The allegation that the US failed to act on British information could embarrass President Obama — who is already under fire from critics for failing to stop the bomber.
AN embarrassing row has broken out between Downing Street and the White House over what MI5 told the US about the Detroit bomber. PM Gordon Brown’s spokesman yesterday insisted that the Security Service told American officials that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had extremist links.
But that has left President Barack Obama’s officials furious, saying Number 10 “have made a mistake” and that no such intelligence was passed on by Britain before the thwarted Christmas attack.
Brit officials have reportedly backed claims that there was a misunderstanding about what Downing Street had said and that it could further damage the already strained relations between Downing Street and the White House after the early release of the Lockerbie bomber.
The Prime Minister’s office rarely comments on intelligence matters and the move could be seen as retaliation to criticism from US figures who claimed Britain nurtured Islamic extremism.
At first it was thought that MI5 had only managed to get hold of limited information on Abdulmutallab and had therefore not told the US. But in an official briefing, the PM’s spokesman said that British intelligence WAS given to the Americans. He said: “Clearly there was security information about this individual’s activities and that was information that was shared with the US authorities. That is the key point.”
The spokesman added: “We are pretty certain that he was radicalised outside the UK. He left the UK in October 2008. “But it is also clear that while he was here he was attempting to make contact with people and that is the intelligence we were able to secure from the intelligence services.”
Last night, a Downing Street spokesman added: “We do routinely share large quantities of intelligence with the US on a two-way basis so we can build up a picture of the potential threats we face. UK SUN
Hey, Barry, I guess that’s what you get for sending back the Winston Churchill bust that was a gift to America from England.
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