Another Informant Lost in a Defeat List?

Sky News reports on an investigation into Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, who killed British soldier Lee Rigby in May 2013.

The report apparently admits that MI5 tried to recruit Adebolajo — but it claims it didn’t have him under close surveillance and so couldn’t see him planning his attack.

 The Kenyans passed him over to the British and MI5 tried to recruit him as an informant.

[snip]

MI5 has always maintained that although Adebolajo was on their radar, he was not considered a high priority, and therefore not worthy of a time-consuming, resource-sapping surveillance operation, which are reserved for the most dangerous suspects.

Sky News understands the investigation is likely to sympathise with that decision, although the committee, chaired by Sir Malcolm Rifkind, will say there were clues in the online behaviour of Adebolajo.

While it might have been possible to uncover his plot if his online activity been monitored, requests to monitor his phone or internet activity would not have passed the requisite threshold because he was not deemed high risk.

I’ve pointed before to the evidence that informants are hidden in databases, as a way to deconflict them.

Which, in a case like this, would lead the British government to ignore Adebolajo’s online posting showing him prepping an attack, which would lead to one of theirs getting killed.

I’m not certain that’s what happened, but there does seem to be a pattern of attempted or known informants launching terror attacks.

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6 replies
  1. DannyD says:

    Could it also be, that the attempted recruitment process is what radicalized him?

    Based on the reports from recruitment targets here, it’s not a friendly process. Attempting to blackmail someone into becoming an informant doesn’t really endear you to them, and could just tip them over the edge. A better approach would be to ‘convince’ rather than ‘coerce’.

    Of course, if MI5 had unfetteted powers to properly monitor everything, this wouldn’t have happened. Seems the solution to that is simply to consider anyone and everyone as ‘high risk’ and be done with it.

  2. wallace says:

    Could it also be..the government agents do not want to be identified by two hops..because..well.. if govenrment engineered terrorist attacks are discovered.. well..you know what would happen. Recent events suggests the possibility.

  3. bevin says:

    “Of course, if MI5 had unfetteted powers to properly monitor everything, this wouldn’t have happened. Seems the solution to that is simply to consider anyone and everyone as ‘high risk’ and be done with it.”

    You are joking, aren’t you?

    • DannyD says:

      Yes, I’m joking.

      Its not outside the realm of imagination though, just as every communication to anyone here has been deemed ‘relevant to a counter terrorism investigation’.

      Just saying…

  4. Rayne says:

    Speaking of patterns, a quote comes to mind:

    Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times, it’s enemy action.

    Goldfinger, by Ian Fleming

    Hmm.

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