MI5 was almost a week late in submitting a bid to put Michael Adebowale under heightened surveillance, only submitting it to the Home Office the day before he and Michael Adebolajo murdered Fusilier Lee Rigby, it has emerged.
Despite having a target time of seven days, the government’s Intelligence and Security Committee found the application took almost twice that time. If it had been submitted within the target time frame, the report found Adebowale would almost certainly have been under “intrusive” scrutiny in the days leading up to – and the day of – the attack.
The report went on to say while it was “improbable” that any coverage would have uncovered Adebowale’s plans, the delay was “significant”.
If the application had not taken nearly twice as long as it should have, MI5 would probably have had these techniques in place in the days before the attack.
While post-event analysis has not provided any evidence that these techniques would have revealed anything that might have helped prevent the attack on 22 May 2013, there can be no certainty of this.
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ITV's UK Editor Rohit Kachroo looks at the findings of a report into the extent of intelligence agencies' knowledge of Lee Rigby's killers