MI5 admit they were ‘too slow’ in tracking Manchester bomber
A report by the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) issued a wide-ranging attack on the domestic security service, noting that despite having cause to monitor Abedi upon his return to the UK from Libya, MI5 failed to adequately do so.
The report also admonished the government for failing to learn the lesson from various attacks dating back 13 years. The committee stated that one failing identified was so sensitive that they decided against making it public.
Twenty-two people, many of them children, died in the attack at the Manchester Arena where US singer Ariana Grande was performing. Abedi, who killed himself in the attack, had returned from Libya just days before the attack.
The attacker is believed to have been taught how to make bombs during his time in then-war-torn Libya. Upon returning to Manchester where he was born, Abedi constructed his device.
MI5 was aware of Abedi and had planned to review his risk status, according to a previous report. However, the meeting was scheduled to place after the attack.
The ISC condemned the agency for not taking “follow-up action” after Abedi visited a terrorist organizer in prison. MI5 were also condemned for not monitoring Abedi’s movements following his return from Libya.
"MI5 have since admitted that given the information they had on Abedi, they should have done so," the committee stated.
"Abedi had been flagged for review but MI5's systems moved too slowly."
While the ISC noted that it was "it is impossible to say whether these would have prevented the devastating attack."
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