LONDON (CelebrityAccess) — The deadly bombing attack that killed 22 people following an Ariana Grande at Manchester Arena last May might have been prevented if British security services had handled differently according to an independent review.
The review, by lawyer David Anderson acting on orders by Home Secretary Amber Rudd, determined that Manchester bomber Salman Abedi wasn’t being actively investigated but had been previously identified as a “subject of interest” according to The Guardian.
Abedi struck on May 22nd and was considered by MI5 as a former subject of interest, who had been investigated previously but who had been downgraded as a potential threat.
An MI5 meeting to discuss a data assessment tool that had flagged Abedi as a possible serious threat was scheduled for May 31st, nine days after the Manchester Arena attack.
Briefing reporters about the review, Anderson said security service MI5 misread intelligence about Abedi and investigated Abedi’s connection to organized crime rather than terrorism.
Anderson also noted that Abedi could have been stopped at airport customs when returning from Libya earlier in the year.
“With the benefit of hindsight, intelligence was misinterpreted in 2017,” Anderson told reporters.
“In early 2017, MI5 nonetheless received intelligence on him, which was assessed as not being related to terrorism. In retrospect, the intelligence can be seen to be highly relevant. Had an investigation been reopened at the time, it cannot be known whether Abedi’s plans could have been stopped. MI5 assesses that it would have been unlikely,” home secretary Amber Rudd said in a statement to the House of Commons.