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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 June 2006, 12:34 GMT 13:34 UK
MPs 'not misled by MI5 over 7/7'
Bombed bus
Newspaper reports said MI5 withheld a tape of one of the bombers
MPs investigating the 7 July bombings were not misled by the security services, says the chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee.

The committee published its report on the London bombings in May.

The Tories called for an independent inquiry after claims MI5 did not tell MPs about a tape it had of one bomber.

But speaking as its annual report was published, Paul Murphy said allegations MI5 withheld information had been investigated and found to be false.

According to The Sunday Times, there was a tape of one of the bombers discussing how to make an explosive device.

There were also reports Mohammad Sidique Khan, thought to be the bombers' ringleader, had discussed saying goodbye to his family and his young child.

Shadow home secretary David Davis said at the time that, if true, it was "scandalous" and showed the need for an independent inquiry - something repeatedly ruled out by Home Secretary John Reid.

'Accurate representation'

The ISC's report in May was separate to the government's narrative account of what happened on 7 July.

It found two of the four bombers, one of whom was Khan, had been known to security officers but the threat they posed had not been realised.

It said a lack of resources had prevented security services from intercepting the 7 July bombers.

The ISC's latest report, published on Thursday, does not revisit the subject of the bombings.

But, in a statement, Mr Murphy said: "Allegations have since been made that material was withheld from the committee during the course of its investigation, or that the committee was misled by the Agencies.

"I wish to take this opportunity to say that we have investigated these claims and have satisfied ourselves that they are not true.

"Our report stands as an accurate representation of the facts."

'Increased efficiency'

On other subjects, Mr Murphy says: "There has been significant additional funding made available to the agencies since 9/11 and we accept that this has been essential for building capacity across the intelligence community to counter threats from international terrorism.

"It is vital, however, that mechanisms are in place to ensure that the money is well spent, appropriately controlled and monitored, and serves as a driver for increased efficiency."

The committee also says the merger of the roles of Joint Intelligence Committee chairman and Security and Intelligence Coordinator was not consistent with the Butler Inquiry into Iraq intelligence's core message - that there should be strengthened opportunity for challenge and dissent at all levels across the intelligence community.

The report also expresses concerns at further problems and slippages in delivering SCOPE - a new computer system designed to improve communications between different agencies.

'Corporate ethos'

The MPs say MI6 has strengthened its system of evaluating intelligence sources and - in an effort to improve the way it communicates with ministers and others - it has produced a confidential guide on how to read intelligence reports.

The report also highlights concern that MI5's "corporate ethos" will be harmed by the expansion and regionalisation of the service, including a planned Northern Operations Centre.

"The director general has told us that she has not, as yet, seen any evidence of a decline in established cultural standards as a result of growth and regionalisation," it says.

"Over the coming year, however, a senior manager will work with staff to formalise the existing corporate ethos in order to preserve aspects of the working culture that the Service wants to retain."

The committee said it welcomed moves towards regionalisation of MI5 and efforts to work more closely with the police.


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