Thursday, May 20, 2010

Arrest of 'Easter bombers' led to international al-Qaeda network

When MI5 received a tip-off about a possible al-Qaeda cell in the north west of England last year, the security service had no inkling it was about to smash a terrorist plot to cause mass murder on both sides of the Atlantic. Over the following weeks and months agents would gather evidence which left no doubt that Muslim fanatics were not only planning to blow up shopping centres in Manchester, but were also connected to a planned attack on New York’s transport network which would have been the worst US atrocity since 9/11. Operation Pathway, as the investigation was codenamed, began in February last year, when MI5 began looking at a Muslim man in his forties living in the inner-city area of Cheetham Hill, Manchester.

The man was working in a hair products company where he had access to bomb making materials, causing instant concern. His roommate, Abid Naseer, had arrived in Britain from Pakistan on a student visa two years earlier, exploiting a system he knew well from working at an office in Pakistan where he handed out advice for John Moores University in Liverpool. Once in Britain, Naseer, 24, and his co-conspirators dropped out of their courses and began work as a security guard, maintaining their student status by signing up for bogus courses at the Manchester College of Professional Studies. MI5 noted that Naseer and others spent a lot of time at the Cyber Net cafĂ© in Cheetham Hill, and GCHQ began monitoring their emails. Analysts believed the emails were in code and that Naseer was telling an al-Qaeda contact in Pakistan about the availability of different bomb-making materials, substituting girls’ names for chemicals.



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Who am I?

I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

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