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Last Updated: Friday, 25 May 2007, 15:12 GMT 16:12 UK
Real Spooks: transcript
NB: THIS TRANSCRIPT WAS TYPED FROM A TRANSCRIPTION UNIT RECORDING AND NOT COPIED FROM AN ORIGINAL SCRIPT: BECAUSE OF THE POSSIBILITY OF MIS-HEARING AND THE DIFFICULTY, IN SOME CASES OF IDENTIFYING INDIVIDUAL SPEAKERS, THE BBC CANNOT VOUCH FOR ITS ACCURACY.


PANORAMA
Real Spooks
RECORDED FROM TRANSMISSION: BBC ONE

Reporter Peter Taylor
DATE: 30:04:07


OMAR: It's an idea' just an idea I had.

PETER TAYLOR: Who's winning the war between young British Muslims bent on terror and the Security Services devoted to stopping them?

Britain's spooks are celebrating the conviction of one terrorist cell but stand accused of letting another one slip through the net. The men found guilty underestimated the ability of MI5 and the police to penetrate their secret world.

The cell's leader, Omar Khyam knew all about surveillance. He probably watched Spooks.

OMAR: Do you think your room is monitored?

KUAJA: Do you know, I think we give them too much credit bruv.

PETER CLARKE: Here was a group of British men who were intent upon basically committing mass murder against their fellow citizens.

TAYLOR: Tonight you'll hear the conspiracy unfold exactly as the spooks heard it, via bugs in flats and cars and intercepted messages on the internet.

KUAJA: If you got a job in a bar or club, yeah, say the Ministry of Sound....

OMAR: What you planning on doing there then?

KUAJA: Blow the whole thing up.

TAYLOR: We now know what the spooks can do, as you'll see tonight, but they're not infallible. We also know about what they can't do and what happens when things go wrong, again, as you'll see.

DAVID DAVIS: They allowed somebody to go off surveillance who subsequently turned out to be a suicide bomber.

JOHN FALDING: It's made things even more distressing to realise that they came even closer to nailing them than we thought.

TAYLOR: A weekend at the end of February 2004 was a landmark for antiterrorist police and MI5. A young Muslim from Ottawa flew into Heathrow. His mum thought he was visiting a girl he'd met on the internet.

Reconstruction

In fact, his ?meeter and greeter' was a young British Muslim from Crawley who was in the process of getting together the ingredients for a bomb. His Canadian visitor had been developing the remote control device that would trigger it. The spooks knew about the meeting since they had been watching the British Muslim as part of a vast surveillance operation code named ?Operation Crevice' but they didn't know the detail about the bomb.

Peter Clarke
National Coordinator, Terrorist Investigations

Any surveillance operation takes up huge amounts of resources and that with surveillance team is perhaps 15 to 20 people strong. In order to keep one person under 24 hour surveillance you'll need a minimum two, perhaps three surveillance teams for each person. Three surveillance teams could be anything up to 60 people.

TAYLOR: And the spooks don't just rely on their ears, eyes and long lenses. They use state of the art listening devices to eavesdrop on secret conversations be they in cars or flats. As they drove away they'd no idea the spooks were listening. This is an exact reconstruction of the bugged conversation. The man from Crawley stressed the need to keep things tight as instructed by his boss in the network.

All dialogue taken from bugged conversation

What he said then it's up to you. You go your way, we'll go ours. We don't want to mix many things together. We only work one thing with one group because if you start to mix too many people in this life, you're going to get yourself caught.

TAYLOR: He'd probably been taught anti-surveillance techniques at a training camp in Pakistan. CLARKE: There's no doubt at all that in Crevice the trail does lead straight back to Al-Qaeda.

Peter Taylor
The Crevice cell, as the court heard, was in contact with two known Al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistan.

The young British Muslim drove his Canadian visitor down the M4 to Slough to this flat here in Hencroft Street. Once inside, they discussed the remote controlled device to trigger a bomb. They thought they'd be talking in total privacy. What they didn't know is that the flat, as well as the car, had been bugged.

You're now going to hear the actual words of the bugged conversation. The visitor and his host are discussing the remote control device that would trigger the bomb.

OMAR: What does this device actually do?

KUAJA: What does it do? Okay, you have two pieces, right. You have the receiver and the transmitter. The receiver will be similar to let's say a mobile phone, sort of like this.

TAYLOR: The Canadian claimed that the electrical impulse was so powerful it could detonate up to five bombs at a distance of 2 kilometres.

So you can get up to five volts or six volts, and the receiver, what it does basically, it gets a signal, when you press the button on the transmitter it receives a signal and the output, the voltage, all you need to do is have... if you have a detonator wires then that will send a charge down the line to whatever you're sending it to.

TAYLOR: They then walked round the corner to Universal Video in Slough. Again, the spooks were on the case.

CLARKE: What they did was look at an email account on which were images of devises, electronic components which formed part of remote detonation.

TAYLOR: While others chatted on the internet and rented DVDs on an ordinary suburban high street, the two were downloading the deadly mechanism.

CLARKE: So basically he was showing photographs of electronic components for bombs.

Reconstruction

ACCESS GIRL: [on telephone] Hi, is that the police?

TAYLOR: But the spooks also needed something else, luck.

ACCESS GIRL: We've got a suspicion about one of our customers.

TAYLOR: And there was good reason for the call, and this was it, a huge bag stored in unit 1118. Now the staff at Access had got no idea what was inside, but the warning that said oxidising agent was more than enough to cause them concern. In fact, the bag contained 600 kilograms of ammonium nitrate fertiliser. That's around half a ton, and that's more than the IRA used to bomb canary wharf.

Later that night specialists from the anti terrorist branch gained access to unit 1118, the lockup where the bag was stored. They needed to establish that the substance inside the bag was ammonium nitrate ? it was. Alarm bells rang. The spooks had been hearing details of a bomb plot and now they'd found the explosive needed to make it. The pieces of the jigsaw were beginning to come together.

The story begins in Crawley way back in the 90s when the leader of the Crevice plot, Omar Khyam, played for Crawley juniors.

At the time, Omar was the only non-white player on the team. He wasn't especially religious and got on well with all the others.

Sonia Alder
Omar's Teacher, Hazelwick School

He played football for the school and he had lots of friends within the class. Just a generally decent, hard- working, good fun lad.

TAYLOR: No one at Omar's school ever imagined that one day he would become a jihadi, although the word wasn't current at the time.

SONIA ALDER: He was polite and always respectful, well behaved, a nice lad. He was one of the boys, he fitted in very well.

TAYLOR: Later when Omar was doing his GCSEs things were very different. 9/11 was still to come and the name bin Laden barely figured in the class room, at least most of the time.

Gordon Parry
Headmaster, Hazelwick School

In a year book, which acquired some notoriety, one of our former students declared that one of his ambitions would be to become the next Osama bin Laden and at the time nobody realised the significance of what was being said.

TAYLOR: Omar was brought up in Crawley, near Gatwick Airport. His family originally came from Pakistan and migrated to England in the 70s. But Omar changed.

What do you think did happen?

SONIA ALDER: I don't know. All I can say is from my point of view, I don't think he held those sorts of beliefs while he was at school, and so I think that this is something that somewhere... somewhere along the line, somebody has got hold of him after he's left school and changed his mind.

TAYLOR: Crawley's youth clubs and young were targeted by an extreme Muslim organisation called Al-Muhajaroun, that's what got hold of Omar. It's leader was a radical cleric called Omar Bakri. He's now banned from Britain. Bakri fired potential recruits with the message of jihad, violent holy war against their perceived oppressors. And Bakri's ambitions knew no limits.

Omar Bakri
Former Leader, Al Muhajaroun

Islam is the future for Britain. The struggle will continue until Islam will dominate the whole world.

TAYLOR: Bakri took his message everywhere, including Omar's school.

GORDON PARRY: The name Bakri comes to mind, and I do know that after his visit a number of elements at the school community have been saying to me, well did I realise that this was no ordinary cleric and he did have particular views about the role of Islam and the political context in which he was operating.

TAYLOR: Omar joined Al-Muhajaroun. When he left school he went to Pakistan to train for jihad, but he never told his parents. His family had to drag him back. He returned to Crawley radicalised and unrecognisable from the Omar his teachers had known.

CLARKE: He was clearly playing a leading role, if not the leading role, and he was very influential in the development of the plot.

Reconstruction

TAYLOR: Years later, when the spooks were bugging Jawad Akbar's flat in Uxbridge they overheard Omar and Akbar speculating on how to strike the enemy. The flat was one of two that had been bugged. This conversation was recorded over two years before last summer's Heathrow alert.

All dialogue taken from bugged conversation

OMAR: It's just an idea we could have done. Imagine you got a plane, 300 people on it, you buy tickets for 30 brothers in there. They're massive brothers. You just crash the plane. You could do it easy. It's just an idea.

AKBAR: 30 brothers? To find 30 brothers willing to commit suicide is a big thing.

OMAR: Yeah, but imagine you've got it. 30 brothers on a British Airways flight. 30 brothers on one plane. As soon as an air marshal gets up and shoots one, the others just jump him. 30 brothers on a plane! The beauty of it is, they don't have to fly into a building, just crash the flipping thing.

TAYLOR: So how did the spooks come across Omar Khyam? The first sighting was in Luton in March 2003, when he suddenly cropped up on MI5's radar in the heart of the town's Pakistani community. Behind a mini market was an Islamic Centre that the spooks had been watching. They were gathering intelligence on a person named in court but whom we simply called ?Q'.

MI5 believed that ?Q' had a direct line to Al-Qaeda. The court heard that ?Q' sent young British Muslims to Pakistan to prepare for jihad in Afghanistan. There's speculation that ?Q' may have become an MI5 source.

Who was or is ?Q'?

Peter Clarke
National Coordinator, Terrorist Investigations

There are a lot of people connected to this investigation. Some of them I know their identity, some of them I don't.

TAYLOR: But you know who ?Q' is.

CLARKE: I know who ?Q' is but I'm not going to discuss who he is or what he is or what he does during this interview.

TAYLOR: The court heard how ?Q' used pay phones in Luton perhaps to avoid detection by the spooks when talking to Jihadi contacts. But the spooks still managed to find out which call boxes he was using and trace the numbers he ran. It seems likely that ?Q' became nervous and convinced the spooks were onto him, asked Omar to take over. That's how MI5 first came across Omar. The court heard that ?Q' was also in touch with a Luton man who went to Pakistan. His name was Salahuddin Amin.

It also heard how Omar later joined Amin in Pakistan where the two took part in jihadi activities. Amin was devout.

Fauzia Amin
Salahuddin Amin's Sister

He was very religious, religious means praying five times a day, keeping your one month fast, and that sort of thing, and being really nice to people, being truthful, not telling lies, not deceiving people. And that's the sort of person he was.

TAYLOR: Is he a terrorist?

FAUZIA: No he's not, he's definitely not. I know my brother and he would not be involved in anything like that.

TAYLOR: But the jury clearly felt otherwise. Salahuddin Amin was found guilty.

CLARKE: Amin was a key facilitator, acting as a link between young men in the United Kingdom and Al-Qaeda in Pakistan.

TAYLOR: He denies this. He says that all he was doing in Pakistan was helping refugees from Afghanistan. He had nothing to do with terrorism.

CLARKE: Well the evidence which we've put before the book court would suggest otherwise.

TAYLOR: Lahore was the gateway to the training camps for many British jihadis. Almost all the plots directed against targets in the UK have their roots here in Pakistan. Most stem from Al-Qaeda camps along the border with Afghanistan. One of those who held the key was Hassan Butt, the young British firebrand from Manchester.

HASSAN BUTT: (stirring crowds on street) The time has come my brothers ? the time has come

TAYLOR: He was running Al-Muhajaroun's office in Lahore, the organisation that had helped radicalise the young Omar.

What was your role in helping young British Muslims who wanted to fight jihad?

HASSAN BUTT: When people wanted to come in to obtain any type of military training in any of the military camps, we had the necessary contacts or the links to send them to these camps so that they could be trained.

TAYLOR: The Crevice breakthrough emerged from the teaming streets of Pakistan where the spooks struck gold. Later persuading a key player to change sides. The player was first encountered in the Al-Muhajaroun office in Lahore where would be jihadis gathered to listen to Hassan Butt.

The player was a young American from New York called Mohammed Jinaid Babar. Babar was to become an Al-Qaeda super grass. By an ironic twist of fait Al-Qaeda had almost killed Babar's mother.

Hassan Butt
Former Al-Muhajaron Member

His mother was in the World Trade Centre when the actual planes hit. And I remember he initially he said.. his first concern was whether his mother was okay or not. After which, when he found out, he was just overjoyed with what had actually taken place.

TAYLOR: Babar was to become the star prosecution witness. Although it couldn't be mentioned in court because of reporting restrictions, Babar revealed that one of those he'd taken to a training camp at Malakand was Mohammed Siddique Khan, the leader of the 7/7 bombers. The court heard that Khan had been sent to Pakistan by ?Q'.

So how did Babar become an Al-Qaeda super grass? When he returned to New York, FBI agents were waiting. Reconstruction

They took him to the Embassy Hotel, detained and then arrested him and interviewed him for six months. Babar talked, hoping for a more lenient sentence. In room 538 he said he'd met a person whom he only knew as Ibrahim. Ibrahim was in fact Mohammed Siddique Khan.

Junaid Babar's evidence I went to the airport in Islamabad to collect various people for the training camp. When we got to the airport Amin was already there. He was there to collect two other guys who ?Q' had asked him to collect. These guys were named XXX and Ibrahim. I then directed them to Amin.

TAYLOR: Babar told the FBI how the group then drove through the mountains of Pakistan's remote tribal areas to a training camp he'd help set up. It was located outside Malakand near the border with Afghanistan. Training camps are off the spooks radar so Babar's information was priceless.

BABAR: At the training camp the guys have done physical training, shooting and learn the parts of the weapons and the handling of weapons. One guy taught the new guys at the rifle camp how to take apart and reassemble weapons since he had previous weapons training. They also read about jihad.

TAYLOR: Later, back in Uxbridge, where the spooks were bugging the other suspects' flat, they overheard the group laughing and joking about Malakand.

MAN: The worst thing yeah, was like the tube. Like it's just this hollow piece of metal, yeah, with a little pin in it, just goes ?dah'.. I mean that's it. It just takes that thing that costs millions and millions of pounds, yeah.

OMAR: Normally, with something that fast and powerful, you would like get a kick back. No, kick back at all, yeah?

OMAR: It's just a tch vooom.

MAN: But your ear man, it does get a beating. It's like ? aggghh!

[Laughter]

Al-Qaeda training video

TAYLOR: In the wilds of Pakistan's north west frontier Malakand was only one of several jihadi training camps. At another, Salahuddin, Amin and Omar were taught how to mix chemicals for bombs and then run a test.

Salahuddin Amin talked about this when he later returned to England after other members of the cell had been arrested. He was interviewed at Paddington Green high security police station in London.

Paddington Green is renowned for its cathedral like silence since most suspects inside remain tight-lipped. But Amin was different.

Reconstruction from court transcript

What did the training actually consist of?

AMIN: They taught us like how to make explosives.

What materials ?

AMIN: It was like.. you know, fertiliser.

Yeah. Any particular fertiliser?

AMIN: Ammonium nitrate.

TAYLOR: In New York FBI agents wanted Babar to tell them what targets were going to be hit.

Al-Qaeda training video

He said that although the cell had initially gone out to train for Jihad in Afghanistan, Al-Qaeda had suggested they attack Britain as Afghanistan already had enough Mujahideen.

BABAR: I was aware that some of the people who attended the jihad training camp had ideas about plotting against some targets in the United Kingdom.

TAYLOR: Salahuddin Amin corroborated what Babar had said, his solicitor by his side. Reconstruction from court transcript

AMIN: I didn't know what their intention was, what they were up to, what they were exactly going to do in the UK.

POLICE: Right.

AMIN: But I knew they wanted to get explosive training to do something in the UK.

POLICE: Omar Khyam?

AMIN: Right.

TAYLOR: Babar said he'd not only helped set up Malakand but done much more.

BABAR: I provided some of the materials like I mentioned: aluminum nitrate, ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder for them in the use of explosive devices that was then tested out at the training camp.

TAYLOR: The aluminium powder was bought at these paint shops in Lahore. It's the vital ingredient to mix with ammonium nitrate to create an explosion.

BABAR: As far as the aluminum powder goes, I knew purchasing the aluminum powder what it was going to be used for, and they told me, you know, what it would be used for ? explosive device. And they wanted to.. you know, plot or target some targets in the UK.

TAYLOR: After Malakand most of the cell returned to England, the aluminium powder in luggage. By now the eyes of the world were on Iraq. Omar went back to Crawley and stuffed the bags of powder into a biscuit tin.

He then went to hide it in his mother's back garden by the side of her shed.

But they needed much more than that. They now had to find the other ingredients necessary to make up the bomb. They needed detonators and a remote control triggering device because they'd got absolutely no intention of becoming suicide bombers. But above all, they needed to get hold of the ammonium nitrate fertiliser that would provide the basic ingredient for the bomb.

And this was the fertiliser, but where did it come from and how did it get there? By the end of 2003, with other plots threatening on their radar, the spooks were still in the dark about what Omar was up to.

Omar first needed a truck. Surprisingly he rented it with his own Barclaycard, hardly the hallmark of a sophisticated terrorist. Another suspect then made several trips to an agricultural supplier before finally buying the fertiliser.

Reconstruction

OMAR: Hello mate. How you doing?

MAN: Alright. How can I help you?

OMAR: I want to buy some fertiliser.

MAN: Yeah, we can do fertiliser.

OMAR: What is this then?

TAYLOR: Initially he was interested in buying a 50 kilograms bag.

OMAR: How much is that?

MAN: 50 kilos.

OMAR: 50 kilos.

MAN: 50 kilos, that usually does most people.

OMAR: What about this? Can I have the 600 kilogram bag?

MAN: What's that for?

OMAR: For my allotment.

MAN: I reckon you could do probably 20 allotments with that amount of fertiliser.

OMAR: I'll probably be sharing it with other people who also use allotments.

TAYLOR: And those are the precise words, as the salesman told the court. The cell bought the 600 kilograms for 105.75p.

OMAR: Thanks mate.

MAN: That's okay. I hope you're not going round bombing anything with this thing.

TAYLOR: The group had already sussed out the place where the bag could be left, Access Self-Storage in Hanwell, West London. Omar didn't reveal his true identity and this time arranged for someone else to pay with a switch card.

The plan was to store the bag in one of the lock up units where Omar was confident it would be safe from prying eyes.

So, here was a group of young Muslim extremists, radicalised in the UK, trained in Pakistan, assembling the ingredients for a huge bomb, and the spooks were still trying to piece the jigsaw together. All the cell needed now was a triggering device.

You remember this person, the young Muslim from Canada, arriving at Heathrow and being met by Omar? He was the expert they needed. His name was Momin Kuaja.

Kuaja lived in Ottawa and was an IT expert who worked for a software company contracted to the Canadian Foreign Ministry. In the basement of his family house he'd been working on a remote control device that could detonate a bomb from a distance using a mobile phone-like trigger.

He then took digital stills to place on his website. He emailed Omar about progress.

KUAJA: [emailing] Things go good nigger, we've started work again on the project. The things that need to be done we still need a few weeks, bro, it's not as easy as we thought it would be. Lots of custom electrical work, equipment, but it should be excellent once it's finished.

TAYLOR: Meanwhile the spooks were watching every move that Omar made and the company he kept. Events were to take a fateful turn as the spooks were forced to prioritise their targets with tragic consequences. They noted two strangers talking to Omar by his Suzuki Vitara.

They were Mohammad Siddique Khan, MSK, now back from Pakistan, and Shehzad Tanweer. They would later become notorious as the 7/7 bombers. The judge ruled that their names could not be mentioned in court.

MI5 checked out the car, it belonged to MSK's wife, although the name meant nothing at the time.

I've seen the MI5 surveillance log which clearly reveals that Mohammad Siddique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer were being observed by undercover officers from the 2nd to the 3rd February 2004. They were clocked, recorded and followed.

After meeting with Khyam and his associates, MSK, Tanweer and others headed north in the green Honda Civic. MI5 officers kept the Honda in their sights, not knowing the identities of anyone inside the car.

The Honda pulled off the M1 here at Toddington Services with the MI5 surveillance officers close behind. According to the MI5 log, photographs were secretly taken of the occupants of the car, and the driver was seen to

The driver, we believe, was MSK. Photographs were secretly taken when MSK, Tanweer and their friends went into the service area. This is one of the actual surveillance photos. MSK is on the right.

Panorama believes he is identifiable, Shehzad Tanweer less so. They then resumed their journey north.

The surveillance team followed for a further 150 miles, not knowing who the men in the car were or their destination. But all soon became clear.

MSK first drove to Leeds and dropped off two of his friends in the Beeston area of the city. The MI5 log notes both addresses. He then came here to Dewsbury and parked his car outside an address at the end of this cul-de- sac. Again the MI5 log notes the address. The address was MSK's family home. This was a loose end. MI5 had the clues but would they be followed up.

A couple of days later MI5 received a vital piece of intelligence that shed more light on what Omar's cell might be plotting.

There are spooks and spooks in cyberspace.

Fort Meade, Maryland is home to America's cyber spooks. They have phenomenal power to monitor phones, faxes, emails and internet chat rooms, and they were to provide vital intelligence. Back in the UK Omar went to contact Salahuddin Amin over the internet. Amin was still in Pakistan. Key words like ?explosives' probably alerted Fort Meade's computers. This top secret intercept was never revealed in court.

Why wasn't it revealed to the court and to the jury if it was so important?

Peter Clarke
National Coordinator, Terrorist Investigations

Well as you know, some types of communication and some types of intelligence can't be revealed, and so this has never been put into the prosecution case, and that's as far as I'm prepared to go in discussing that.

TAYLOR: During his interrogation at Paddington Green Amin was asked about his cyber chat with Omar.

What specifically did he ask you?

Reconstruction from court transcript

AMIN: He asked me.. he told me that he has 600 kilogram of ammonium nitrate on him. So he asked me: ?What does he mix with that to make explosive'. So I told him: ?You've been, you've learnt it. Why are you asking me if you've already learnt it, and why are you trying to ask me about it?' And I thought he would have known about it, what he needs to mix up. And it was... ?I forgot already' you know. Basically that training that he done was no good for him.

CLARKE: Operation Crevice moved into higher gear. Perhaps that communication would have speeded up the pace at which those who were conducting the plot wished to move towards the point of attack.

TAYLOR: By now the spooks knew about the aluminium powder, the triggering device and the ammonium nitrate. But they couldn't link it directly to Omar as it hadn't been stored in his name. And they still didn't know what the target was likely to be.

21 February 2004

Two weeks after the Fort Meade intercept, Mohammad Siddique Khan was spotted again. Omar met him with others at the shopping village centre in Slough.

Again the bug in Omar's Vitara was activated. Surprisingly the spooks heard them talking not about bombs or targets, but about ripping off banks and then going off to Pakistan and not coming back.

All dialogue taken from bugged conversation

OMAR: This is a one way ticket, bruv, yeah? You agree with that, yeah? You're happy with this? Cos you're gonna leave now. You might as well rip the country apart economically as well. All the brothers are running scams, all the brothers that are leaving are doing it.

TAYLOR: The spooks then heard Omar telling MSK how he was keeping his distance from family and friends.

OMAR: Very rarely do I see them now. I don't even live in Crawley anymore. I moved out because in the next month they're gonna start raiding big time all over the UK.

TAYLOR: MSK was about to become a father and asked Omar's advice about saying goodbye to his baby.

MSK: With regards to the baby I'm debating whether or not to say goodbye and so forth.

OMAR: Inshallah, when the time comes for me to leave, by telling them you love them, bruv, you love them, bruv, you love them for deen. It's because we love the Islamic way, love this much that we stay away from them. I know it's better for me.

TAYLOR: MSK then put Omar on the spot.

MSK: So are you really a terrorist?

OMAR: They're working with us.

MSK: You're serious, you are basically...?

OMAR: I'm not a terrorist but they're working through us.

MSK: Who are? There's more higher than you.

TAYLOR: Much of this conversation not revealed to the jury concerns MSK's plans to train in Pakistan for jihad across the border. But the spooks aren't supermen, they can't bug everything. The same night Omar and members of the cell met in Crawley. Surveillance officers were watching. They were desperate to know whether the conspirators were planning to explode the bomb before they left for Pakistan.

In court it was said that MSK was also there. We couldn't confirm this but since he'd been with Omar that same afternoon, it is possible.

The precise details are unclear because the surveillance officers couldn't get close enough to find out. The house they were watching was at the end of a cul-de-sac and a cul-de-sac isn't the best place to carry out surveillance.

CLARKE: We were unable to gain access to the meeting, either physically or electronically. And so we can only speculate. But what we did see was a meeting of all the main players in Crevice, and Kuaja, and so the speculation would be that they were talking about that for which Kuaja had come here which was how to detonate bombs.

TAYLOR: But what of the illusive target? The following day a conservation in the bugged flat in Uxbridge gave the spooks the first unsurprising hint that it might be in London. Inside Omar was listening to the suspect who'd trained with him at Malakand.

KUAJA: I'm talking about England is supposed to be the centre of everything, isn't it, in the world right now. Whenever you talk about it the British are so proud of it, yeah? When you think, every single person goes, London's supposed to be the highlight, yeah? And you named it bruv, look at their security ? it's crap, it's a joke. You think why aren't we attacking it.

CLARKE: We know that they were looking to construct a large bomb, and then we look at the type of targets they were talking about, shopping centres, nightclubs, trains, and the only conclusion that we can draw from that I think is that they were intent upon mass murder.

TAYLOR: One possible target they discussed was the famous nightclub the ministry of sound.

KUAJA: The biggest nightclub in central London where no one can even turn around and say oh they were innocent. Those slags dancing around and everything, yeah? Do you know what I mean, yeah?

TAYLOR: Omar wanted to know more.

OMAR: If you got a job in a bar, or a club, yeah, say the Ministry of Sound. What you planning on doing there then?

KUAJA: Blow the whole thing up.

TAYLOR: The spooks then heard discussion of other possible targets like gas and electricity.

OMAR: Get brothers into each and every field from the gas, electricity, the water, the alarm engineers, everything.

KUAJA: I think the club thing you could do, but the gas would be much harder, you know, the gas stuff and stuff like that. Club stuff there's people who even get in, yeah, with like they're searching stuff, yeah, but it's only the bouncers that search you.

TAYLOR: Omar's friend then had a touch of the jitters.

KUAJA: Bruv, just one thing, you don't think this place is bugged, do you?

OMAR: Nar, I don't think it's bugged bruv, at all. I don't even think the car's bugged. I was saying to XXX what we talk about sometimes, what we're doing, what I'm doing, yeah, bruv, if they knew about it, they wouldn't wait a day bruv, they wouldn't wait one day to arrest me, yeah, or any of us.

TAYLOR: At night, two days later, police specialists moved in to access to neutralise the threat.

CLARKE: What we did with the ammonium nitrate was we switched it. We put something there which looked like ammonium nitrate but wasn't ammonium nitrate, so it could not be taken away and used as a bomb.

TAYLOR: What do you replace it with?

CLARKE: An inert substance that was not capable of being turned into an explosive.

TAYLOR: Like cat litter?

CLARKE: An inert substance was what we put in there.

TAYLOR: A spy camera was then installed to record who might come in and examine the bag. The police still need evidence to establish exactly who was involved.

28 February 2004

TAYLOR: Now came the third sighting of Mohammed Siddique Khan, MSK, who was heading for Wellingborough. Surveillance officers were following his car. They were doing so because their target, Omar, was a passenger along with the other 7/7 bomber Shehzad Tanweer. In the town centre they met a businessman whom we can't name for legal reasons. Again the conversation was about financial rip-offs, not about planting bombs.

CLARKE: That journey, and all that happened during it, certainly at the time of our assessment, was that this was connected to fraud, and not to the main bomb plot.

TAYLOR: What do you believe the money that was being raised fraudulently was being used for?

CLARKE: We think it was, and had been for some considerable time, being channelled overseas into Al-Qaeda's coffers.

11 March 2004
[scenes from Madrid bombings]

TAYLOR: Soon afterwards Islamist extremists planted bombs on commuter trains in Madrid killing almost 200 people. Back in the UK Madrid focused minds ever more sharply on the bags sitting at Access. Evidence was needed to identify the owners. The spooks now deployed a human asset to supplement their technical surveillance. An officer with a cover name Amanda was set up as receptionist.

They now had little doubt about the connection between Omar's cell and the fertilizer. All they needed was the proof. And who should walk straight into the trap...?

OMAR: Hi.

RECEPTIONIST: Yeah, hello, how can I help you?

OMAR: Someone called me yesterday and said the money didn't go in the account.

RECEPTIONIST: What's your name please?

OMAR: XXX

RECEPTIONIST: Mr XXX, yeah, I spoke to you.

TAYLOR: Omar started by pretending he was another suspect.

OMAR: He XXX couldn't come today.

RECEPTIONIST: Sorry, and you're Mr...?

OMAR: Omar.

RECEPTIONIST: Omar. Okay, did you want to go and look at the storage unit?

OMAR: Yeah, no problem.

RECEPTIONIST: Okay, have you got the keys? That's the one, is it? Which one? 1118. Okay.

TAYLOR: As Omar walked towards unit 1118 he'd no idea he'd soon be on camera.

He had a quick look but never thought to look inside. Omar was caught bang to rights and on video.

CLARKE: There's satisfaction that another piece of evidence had been gathered, and remember this was very much a jigsaw and so it was very much a case of building a picture over the weeks of the intensive surveillance phase of the investigation.

TAYLOR: But the spooks still weren't confident about the final piece in the jigsaw - the target. As they monitored Omar's Vitara the potential danger became alarmingly clear. They heard Omar talking to Wahid Mahmood. An imminent attack could be on the cards. Mahmood was talking about trying out a bomb at a huge shopping centre outside London.

WAHID MAHMOOD: The Bluewater's only an hour's walk. Tomorrow if you want, right? The other thing, what about a little explosion? Time... 3 days time. Tomorrow a little one. I don't know how big it's going to be but might as well do one and see what it's like. Do one tomorrow if you wanted to.

OMAR: No.

MAHMOOD: Yeah, with that setup you can just do one tomorrow if you wanted to. I don't know how big it's going to be because we haven't tested it yet. We know it's going to work ? inshallah. Tomorrow, do one tomorrow.

Peter Clarke
National Coordinator, Terrorist Investigations
If you can imagine what a large bomb would do to Bluewater on a day when it's crowded with shoppers, totally indiscriminate, completely deadly, absolutely devastating. Now that's what they were thinking in terms of, and so just confirmed to us that what we were dealing with here was a very serious plot indeed.

TAYLOR: It was now four days later.

23 March 2004

The surveillance teams were watching Omar Khyam's flat in Slough once again. It was here that they came across the two 7/7 bombers - Mohammed Siddique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer for the fourth and final time. They'd come to see Omar.

With Omar and MSK was the businessman from Wellingborough. Again, they'd no idea that the flat was being bugged. Inside they joked about ripping off banks and loan companies before leaving the UK. Omar said he was going to Pakistan to study.

MAN: Bruv, does your family think you're going studying?

OMAR: What?

MAN: Three years.

OMAR: I said it's a three year course, but I'm gonna stay there, innit, for my holidays.

[Laughter]

TAYLOR: Once again the meeting seemed to confirm the spooks assessment that MSK and Tanweer were meeting Omar about financial fraud, not about terrorism in the UK.

MSK: I'm gonna tap HSBC. I've got myself onto the local register and I'm going to tap one of my one of my locals and take it from there. Whatever comes, comes. Apart from that, I'll just go with a balaclava and a shotgun.

[Laughter]

TAYLOR: The police discovered that Omar and others had bought tickets to fly out to Pakistan on the 6th April. They'd no intention of becoming suicide bombers. The decision was made to swoop.

CLARKE: I think several things came together which really told us that it was the right time to move in. We had seen Madrid attacked obviously on the 11th March, but that in itself wouldn't have caused us to move. But what we did have was more detailed discussions about targeting.

VOICE: Bluewaters only now. What about a little explosion. CLARKE: It wasn't clear, it wasn't clear by any means, but one thing we would never do is take a risk with the safety of the public, that's why we decided the time was right to move in and arrest.

TAYLOR: The first loud knock on the door came on the other side of the Atlantic in Canada. Momin Khawaja was taken away and his family home searched by the Canadian Police. In the basement they found an arsenal of illegal weapons, including a grenade launcher. But crucially they also uncovered an electronic transmitter and receiver.

30 March 2004

Back in the UK there were widespread raids involving almost a thousand police officers.

[NEWS]
Several suspected terrorists have been arrested in a series of dawn raids across the home counties. Police officers from five forces issued search warrants.

TAYLOR: Omar was picked up at 6am in the Holiday Inn near Crawley.

[NEWS]
Anti terror operation finds half a ton of bomb-making materials have been arrested across....

TAYLOR: The same morning police searched the house of Salahuddin Amin's sister in Luton.

FAUZIA: 6 o'clock in the morning and there was a really loud knock on the door.

TAYLOR: Were they armed?

Fauzia Amin
Salahuddin Amin's sister
Yes, they were even wearing body armour to protect themselves, and then I kept on asking them what is the reason that they're here, and one of the forensics guy he said: ?Watch the TV and you'll know.'

[NEWS]
This was the culmination of Operation Crevice. Across London and the south of England MI5 and antiterrorist police officers have been watching addresses and following suspects for weeks. At dawn today they moved in on them.

TAYLOR: At the time of the raids Fauzia's brother, Salahuddin Amin, was still in Pakistan. He'd been detained at the request of the British and interrogated by Pakistan's intelligence service the ISI for ten months.

FAUZIA: And they have different sizes of the belt and they hit him with that, and they kept him in a really dark, tiny room, where he could only lie down. His eyesight has gone a lot weaker, and he had no one to talk to. He couldn't even read anything because there was no light in there.

TAYLOR: When Salahuddin returned to England and was arrested, he told officers at Paddington Green that he'd been tortured into making false admissions. FAUZIA: When I saw my brother at Paddington Green, for those 15 minutes I had thought no matter what happens I'm not going to cry. But when I saw him, he didn't look like my brother at all. (emotional) if I had seen him on the street I wouldn't have even recognised him because he had been through so much that there was no life in his eyes anymore.

Reconstructed from court transcript SALAHUDDIN: And I was even tortured once by Pakistani authorities, and then they kept like blackmailing me that: ?We're gonna skin you alive' and this and that. So I just admitted to everything there which I hadn't even done.

TAYLOR: I've watched the original video of Amin's interrogation on which this reconstruction is based. I was struck by how relaxed it was and how willingly Amin appeared to talk. His sister says he was duped.

FAUZIA: In Pakistan and even when he came here he was told that if he says exactly the same stuff that he said in Pakistan he'll be let... he'll... they'll let him go, and he believed that, especially for someone who has been through so much for ten months. They're just going to do whatever they're told.

CLARKE: We believe that he was a key link between people in the United Kingdom and Al-Qaeda in Pakistan.

TAYLOR: He also says that he was tortured by the ISI whilst he was being detained in Pakistan. Do you believe that?

CLARKE: I have no reason to believe or disbelieve him.

TAYLOR: The jury accepted the Prosecution's evidence and found Salahuddin Amin guilty.

But not all the suspects were arrested. The mysterious figure from Luton whom we refer to as 'Q' remained at large. The court heard that 'Q' had sent MSK to Pakistan and had been in touch with both Omar Khayam and Salahuddin Amin when they went there.

Why was 'Q' never arrested?

CLARKE: Decisions are made during the course of investigation based upon the evidence that's available, and the decision as to who should be arrested is based entirely upon what evidence is available at the time.

TAYLOR: Was 'Q' not arrested possibly because he was working for you or MI5?

CLARKE: I'm not prepared to comment on any speculation like that. It's pure speculation.

TAYLOR: Where is 'Q' now?

CLARKE: I said I'm not prepared to talk about ?Q'.

TAYLOR: We found out where the person believed to be 'Q' lived and wrote to him several times. We never received a reply from him. We confirmed that this was the address.

[On doorstep] Is he still living here?

V/O: We didn't receive any joy.

[On doorstep] Because we sent several letters to him here. There's nobody here called Mr...

WOMAN: No.

TAYLOR: We can now reveal that the illusive 'Q' is in fact this man, Abdul Khayam from Luton. He's the man alleged during the trial to be an Al-Qaeda facilitator in Britain.

4 And what about the businessman from Wellingborough? Panorama can reveal that he was arrested but never charged. Might he also have been helping the spooks? But the arrests that produced the prosecution's star witness took place in New York. It was Babar, the Al-Qaeda supergrass.

He told the FBI everything and they then passed on the information to the Brits. Inevitably there were suspicions that he'd been an FBI agent all along.

Babar was flown in from America to give evidence at the Old Bailey amidst massive security. He's now under the FBI's witness protection programme.

But the critical question still remains, why wont the London bombers, MSK and Tanweer, ever picked up, having appeared on the spooks radar on four occasions? The first sighting we believe was a tragically missed opportunity. MI5 had photographed MSK at Toddington, tracked the Honda to Yorkshire and noted where it ended up.

Four months later they checked the car again. It's new owner was Siddique Khan.

MI5's position has been that neither Mohammed Siddique Khan, nor Shehzad Tanweer were under surveillance.

David Davis MP
Shadow Home Secretary
No, well that... clearly that's not true. It's self-evidently a surveillance operation. It's being followed, they're keeping somebody under observation, they're making a note of where they're going, they're presumably making a note of the car itself and the times and who is there. All those things amount to a surveillance operation.

TAYLOR: But Panorama can reveal that MI5 never informed West Yorkshire police at the time. Its Special Branch was never put in the picture. Had that happened, although of course it's hindsight, it's possible that the tragedy of 7/7 might have been avoided.

What would you have expected MI5 to have said to the local West Yorkshire Special Brance?

DAVIS: Can you tell us who they are, whether they've got form, what their background is? Can you tell us their names for a start?

TAYLOR: And presumably you say 'and here's a photograph.'

DAVIS: And here's a photograph and here are the addresses.

TAYLOR: And if West Yorkshire Special Branch say ?we haven't a clue who they are' what would you expect MI5 to say to them?

DAVIS: Go find out.

TAYLOR: The government asked Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee, the ISC, to investigate the London bombings and they gave the intelligence services a clean bill of health, but they made no mention of the spooks following MSK and Tanweer to Leeds, logging the addresses and never telling West Yorkshire's Special Branch.

DAVIS: We had an independent inquiry which we'll report to Parliament in total and the public in total.

TAYLOR: And are you calling for that kind of inquiry now?

DAVIS: Absolutely.

TAYLOR: The intelligence services say MSK was not a priority target, that there were 55 suspects in Operation Crevice and only 15 were connected to the bomb plot. MSK, they say, wasn't one of them.

CLARKE: To keep an entire network under control you'll see how difficult that is. And what it means is that within an investigation on a daily basis we have to reassess the priorities, look at the targets, decide who is it that actually poses a threat to the public.

TAYLOR: Furthermore, MI5 was looking at up to 50 terrorist networks at that time. Today it's believed there are over 200.

Nevertheless the IOC report does hint at what its members might have known.

SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

'The Security Service... and Special Branches need to come together in a combined and coherent way to tackle the ?home-grown' threat... We are concerned that more was not done sooner.'

TAYLOR: Panorama has filled in the crucial details the IOC omitted. On the 7th July John Falding was on the mobile to his girlfriend. She was on the No.30 bus.

John Falding
Boyfriend of Anat Rosenberg
I heard screaming, dreadful screaming in the background, but not from her. And after a couple of seconds the line went dead and I gather that she did die instantly. Something as terrible as this would seem to cry out for an inquiry.

TAYLOR: The MSK part of the story ends here in Luton, the town where Omar Khayam, the leader of the Crevice cell first appeared on MI5's radar. Early in the morning of Thursday 7th July 2005, Mohammed Siddique Khan, Mohammed Siddique Khan, Shehzad Tanweer and the two other bombers, came to catch the rush hour train to London, carrying with them their deadly luggage.




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