The Intelligence and Security Committee’s Report

The Intelligence and Security Committee’s Report into the London Terrorist Attacks on 7 July 2005 sets out a number of conclusions and recommendations based on its work examining the intelligence and assessment prior to the July terrorist attacks in London. The report suggests that numerous terrorist plots in the UK have been thwarted by the intelligence and security agencies since September 11, three of them since July 2005.

Prior to 7 July attacks, the Security Services had come across Siddique Khan and Shazad Tanweer on the peripheries of other surveillance and investigatative operations. At that time their identities were unknown to the Security Services and there was no appreciation of their subsequent significance. The report concluded that the decisions not to give greater investigative priority to these two individuals were understandable.

The Committee expressed concern that more needs to be done to improve the way the Security Services and Police Special Branches come together in a combined and coherent way to tackle the ‘home grown’ threat. The July attacks have acted as a catalyst for change within the intelligence and security Agencies. Recent actions – including the establishment of new stations at home and overseas – do show that more improvement was necessary. The story of what was known about the 7 July group prior to July indicates that if more resources had been in place sooner the chances of preventing the July attacks could have increased. Greater coverage in Pakistan, or more resources generally in the UK, might have alerted the Agencies to the intentions of the 7 July group.

The report does welcome the efforts and successes of the Security Agencies and the Police but believe there are lessons to be learnt from the attacks that took place in London on 7 July 2005. It could be contended that these lessons aren’t new. Discussion of poor resourcing and interoperability between agencies and services have been taking place amongst officials and experts for a long time. One can hope that a year on, these issues can be faced and actions implemented.


By Rebecca Cox, Head of Counter-Terrorism and Resilience


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