British MI5 failed to share London terrorist’s heightened threat level
Affected Countries: united-kingdom;
British intelligence upgraded a terrorist’s threat level due to evidence that he was planning an attack, but failed to inform the probation officer charged with monitoring his activity, an inquest has heard.
Usman Khan killed two people in a knife attack in central London in 2019, less than a year after he was released early from jail where he was serving time for terror offenses.
Now an inquest into the murder of Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones at a prisoner rehabilitation event near London Bridge has heard that British intelligence services had evidence that Khan was planning an attack, but did not inform his probation officer.
While in jail for planning to bomb the London Stock Exchange, the court heard, Khan had associated with other terrorists and engaged in violence.
In the month of his release, MI5 upgraded his priority level after obtaining evidence that he was planning a post-release attack, but his probation officer said he was not informed about the heightened threat.
Kenneth Skelton said if he had known, “the whole management process would have been altered.”
Changes made could have included a re-evaluation of Khan’s permission to attend the event at which he carried out the attack — and was subsequently killed by police.
The inquest heard that Skelton was “disappointed” that information on the heightened threat level was not shared with him, particularly as he had attended nearly 30 meetings in which police and probation officers discussed the kind of permissions Khan should be entitled to.
Shortly before the attack, Skelton wrote an official assessment that concluded: “Khan’s likelihood of reoffending and risk of extremist offending is low.”
He added: “Since his release on 24 December 2018 … there has been no demonstration of attitudes supporting or justifying offending of any nature.”
Skelton said he was not made aware of a psychological report from May that year that suggested Khan’s engagement with prisoner rehabilitation programs was “superficial,” and he could not remember being shown a police document that described Khan as “calculating in his behaviour.”
Skelton told the inquest that he was “astounded” when he was told of Khan’s attack, adding: “From nowhere did I get any information that would suggest him returning to any of his (terrorist) behaviors.”
Representatives from MI5 will be called to give evidence at a later stage in the inquiry.
Source: Arab News