Manchester Arena victims have been ‘let down by the state’ says intelligence expert 

All victims of the Manchester Arena bombing were ‘let down by the state’ according to an intelligence expert. 

The third volume of the Manchester Arena Inquiry was released earlier today with the main focus on the radicalisation of Salman Abedi and whether this was preventable.

Sir John Saunders, who led the inquiry, found MI5 missed a ‘significant opportunity’ to take action to prevent the atrocity, however the report does not explain what information the intelligence service received.

Professor Anthony Glees, an intelligence expert at the University of Buckingham, condemned aspects of the findings and the fact no details of the information which could have been used to prevent the attack have been released. 

Prof Glees told Sky News: “I think the families will feel that they really do want to know what were the things that Sir John Saunders said he wasn’t at liberty to explain to them, why this catalogue of errors did not lead to Salman Abedi’s arrest.

“You have got this story of 22 people, who went for a night out, a richly deserved night out, with a lovely singer, to which they had been looking forward to, who really at every stage were let down by the state.

“Again, Sir John Saunders said ‘well the government has got a duty to keep people safe.’ I would say it’s the government’s primary duty, to keep people safe.”

Saunders concluded Abedi should have been reported to the Prevent scheme which is aimed at stopping potential terrorists. 

Glees said: “I thought Sir John Saunders’ report was very measured and he had a very fine line to tread you may think. But I have to tell you that I thought it was less hard-hitting than the evidence warranted.

“And his emphasis on the Prevent programme seemed to me to be inappropriate because it was clear that Salman Abedi had already had access to and done things that made it virtually certain, sooner or later, he and his appalling family would mount an attack on people in this country.”

MI5 director general Ken McCallum said: “Having examined all the evidence, the chair of the inquiry has found that ‘there was a realistic possibility that actionable intelligence could have been obtained which might have led to actions preventing the attack’. I deeply regret that such intelligence was not obtained.

“Gathering covert intelligence is difficult – but had we managed to seize the slim chance we had, those impacted might not have experienced such appalling loss and trauma. I am profoundly sorry that MI5 did not prevent the attack.”

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