(PresidentialWire.com)- The final report on the inquiry into the 2017 Manchester Arena attack released last Thursday found that the UK’s domestic intelligence agency failed to act quickly enough on intelligence about the bomber, missing an opportunity to prevent the attack, the Associated Press reported.
According to John Saunders, the retired judge who headed up the inquiry, one MI5 officer admitted that the agency had intelligence about Salman Abedi and considered him a possible national security threat but didn’t share the information quickly enough.
Saunders described the agency’s failure to take action as a “significant missed opportunity” that could have “prevented the attack.”
Ken McCallum, the Director General of MI5, issued a profound apology for MI5’s failure to prevent the attack in a televised statement last week. He said while it is difficult to collect covert intelligence, had the agency seized “the slim chance we had,” there might not have been “such appalling loss and trauma.”
The 22-year-old Abedi set off a backpack bomb in the foyer of the arena at the end of the Ariana Grande concert on May 22, 2017, as thousands of concert-goers, including many young people and children, were leaving the venue, killing 22 people and injuring over 100 others. Abadi was among the dead.
In 2020, Hashem Abedi, the brother of the bomber, was convicted of helping plan the attack. He is serving a life sentence.
According to Judge Saunders, if MI5 had acted on the intel, it could have potentially stopped Abedi four days before the bombing when he arrived at Manchester Airport on a flight from Libya.
Several witnesses from MI5 gave evidence behind closed doors during the inquiry.
In 2014, MI5 officials considered Abedi a “subject of interest” but closed his file a short time later after they deemed him low-risk.
Saunders also criticized authorities for failing to refer Abadi to the Prevent counterterrorism program.