UPI : Counter-terrorism chief resigns over error

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Counter-terrorism chief resigns over error

April 9, 2009

LONDON, April 9 (UPI) -- The counter-terrorism chief at Britain's Scotland Yard resigned Thursday after admitting he nearly blew a security operation against a suspected al-Qaida cell.

Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick said he "deeply regretted" jeopardizing raids planned for early Thursday but that had to be pushed ahead to Wednesday afternoon, The Times of London reported.

Wednesday's raids resulted in 12 arrests at eight locations in Manchester and Merseyside.

Information about the operation was visible through a transparent folder Quick was carrying Wednesday when he went to brief British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The information was captured on film by a photojournalist across the street and later published, The Times said.

"I have today offered my resignation in the knowledge that my action could have compromised a major counter-terrorism operation," Quick said in a statement. "I deeply regret the disruption caused to colleagues undertaking the operation and remain grateful for the way in which they adapted quickly and professionally to a revised timescale."

Quick will be replaced by Assistant Commissioner John Yates, who led an investigation into former Prime Minister Tony Blair, The Times said.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said Quick told her he thought his position was "untenable" after the photos were published. She thanked him "for all the outstanding work he has done in this role which has helped keep this country safe."

© 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.