junaid Babar. After 9/11, he went to Pakistan and signed up for jihad. He made his commitment clear in a Canadian television interview.

"Yes, I am willing to kill the American soldiers if they enter into Afghanistan with their ground troops," Babar said during a Nov. 2001 interview from Islamabad.

Last year, after Babar's return to the United States, he admitted supplying money and materials to high-ranking al Qaeda leaders on the run as well as organizing a terrorist training camp.

He also gave investigators information which led to Operation Crevice, the unraveling of another U.K. plot to bomb restaurants and train stations.

"That plot was thwarted and it appears that the attack on July 7 was a follow-on attack rather than the first one and it appears also that the terrorists intended to hit Great Britain a number of times," said M.J. Gohel, a terrorism and security analyst.

It was during Operation Crevice that London bomber Siddique Khan's name first surfaced. Investigators never pursued his contacts with extremists, including those they had arrested, or his travels to Pakistan, where investigators now know he was meeting with al Qaeda operatives.

For days after the bombing, British officials insisted the cell had been flying below their radar. It now appears at least one of the bombers crossed their sights, but they failed to understand what they were looking at.

And a source close to the investigation tells CBS News it is becoming clear there are more men like Siddique Khan and the July 7 bombers here, in this country.
Follow the numbers.

Joined: 04 Dec 2005, 17:55

18 Dec 2006, 13:23 #6

7 July bomber 'filmed last year'

London bomber Mohammed Sidique Khan featured in a surveillance operation by intelligence services last year, a BBC investigation suggests.

Khan was secretly filmed and recorded speaking to a UK-based terror suspect, according to a well-placed source.

A Radio 4 File on 4 and BBC Two Newsnight investigation also suggests he was in contact with al-Qaeda activists for the last five years.

The Metropolitan Police declined to comment on the investigation.

'Intelligence failure'

The programme makers stress there is no independent corroboration that Khan was secretly filmed by intelligence services talking to the terror suspect, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

But they say that, if correct, it would amount to "a serious failure of intelligence" in the run up to the 7 July bombings.

If true, the new information "would show the intelligence services had him well in their sights but allowed him to slip away", BBC correspondent Richard Watson said.

Until now it had been thought that the plans of Khan, 30, from Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, had remained secret because he and the other bombers had no track record in terrorism and no traces by the intelligence services.

But the BBC investigation suggests that is not the case.

Al-Qaeda confession

A terror suspect held in connection with the 2002 Bali bombings has alleged that Khan travelled to Malaysia and the Philippines in 2001 to meet leaders of extremist Islamic group Jemaah Islamiah (JI), which is closely linked with al-Qaeda.

The BBC has interviewed academic researcher Dr Rohan Gunaratna who spoke to the Bali suspect after the London bombing.

The suspect said that, after Khan was hosted by notorious JI leader Hambali in Malaysia, he was taken to the Philippines to meet and train with other leaders of the group, suspected of carrying out a number of terror attacks including the Bali bombings of 2002 and 2005.

And in 2003, Khan met with an Islamic extremist in Pakistan who has since confessed to supplying military equipment to al-Qaeda, the BBC has learned.

The extremist, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is a US citizen from a Pakistani family from New York who travelled to Pakistan a week after the 11 September attacks.

Khan and the man also saw each other together in Leeds in 2003, the BBC understands.

"Mohammed Sidique Khan was running a strong cover with his work as a caring teaching assistant in Leeds," BBC correspondent Richard Watson said.

"But a careful study of his background and contacts reveal a number of clues to his extremism which the British intelligence apparently missed."

Recruitment issue

Viewers and listeners to Tuesday night's programmes will also hear criticism from experts and academics about how radical clerics have "recruited openly" in Britain.

Academic researcher Dr Gunaratna said: "The radical clerics have radicalised young British and European Muslims and have done al-Qaeda's work for them."

And Sir Paul Lever, the former head of the Joint Intelligence Committee, which advises the prime minister on intelligence threats, said there had been a "failure to understand the significance of allowing these clerics to recruit openly".

File on 4 was first broadcast on Radio 4 at 2000 BST on Tuesday 25 October.
I suspect that Khan was not picked up at all during Operation Crevice.
Follow the numbers.

Joined: 06 Nov 2006, 17:39

18 Dec 2006, 13:38 #7

numeral @ Dec 18 2006, 01:23 PM wrote:The extremist, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is a US citizen from a Pakistani family from New York who travelled to Pakistan a week after the 11 September attacks.

Khan and the man also saw each other together in Leeds in 2003, the BBC understands.
Junaid Babar most likely.
"No one understood better than Stalin that the true object of propaganda is neither to convince nor even to persuade, but to produce a uniform pattern of public utterance in which the first trace of unorthodox thought immediately reveals itself as a jarring dissonance." Leonard Schapiro