Sun : Terror suspect was allowed to walk free and do whatever he wanted... this shambles is just typical

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Terror suspect was allowed to walk free and do whatever he wanted... this shambles is just typical

By BEN ASHFORD and ANTHONY FRANCE | April 11, 2009

POLICE chiefs blasted Britain’s immigration shambles last night as they revealed a terror suspect was allowed in with dodgy visa papers.

The Pakistani was stopped by immigration officers at Manchester airport.

But incredibly he was allowed to walk free — and simply told to report back at a future date.

Days later the unnamed suspect was arrested as anti-terror cops swooped on an internet café in Manchester.

A senior police source told The Sun: “It was a shambles, but absolutely typical of immigration in this country — we see this sort of thing all the time.

“This man’s documents were all over the place when he landed. He was allowed to proceed on the basis that he had to come back at a later date and show them correct documents.

“He was never going to do that. He was effectively free to do whatever he wanted.” Eleven of the 12 suspects seized this week are Pakistanis who entered Britain on student visas.

One of them has today been released into the custody of the UK Borders Agency.

Cops were today given longer to question the rest of the terror suspects.

The source added: “Most of them hadn’t been near a college, yet somehow they got visas.”

The revelation is a major embarrassment for Immigration Minister Phil Woolas, who yesterday insisted Britain’s security processes were world-class.

Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said: “We desperately need proper policing of our borders but despite all the promises from this Government, it simply is not happening.”

Police probing the alleged terror plot discovered the immigration blunder as officers faced a race against time to find a suspected bomb factory.

Detectives fear an al-Qaeda cell has gathered enough materials to cause devastation in Manchester, but they have been unable to locate key components despite hunts in Liverpool, Manchester and Clitheroe, Lancs.

They were searching a second flat in Liverpool yesterday as they continued to quiz suspects including alleged ringleader Abid Naseer, 22, Hamza Shenwari, Sultan Sher and Abdul Wahab Khan.

It also emerged that another unnamed suspect was threatened with deportation after immigration officials found he was working as a security guard instead of studying — but he was allowed to stay.

Two security guards seized in Clitheroe were named locally as Johnus Khan and Umar Farooq.

Photos found at an address indicated targets for an alleged bomb attack included the Arndale and Trafford shopping centres, the Birdcage nightclub and St Ann’s Square in Manchester.

Intelligence indicated a plot to strike over Easter.

Bungling anti-terror chief Bob Quick then unwittingly revealed in public a secret document showing details of planned raids.

His gaffe forced cops to swoop immediately. Mr Quick later resigned as Assistant Commissioner with the Met Police.

Two suspects were arrested in Pakistan yesterday, security sources said.

They are suspected of using coded emails to pass orders from al-Qaeda chiefs to plotters in the Manchester area.

Terror chiefs are said to have ordered an Easter strike as part of a renewed assault on Britain.

An intelligence source said: “There is evidence that al-Qaeda are re-focusing their sights on the UK. The threat has never gone away but it has been stepped up in recent months.”

Pakistan’s High Commissioner to the UK yesterday claimed Britain carried out insufficient checks on foreign students.

Wajid Shamsul Hasan said Pakistani authorities could help with checks on applicants — but were not allowed to.

Mr Woolas insisted there was no guarantee that extra visa checks would stop terrorists getting in.

CTV : U.K. police release 1 man arrested in terror raids

Saturday, April 11, 2009

U.K. police release 1 man arrested in terror raids

The Associated Press | April 11, 2009

LONDON -- One of 12 people arrested on suspicion of planning a major terror attack in Britain has been released without charge and was being questioned by immigration authorities, officials said Saturday.

The unidentified 18 year old is now in the custody of the U.K. Border Agency, a police spokeswoman said on condition of anonymity in keeping with departmental policy. She said the other 11 suspects arrested in a series of raids in northern England three days ago are still in custody and being questioned.

British officials have not released details about the reported terror plot, but Prime Minister Gordon Brown called it "very big." British media have suggested that an attack could have been timed to coincide with the Easter holiday and that pictures of supermarkets were uncovered by police hunting for evidence in the northern cities of Liverpool and Manchester.

Most of those in custody were Pakistanis living in Britain on student visas, and the arrests have roiled relations between Pakistan and Britain. News of the alleged plot also has raised questions about the strength of the U.K.'s immigration system. Opposition leaders are calling for a crackdown on the student visa system, which allows tens of thousands of foreigners into Britain each year.

Brown and British Foreign Secretary David Miliband have spoken with their Pakistani counterparts about the arrests, but a senior Pakistani official said Saturday that the British government has not shared any information about the suspects.

Pakistani Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik told reporters in Islamabad that his government wants Britain to supply the information about the suspects so it can "verify whether they are Pakistanis" and possibly "bring these culprits to justice," especially if they have any links with al-Qaida.

British media have suggested that if there is insufficient evidence to charge the Pakistani suspects, they could be deported home on national security grounds. But Malik said that if Britain has enough evidence to charge and prosecute any of the suspects that should happen in Britain.

Guardian : Terror bomb plot intelligence came from MI6's Pakistan operation

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Terror bomb plot intelligence came from MI6's Pakistan operation

• Officers believed it was too risky not to act
• Searches fail to find evidence of conspiracy

Vikram Dodd, Nick Watt and Martin Wainwright | April 11, 2009

Key intelligence that led to security officials fearing a terrorist cell was to launch a large-scale bomb attack on British soil came from MI6 operations targeting Pakistan, the Guardian has learned.

Sources with knowledge of the investigation say the intelligence gathered first from abroad and then in Britain before Wednesday's raids, left counterterrorism officials believing there was too high a risk of an "imminent" attempt to bomb targets in Britain and cause mass casualties.

However, subsequent, intensive searches of at least 10 addresses linked to the suspected al-Qaida plot in northern Britain have so far failed to turn up any clear evidence of a terrorist conspiracy, despite the huge resources devoted.

Forty-eight hours after the arrests, sources close to the inquiry say no evidence has been found of bombs, bomb-making parts, precursor chemicals to make explosives, a bomb factory, weapons or ammunition.

The jigsaw of intelligence studied before the Wednesday raids left all agencies - from the police, to security services to Whitehall officials - convinced they had to arrest the 12 people detained. Yesterday they were still in custody. Investigators say the operation is at an early stage.

Examination of computers recovered from raids in Manchester, Liverpool and Clitheroe and their hard drives has only just begun. In past cases, data recovered from computers has been a source of incriminating evidence. Other forensic tests are also at an early stage.

One senior source said "nothing of huge significance" had been found, and accepted it was possible that no evidence could emerge before the 28-day limit to hold terrorism suspect expires.

But the source added: "There is lots of material that when put together may take us somewhere. It will be a long and drawn out investigation.

"If we don't charge it will look bad, but we had to take action. Was there any alternative; no there wasn't."

A central mystery remains how counterterrorism officials could believe such a serious plot existed when they were unsure of seemingly basic elements of the alleged conspiracy, such as the targets.

The Guardian has spoken to several informed sources with knowledge of the case, who paint a picture of fragments of intelligence coming in and fuelling a mounting concern that Britain was facing one of it's worst terrorist atrocities. They spoke on condition of anonymity.

Two to three weeks ago, intelligence from operations carried out in Pakistan by MI6, Britain's foreign intelligence agency, provided names of suspected members of an al-Qaida trained network in Britain.

That intelligence as well as the interception of calls and emails led UK security officials and police to fear a large terrorist attack was being planned in Britain.

The monitoring of calls and emails also led officials to believe a link existed between suspected al-Qaida commanders in Pakistan and the people in the UK.

An informed source said the plot was "al-Qaida driven". "There was concern [al-Qaida] was directing operations ... recruiting people to travel to this country, direct their operations and tell them what to do."

A large surveillance operation was put into place.

Some of those arrested were seen taking photographs near a Manchester nightclub, the Birdcage, and the Trafford shopping centre. The suspects were also seen taking photographs near other places in and around Manchester which are usually crowded.

The source said the suspect's behaviour was consistent with the way terrorists carry out reconnaissance ahead of an attack. But it was also consistent with a group of students in a new area taking photographs of themselves to show friends and family.

"There is no way we would use these [counterterrorism] powers for a bunch of people going around Manchester taking photographs," said the source.

Photographs of the nightclub and shopping centre have been recovered in the raids, but three separate sources continue to insist this can not be taken as evidence of targets.

A Whitehall source said: "They were not observed doing much suspicious."

Compared to other counter-surveillance operations carried out before arrest, the suspects were not seen buying materials that could be used to make explosives or other equipment known to have uses in making improvised explosive devices.

Then, several days ago, the surveillance operation targeting the 11 Pakistani nationals and one Briton heard a discussion about dates, including the Easter bank holiday weekend, taken as a reference to a possible date to stage the attack.

The decision was reached that the intelligence pointed to an imminent attack.

All agencies involved believed the men being watched had to be arrested.

One driving factor was the scale of feared casualties. "Is this territory where you can take a risk; no it's not," said the source.

Police activity was scaled down yesterday at the addresses being searched.

The procession of forensic officers with crates and bags from the houses, flats and internet cafes in Manchester and Liverpool came to halt early in the day.

In Liverpool, neighbours expressed their fears. Mother-of-five Marie Lee, 37, said: "People are reading stories about bomb factories but we've had nothing official to put our fears at rest."

Newsweek : A Dead Man Scheming?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Dead Man Scheming?

By Mark Hosenball | NEWSWEEK | Published Apr 11, 2009 | From the magazine issue dated Apr 20, 2009

It's a mystery what the head of Scotland Yard's anti-terrorism squad was thinking when he walked into the U.K. prime minister's office at 10 Downing Street carrying in plain view a "secret" report about Al Qaeda's attack planning. News photos of Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick's careless move compromised a police crackdown, forcing U.K. officials to swoop in and arrest 12 suspects—all but one of them Pakistani nationals—in connection with an alleged Easter holiday plot to attack shopping centers and a nightclub in northern England. Quick resigned the next day. Another mystery remains unsolved: whether Rashid Rauf, a "high value" Qaeda target during the Bush administration and one of the Easter plot's alleged masterminds, is alive or dead. U.S. officials believe that Rauf was killed just before last Thanksgiving by a CIA-operated Predator drone strike in Pakistan's lawless North Waziristan. But according to one U.K. expert who's been briefed on the case, some British investigators— and Rauf's own family—think he may have survived. (A U.K. spokesperson had no comment on the matter.)

Rauf, a former British resident, was allegedly a central figure in an August 2006 plot by U.K.-based terrorists to blow up transatlantic airliners. The plot was broken up after authorities in Pakistan arrested Rauf. But in December 2007, he escaped from custody as he was being transferred back to prison from a court hearing in Islamabad. (He allegedly fled via a bathroom window after his guards allowed him to stop for a prayer break; U.S. officials suspected an "inside job.") The White House was delighted when the Predator operation supposedly took him out. But soon after the missile strike, which U.S. officials said killed five men, including Rauf, his Pakistani lawyer claimed he was still alive and dared authorities to produce the body—which they were apparently unable to do.

Three current and former U.S. officials, who asked for anonymity when discussing a sensitive matter, told NEWSWEEK that U.S. agencies still believe Rauf was killed in the strike. "While it is not 100 percent confirmed," said one of the officials, "there are good reasons to believe Rashid Rauf is dead." In most Predator operations, officials in Washington have overhead video feeds that enable them to follow targets prior to a missile firing and to see bodies following the attack. But sometimes, another of the officials said, the evidence is more ambiguous. "If he is alive," the official added, "we should regard this guy as a serious threat to U.S. interests." And even if he's dead, U.S. and U.K. officials said it's possible the Easter plot was hatched prior to November 2008—meaning that Rauf's reach may extend beyond the grave.

© 2009

Chronicle : Tyneside businessman's shock at terror arrests

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tyneside businessman's shock at terror arrests

by Lisa Hutchinson | April 11, 2009

A TYNESIDE businessman caught up in the country’s biggest suspected terror plot since 7/7 has told how he became linked to the bomb plot.

Muhammad Haroon Rashid today spoke out about a police swoop in which 12 men were arrested in a series of raids, including two men working for his security firm.

The pair have been named by Mr Rashid as Umar Farooq, who was studying hotel management in Manchester, and Johnus Khan.

Mr Rashid, 26, said he was stunned to hear of their arrest, at a branch of Homebase, in Clitheroe, Lancashire, where they were security guards.

The pair were employed by an agency called Sky Interserve UK Ltd, based in Benwell, in Newcastle’s West End, after being subcontracted by Essex-based Manpower.

Mr Rashid said he had put forward the two men, both in their mid-20s and living in Liverpool, for the security guard roles. Mr Rashid, who has lived in Newcastle’s West End since moving to the UK from Pakistan four years ago, said: “I have a small recruitment company with a few people on my books.

“Manpower came to me wanting security guards and I recommended these two men. I have no involvement in checking if they have visas or the correct documents to work.

“Someone from Manpower spoke to them and, I assume, did the relevant checks. I don’t have details on them.”

Greater Manchester Police said inquiries into the alleged plot were ongoing and it was not in a position to confirm the identities of anyone arrested. It is believed those arrested were members of the alleged al Qaeda cell suspected of plotting a Bank Holiday terror atrocity. Others arrested worked for a firm at Manchester Airport.

It is said at least one drove vans for a cargo company which has access to sensitive locations and two had passed security industry checks enabling them to guard premises overnight.

But Mr Rashid said: “I know Umar through a friend and he has lived in the UK for five or six years after moving from Pakistan to study in Manchester.

“I have met him before and was really shocked to hear about his arrest. Johnus is a friend of his but I have never met him. As far as I know they have both worked for other companies as full-time security guards. I recommended them on April 2 and that was the last involvement I had.

“I was really surprised to hear they had been arrested and linked to alleged terrorism. I have spoken with friends of theirs and they think it is a mistake.”

Armed officers swooped on at least 14 addresses, including homes, flats, and an internet cafe, during six hours of frantic activity on Wednesday night.

The suspects – 11 Pakistani and one UK-born British national – were still being held today.

Liverpool Echo : Teen arrested over alleged terror bomb plot handed over to UK Border Agency custody

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Teen arrested over alleged terror bomb plot handed over to UK Border Agency custody

April 11, 2009

An 18-year-old arrested over an alleged terror bomb plot in north-west England has been released into UK Border Agency custody it emerged today.

Officers have been granted a further week to question the other 11 suspects as searches continue at 10 premises including a Liverpool building.

It has been reported that search teams have found images of Manchester shopping centres.

It is understood that the 18-year-old will now be deported. The remaining suspects - aged 22 to 41 - are being held at locations across the country, including four in the West Midlands.

The men were arrested during raids in Liverpool, the Cheetham Hill area of Manchester, and Clitheroe in Lancashire last week.

Staff at the Arndale and Trafford Centres said they had not been informed of any threat and that stores were operating as normal over the Easter weekend.

Liverpool Echo : Bomb factory search spreads to another flat in Liverpool

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Bomb factory search spreads to another flat in Liverpool

Liverpool Echo | April 11, 2009

FORENSIC officers were searching a second flat in Liverpool city centre as the hunt for an Al Qaida bomb-making factory was stepped up.

Counter-terrorism police entered an additional address on Highgate Street, Edge Hill, near to where two suspects were arrested on Wednesday.

Yesterday a forensic team wheeled in heavy duty lighting equipment including rigs and generators as they scoured the premises for clues.

Officers were seen to bring out clear plastic bags which appeared to contain plastic containers and three black bags.

Police were stationed in two corridors in the flats and took residents’ names and dates of birth in their quest for information.

But at around 7 last night police vehicles began to leave the flats and the police tape was removed.

Indian national Anas Ansari, 25, who studies nautical science at Liverpool John Moores’ University, said: “I finished university and came home and police were checking our IDs and logging it down.

“We had to sign a log sheet along with the date and the time.”

Piles of rubbish and discarded household furniture yesterday lay in the grounds of the flats, many of which are boarded up with rusting steel sheets.

Betty Morgan, 75, who lives opposite the complex, said: “When the police came on Wednesday they cordoned the road off.

“We could not get out and everyone was told to shut their doors and windows.

“Some people couldn’t get into the road and St Mary’s church opened the doors to them. The police were in a student’s flat and I could see torches were being used.

“It did surprise me because I did not think that anything to do with terrorism was going on over there.

“They would never mix with the community and we would just see them in the morning coming home from their shopping run.

“Cars come in the night, but it’s only to drop them off from work because they work in restaurants.”

A neighbour, who did not want to be named, confirmed she saw police take away two containers from the flat.

One student resident said there were 12 separate four-bedroom flats and the landlord charged £460pcm.

Two houses were also cordoned off on Cedar Road, Toxteth, as police continued searches connected with the terror plot.

Panels have been broken on the front door of one of the houses and the bay window has also been smashed.

A Cedar Grove resident told the ECHO: “There were about 10 police men and four people came out who were of Asian origin.

“They were in handcuffs and were taken away in police vans. The police also closed the road off.

“The people who lived there would never mingle with the community and always stuck to their own. It’s frightening to think you may have terrorists living and plotting an attack on your street. It just shows you just don’t know who you are living by.”

Eleven Pakistani nationals and one UK-born Briton were being questioned in different parts of the country in connection with the alleged plot.

A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said: “Twelve suspects remain in custody in various locations across the country.

“A further address on Highgate Street, Liverpool, is also being searched, bringing the total number of addresses being searched to 10.”

The 12 being questioned over alleged Al Qaida terror plot

THE 12 men who have been detained across the UK can be detained for up to 28 days.

A total of 10 of the men hold student visas.

Downing Street revealed yesterday that Prime Minister Gordon Brown had spoken with the President of Pakistan about the threat from terrorism.

The talks were held amid concern about the number of suspects who had come to the UK from Pakistan on student visas.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “The President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Gordon Brown spoke by telephone from No 10 last night.”

But Pakistan’s High Commissioner to the UK said not enough was being done by the British authorities to carry out checks on foreign students.

Mirror : Blame Phil Woolas ..not Bob Quick over suspected bomb plot

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Blame Phil Woolas ..not Bob Quick over suspected bomb plot

By Fiona McIntosh | April 11, 2009

Anti-terror chief Bob Quick carried the can for his stupidity in showing documents outlining a suspected bomb plot. He has since apologised and resigned.

Meanwhile the alleged plot to bomb shops in Manchester this Easter weekend was successfully foiled by police. For that we should all be incredibly grateful. Surely the villain of this story is not the bungling police chief but the people responsible for letting any possible terrorists into the country in the first place.

In this case, turns out 10 of the 12 men held in police raids across North-West England were Pakistanis who were let in by the Home Office on student visas.

Only last week Immigration Minister Phil Woolas admitted that student visas were “the major loophole in Britain’s border controls”.

So why the hell wasn’t something done about this appallingly irresponsible loophole earlier? That’s where the real blame lies.

BBC : Terror raid teenager handed over

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Terror raid teenager handed over

April 11, 2009

An 18-year-old arrested over an alleged terror bomb plot in north-west England has been released into UK Border Agency custody, police have said.

Officers have been granted a further week to question the other 11 suspects as searches continue at 10 premises in Manchester and Liverpool.

Sources say search teams have found images of Manchester shopping centres.

Ministers rejected claims that border controls were lax, after it emerged 10 of the suspects were on student visas.

It is widely expected that the 18-year-old will be deported, according to the BBC's Chris Buckler.

The remaining suspects - aged 22 to 41 - are being held at locations across the country, including four in the West Midlands, police say.

They were arrested during raids in the Cheetham Hill area of Manchester, Liverpool and Clitheroe in Lancashire.

Police say they have not identified any specific targets. However, the BBC understands that images found during searches showed the Arndale and Trafford Centre shopping complexes, Birdcage nightclub and St Ann's Square.

Staff at the Arndale and Trafford Centres said they had not been informed of any threat and that stores were operating as normal over the Easter weekend.

Police are not thought to have recovered any explosive devices during their searches. BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner said his understanding was that the alleged plot had been at the "aspirational, not operational" stage.

Meanwhile, critics of the UK's border controls have pointed to alleged deficiencies within the student visa system and the fact that 10 of the suspects had such visas.

Latest Home Office figures show that between April 2004 and April 2008 about 42,000 Pakistani nationals entered the UK on student visas.

Conservative shadow home secretary Chris Grayling called on the government to "urgently step up" background checks on students from countries linked to terror.

'Inadequate checks'

The chairman of immigration campaign group Migrationwatch UK, Sir Andrew Green, said "inadequate" checks on student visas had left a "gaping hole" in Britain's borders.

"Applicants from countries of concern like Pakistan and North Africa should be given a full interview by a UK-based visa officer and only admitted if they can demonstrate that they are genuine," he said.

Former London Mayor, Ken Livingstone, said terrorists would "find a way around" any changes to the visa system.

"We catch these people because of electronic surveillance and double agents and we aren't going to pick one up easily at the border," he said.

Footage of police raiding a flat in Cheetham Hill on Wednesday

The Home Office says the UK student visa system was tightened in September 2007.

Pakistani applicants went through vetting procedures such as fingerprint tests and checks against criminal and counter-terrorism databases, a spokesman said.

From autumn this year, British universities will also be obliged to check the names of overseas students against a government database of terror suspects.

It is unknown whether any of the suspects arrested on Wednesday applied for their visas after September 2007.

After Wednesday's raids Prime Minister Gordon Brown challenged Pakistan to do more to weed out potential extremists who might target the UK.

Immigration minister Phil Woolas then rejected criticism from Pakistan's High Commissioner, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, who accused the UK of refusing help with background checks.

A Downing Street spokesman has since confirmed that Mr Brown and President Asif Ali Zardari have spoken on the telephone and agreed "the UK and Pakistan share a serious threat from terrorism and violent extremism".

Independent : Raids on 'bomb plotters' fail to unearth explosives

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Raids on 'bomb plotters' fail to unearth explosives

Met's counter-terrorism chief quits after revealing details of operation

By Kim Sengupta, Mark Hughes and Nigel Morris | April 10, 2009

Raids to foil an alleged al-Qa'ida bomb plot, hurriedly brought forward after a blunder by a senior police officer, are yet to uncover any explosives or firearms, according to senior security sources. But further pressure was growing on the government last night after after it emerged that the suspects being questioned today may have exploited lax student visa regulations to enter the UK from Pakistan.

Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick, the Metropolitan Police's counter-terrorism chief, resigned yesterday amid the furore which followed his being photographed carrying secret documents about the anti-terrorist mission to a Downing Street briefing.

Although the details on the document were not published in the British media following a prohibitive Ministry of Defence D-Notice, they appeared on an American website. It forced the police to carry out arrests of 12 suspects and searches of 14 addresses in north-west England in broad daylight, hours before they planned to do so.

Police have taken away computers, literature, maps and clothing from the premises they raided, as well as a car, but they have not, so far, found the bomb-making material needed to carry out the supposedly "imminent" multiple attacks by the suspects.

Greater Manchester Police said yesterday that they were continuing to gather evidence. Chief Constable Peter Fahy acknowledged that it was not ideal that the operation had to be moved forward but added that officers were used to dealing with "fast-moving situations".

According to security sources, some of the suspects had been trailed to pubs and nightclubs as well as shopping centres. However, Mr Fahy said: "There is no particular threat against any particular location ... I would like to say I would have no hesitation, or any of my family, in using any of those locations that have been mentioned."

Senior officers are, however, aware that being forced to move prematurely could have damaging consequences for subsequent prosecutions.

Ten of the 12 arrests on Wednesday were carried out between 5pm and 6pm. Two more men were held from just after 10pm. Eleven of the men hold Pakistani nationality and the twelfth is British of Pakistani extraction. At least seven of the men are said to have entered the UK on student visas and four are believed to have links with the city of Karachi.

According to the confidential briefing document, 10 of those arrested were "student visas Pakistan-born nationals": ie Pakistani citizens studying in Britain. Gordon Brown yesterday called on Pakistan to do more to tackle the "increasing" terrorism links the country has with Britain. The Prime Minister said: "One of the lessons we have learned from the past few years is that Pakistan has to do more to root out terrorist elements in its country as well."

He added: "We know that there are links between terrorists in Britain and terrorists in Pakistan. That is an important issue for us to follow through and that's why I will be talking to President Zardari about what Pakistan can do to help us in the future." Mr Brown defended the police operation, saying: "We are dealing with a very big terrorist plot. We must not forget that the police have been successful in carrying out their arrests ... We had to act pre-emptively to ensure the safety of the public."

Bob Quick's resignation came after a meeting with Sir Paul Stephenson and the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, yesterday morning, when it was agreed the officer would stand down. Sources said it was decided that Scotland Yard would make the announcement, but before they could do so, the London mayor Boris Johnson broke the news on Radio 4's Today programme after being told himself at 7.30am. Home Office sources saccused Mr Johnson of trying to make political capital out of the situation.

Later, Mr Quick said in a statement: "I have today offered my resignation in the knowledge that my action could have compromised a major counter-terrorism operation."

Sir Paul Stephenson, the Scotland Yard commissioner, paid tribute to Mr Quick and said John Yates, formerly the assistant commissioner of the serious crime directorate, has replaced him.

The Quick document: Decoded

The operation

Operation Pathway was, as Mr Quick's note makes clear, secret. It had been in the planning for two months and suspects had been under surveillance. As the note details, it was in relation to "suspected AQ attack planning within the UK". AQ refers to al-Qa'ida and the attacks were said to relate to targets in the North-west. Obvious places such as the Arndale shopping centre and Old Trafford football ground have been mentioned, but not confirmed.

The suspects

The briefing sheet refers to 11 subjects, 10 Pakistanis and one British national. In actual fact the raids revealed a further, unexpected, Pakistan-born national who was also arrested on suspicion of terror offences. The men were aged between their mid-teens and 41 years old.

The addresses

The plan, as detailed on Mr Quick's document, was to make arrests at seven addresses; three by Greater Manchester Police, three by officers from Merseyside and one in Lancashire. After the pictures of Mr Quick were taken the operation was brought forward and only six arrests went ahead as planned: two at a house on Galsworthy Avenue, Cheetham Hill, Manchester, three at Cedar Grove, Toxteth and one at a flat on Earle Road, Merseyside. The others were arrested; one at Liverpool John Moores University, two at a Homebase store in Clitheroe, two at a cyber café in Cheetham Hill Road and one in a white van on the M602 motorway.

The plan

The sheet refers to dynamic entry by firearms teams. This simply means that armed officers planned to raid the homes by breaking the doors down. The raids should have taken place sometime between 2am and 6am yesterday morning as opposed to during Wednesday evening. The reason for this is that suspects are at their most vulnerable when tired and unlikely to fight back. It is also likely they would have been asleep at this time and therefore undressed and unlikely to be carrying weapons.

The command structures

The note reveals the names of all of the senior officers in charge of the investigation – names that The Independent had chosen not to report – including the SIO – Senior Investigating Officer and the three Gold commanders – officers who would be in charge of overseeing the operation in each region.

The media strategy

Also mentioned is confirmation that a plan of what details were to be released to the media, and when, was in place. Like the rest of the details, it too was brought forward when a member of the media – photographer Steve Back – pictured Mr Quick with the supposedly private document.

How Boris took 'Today' by surprise

Transcript from the Today programme

Jim Naughtie: "Bob Quick's future seems to be in the balance this morning – what do you make of it?"

David Winnick MP: "It's obviously very disturbing...(but) I don't believe it's a matter for him to resign or be dismissed."

JN: I'm going to interrupt you there because we've got Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, on the line now. Good morning Mr Johnson. What, as far as you know, is happening at Scotland Yard?

Boris Johnson: "I have this morning with great reluctance and sadness as Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Authority accepted Bob Quick's resignation as head of counter-terrorism..."

JN: "David Winnick, you said you didn't think that this was a resigning matter. Mr Quick has obviously taken the view that he couldn't carry on. What do you make of it?"

DW: "It comes as no surprise. Undoubtedly Mr Quick has done very good work in combating terrorism. We shouldn't forget for one moment, whatever may be the controversy over Mr Quick, that Britain does face an ongoing terrorist danger."

Downfall of a man with Tory enemies

Out: Bob Quick

Like his surname, Bob Quick's tenure as Scotland Yard's head of counter-terrorism was brief. Appointed in March 2008, he resigned yesterday after just over a year in the role.

In that year he was dogged by controversy, and was forced to deal with no fewer than three separate scandals in the final six months of his career.

It was in stark contrast to the rapid rise he enjoyed since joining the Metropolitan Police in 1978. He moved quickly through the ranks, working as a uniformed officer and a detective before being appointed as head of the Yard's anti-corruption unit – a role reserved for officers with unblemished reputations.

A 49-year-old with five children, his profile on the Metropolitan Police website, from which he will soon be removed, lists his interests as skiing, motorcycling and walking. It also reveals that he has a masters degree in business administration from Exeter University and diploma in criminology from Cambridge University.

In 2003 he left the Met to join Surrey Police as chief constable, before returning to the capital as Assistant Commissioner in charge of specialist operations last year. He took over from Andy Hayman, who took early retirement in 2007 amid accusations of lavish expenses and questions over his relationship with a female civil servant – accusations that were later proved unfounded.

Mr Quick's problems started in November when he was named as the officer who authorised the controversial arrest of the Conservative MP Damian Green and the raid on his House of Commons office. He was backed by Sir Paul Stephenson, then Acting Commissioner, but a review raised concerns over the way police conducted the investigation.

The incident blotted his copy book enough to ensure that, when he applied for the Yard's top job late last year, he did not even make the shortlist.

After this a Sunday newspaper revealed that Mr Quick's wife ran a car-hire business from their Surrey home. Critics said that the company website, which showed cars parked outside his house, compromised his security. His reaction compounded the scandal when he accused the Conservative Party of running a media smear campaign against him. He later retracted his comments, saying: "I apologise unreservedly for any offence or embarrassment that I have caused."

That aberration appeared to have been forgotten, although police sources say that Mr Quick has rarely been at work since his outburst.

But yesterday Mr Quick made a final error. Stepping out of a car in Downing Street he inadvertently revealed the details of a sensitive terror investigation. He resigned "in the knowledge that my action could have compromised a major counter-terrorism operation", adding that he deeply regretted the disruption he had caused.

A Scotland Yard source said: "I am not surprised he has gone. If a constable or a sergeant had made the same error they would be looking at serious sanctions, perhaps dismissal. It's an incredibly basic error. For someone in his position to do it is unforgivable. You do not have to be an expert in counter-terrorism to know that you should keep sensitive documents hidden."

Rise of the officer who took on Blair

In: John Yates

As one of the most respected police officers at Scotland Yard, John Yates has a track record so impressive it is easy to see why he was the man the Commissioner turned to in yesterday's hour of need.

In 28 years at the Metropolitan Police, Mr Yates has taken on a number of high-profile investigations, with a good deal of success. Since joining the Met in 1981, after being educated at Marlborough College and King's College London, he quickly progressed through the ranks, as a uniformed officer and a detective, and has led investigations into more than 20 murders.

Between 1999 and 2000 he worked as staff officer to the then commissioner Sir Paul – now Lord – Condon during the Macpherson inquiry into the death of Stephen Lawrence. Other high profile cases he has worked on include the Jeffrey Archer perjury investigation, the Who Wants to be a Millionaire? fraud and an internal corruption inquiry which saw six Met detectives jailed for a total of 46 years.

His only setback of note was in 2005 when, as the officer in charge of the cash-for-honours investigation, he failed to bring a single charge despite interviewing 130 people at a cost of £773,177 to the taxpayer.

The one-year case centred on allegations that House of Lords peerages were offered by Labour and Conservative politicians in exchange for donations to their parties. Despite his confidence that he had built a case that would result in a trial, the Crown Prosecution Service did not bring charges. Mr Yates said his officers received "less than full co-operation".

Despite this, he is still seen as a safe pair of hands by the Met. He was the officer chosen to co-ordinate the British response to the Asian tsunami, for which he was awarded the Queen's Police Medal.

And he was the man who travelled to Brazil to apologise to the family of Jean Charles de Menezes, following the Stockwell Tube operation which saw the innocent Brazilian shot dead. He also stood on the steps of the Old Bailey to publicly apologise for mistakes in the Rachel Nickell investigation which saw Colin Stagg wrongly charged and allowed a murder investigation to go unsolved for 18 years.

A favourite of both the rank-and-file officers and the Met hierarchy, Mr Yates, 50, a keen cyclist who is married with children, was many officers' choice to become Sir Paul Stephenson's deputy when he took the top job earlier this year. But, unlike his fellow Northerner, Mr Yates preferred to stay involved in day-to-day policing.

Yesterday he became the third man in as many years, after Andy Hayman and Bob Quick, to fill the role of Assistant Commissioner in charge of specialist operations. The role gives him national responsibility for counter-terrorism.

A police source said it was easy to see why Mr Yates had been chosen for the job. He said: "He is a top man. Anybody who has worked with him will tell you he is as sharp as a tack. You will rarely come across a more professional officer than John Yates.

"Just sitting in a meeting with him is enough to make you realise that he is much sharper than any of the other officers at his level. His intelligence and ability to grasp things is second to none and he will be great for the counter-terrorism unit. That said, if I was a detective working under him on the serious crime directorate I would be sad to see him go."

Daily Mail : Get rich Quick: Pension fortune for blundering anti-terror chief

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Get rich Quick: Pension fortune for blundering anti-terror chief

By James Slack | April 10, 2009

Anti-terror chief Bob Quick quit yesterday with a pension pot worth millions - despite admitting he came close to endangering an operation to smash a suspected Al Qaeda terrorist unit.

Mr Quick, who inadvertently revealed confidential details of the terror swoop while exiting his car for a Downing Street meeting, fell on his sword shortly after 8am after he lost the confidence of the Home Secretary.

The officer - who has had to make three public apologies in four months - made the devastating admission 'that my action could have compromised a major counter-terrorism operation'.

But it soon emerged that, with the pension package Mr Quick thrashed out on Wednesday evening, he would be resigning into the lap of luxury.

Aged 49, he leaves the Met - and the entire police service - with a guaranteed pension of more than £110,000 a year, or a £520,000 lump sum and about £85,000 a year in return for his 30 years of service.

He is also likely to pick up lucrative consultancy work and his income will be bolstered by his family's wedding car hire business run by his wife Judith.

Mark Wallace, campaign director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: 'It is amazing that someone can make such a serious error and simply withdraw into a life of wealthy retirement.'

Mr Quick was summoned to the Home Office on Wednesday afternoon after his blunder in allowing a top secret document detailing the terrorist swoops to be photographed as he walked along Downing Street.

Jacqui Smith made clear her 'serious concerns' about the error, which she also relayed to Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson - though Mr Quick was left to reach his own conclusion that there was no alternative but to quit.

The details were hammered out late into Wednesday evening, and his resignation announced yesterday morning.

Rules on police pensions, to which officers contribute 11 per cent of salary, provide for payouts of two-thirds of final salary for those who have served 30 years.

Mr Quick, who earned £168,000 a year plus benefits, is therefore entitled to £114,000 a year, or to take the £520,000 lump sum and £85,000 a year.

His recent track record includes a number of blunders. In December he apologised twice for accusing senior Tories of leaking a story about his wife's car business.

That followed controversy over his role in the arrest of Tory frontbencher Damian Green during an inquiry into leaks which embarrassed the Government.

London Mayor Boris Johnson broke the news of Mr Quick's departure on Radio 4's Today programme, saying he had accepted the Assistant Commissioner's resignation with 'great reluctance and sadness'.

But his unexpected early announcement of the news was said to have left Miss Smith 'livid'. Sources claimed he had been determined to appear to play a key role in the decision, even though he was on the periphery of negotiations.

Mr Johnson justified his intervention on the grounds he is chairman of the Metropolitan Police Authority.

Relations between the mayor's office and Miss Smith's department have been fraught since Miss Smith stood by former Met chief Sir Ian Blair through a series of scandals and gaffes, only for Mr Johnson to effectively force him from office.

Rules on police pensions, to which officers contribute 11 per cent of salary, provide for payouts of two-thirds of final salary for those who have served 30 years.

Mr Quick, who earned £168,000 a year plus benefits, is therefore entitled to £114,000 a year, or to take the £520,000 lump sum and £85,000 a year.

His recent track record includes a number of blunders. In December he apologised twice for accusing senior Tories of leaking a story about his wife's car business.

That followed controversy over his role in the arrest of Tory frontbencher Damian Green during an inquiry into leaks which embarrassed the Government.

London Mayor Boris Johnson broke the news of Mr Quick's departure on Radio 4's Today programme, saying he had accepted the Assistant Commissioner's resignation with 'great reluctance and sadness'.

But his unexpected early announcement of the news was said to have left Miss Smith 'livid'. Sources claimed he had been determined to appear to play a key role in the decision, even though he was on the periphery of negotiations.

Mr Johnson justified his intervention on the grounds he is chairman of the Metropolitan Police Authority.

Relations between the mayor's office and Miss Smith's department have been fraught since Miss Smith stood by former Met chief Sir Ian Blair through a series of scandals and gaffes, only for Mr Johnson to effectively force him from office.