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Public Inquiry Finds MI5 Missed 'Significant Opportunity' to Prevent the Manchester Arena Bombing

Public Inquiry Finds MI5 Missed 'Significant Opportunity' to Prevent the Manchester Arena Bombing

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UK Inquiry Finds Significant Opportunity Missed to Preve

A public inquiry into the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing has determined that security services missed an 'important opportunity' to prevent it. MI5 failed to pass along intelligence that could have allowed suicide bomber Salman Abedi's trail to be followed, according to the investigation.

Sir John Saunders, the chairman of the committee, acknowledged that it was impossible to determine whether different actions would have prevented the blast but noted grave shortcomings in how security personnel responded. He expressed regret for this oversight and apologized to those affected by it by their loss.

Recommendations

Inquiries can be an invaluable and beneficial tool in investigating major incidents and tragedies. They help identify lessons learned and suggest appropriate actions for the future, but they must be carefully planned and executed. Furthermore, inquiries tend to be costly, taking a long time to produce their final report - one in seven taking five years or longer to release their conclusions.

That is why it is critical that the public inquiry be structured in a way that guarantees timely reporting and allows conclusions to be reached quickly. The APPG on Coronavirus suggests dividing the inquiry into distinct 'workstreams' overseen by sub-panels of experts with knowledge in relevant fields, to enable concurrent working and timely reporting.

The inquiry should be a well-run, independent process with an obligation of candour and openness. It also has to have the capacity to bring expert witnesses into the mix in order to develop its recommendations. Most importantly, it must be able to gather evidence quickly and efficiently without jeopardising national security or damaging any organisation's reputation.

An independent inquiry should be launched that holds the UK Government accountable for how it handled the pandemic. It should identify what was known at the time, who was consulted and how advice was weighted to establish timeliness, quality and consequences of key decisions made at that time.

Inquiries are an invaluable tool for understanding major incidents and tragedies, but they must be conducted efficiently. Structure the inquiry so that conclusions and recommendations are reached quickly so the public can benefit from them and learn from them.

Recommendations should be practical and achievable, making them easily implemented. They should be published throughout the course of the inquiry and monitored by the chair and panel overseeing it to monitor their implementation. Finally, these recommendations should be sent to Parliament as well as relevant Select Committees for further scrutiny - just like during Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry.

Preparation

A public inquiry into the Manchester Arena attack has determined that MI5 missed an 'important opportunity' to prevent it. Led by retired judge John Saunders, the report states that UK's domestic intelligence agency failed to act quickly enough on two pieces of information about suicide bomber Salman Abedi. If these findings had been announced earlier on Thursday, 22 lives could have been spared and hundreds more injured in what remains the deadliest terror attack since 7/7 bombings.

The Inquiry must assess if political expediency has prevailed throughout the UK Government's pandemic response, leading to decisions made without adequate scrutiny or challenge. It will focus on key timing points such as contract procurement; how the first lockdown was introduced and communicated; the use of lockdowns and face coverings; its effect on children, health care sector workers, and clinically vulnerable people; plus any implications for accountability or transparency.

Structure the Inquiry to guarantee timely reporting of its conclusions and recommendations, so the UK Government's response to the pandemic can be properly scrutinized by both citizens and lawmakers alike. To this end, APPG suggests breaking up the Inquiry into distinct 'workstreams' overseen by sub-panels composed of experts with relevant expertise in each field being examined.

This will enable concurrent work on various aspects of the pandemic and a quicker turnaround in achieving and publishing its findings and conclusions. Furthermore, it helps prevent delays in identifying 'lessons to be learned', allowing those affected by it to have an important influence over future responses.

Inquiries can be a highly contentious and sensitive process for witnesses and organizations that appear before them, leading to an intensely stressful experience for all those involved. To prepare participants for questioning in public forums while safeguarding their client interests, legal counsel is often necessary.

The UK Inquiry is a legally mandated public inquiry and must follow the Inquiries Act 2005 (SI 2006 No. 1838). To ensure an open and honest process, witnesses and organizations are expected to provide evidence with full transparency; this allows the Inquiry's conclusions and recommendations to be reached quickly and impartially.

Risk assessment

On Thursday (March 2), the UK Inquiry into the Manchester Arena bombing concluded that Britain's intelligence agency MI5 missed a "significant opportunity" to take action which could have prevented it. One piece of intelligence wasn't passed on to police but an officer acknowledged its potential national security significance, according to findings released by the Inquiry into this atrocity on Thursday (March 2).

Sir John Saunders' report revealed that had this information been discussed promptly and taken on board by other colleagues, it could have been identified in time for an investigation to take place - potentially preventing the attack that claimed 22 lives and injured hundreds more.

An important piece of intelligence uncovered by the inquiry revealed that Abedi had become radicalized, trained in bomb-making and had links to terrorist organisations; yet he was not referred to the Prevent program.

Staying ahead of the rapidly evolving threat landscape presents a formidable challenge. Cybercrimes have become more sophisticated and complex, driven by various interests such as espionage, criminality, commercial gain, financial gain, political gain, sabotage and disinformation.

No matter our best efforts, the UK and its interests remain vulnerable to cyber attacks. This is because malicious actors develop capabilities that bypass mitigations, exploit known vulnerabilities in devices and systems, and reap the rewards of cybercrime, extortion and ransomware.

Therefore, we need to guarantee our businesses and organisations are effectively managing their risks and becoming cyber resilient. To do this, they need to provide high levels of protection for data and assets they manage while still providing services and supporting customers.

The UK's business and public sectors are becoming increasingly dependent on digital technologies and online services to operate, innovate, and grow. This poses new risks and obstacles such as the ever-increasing volume of personal data which businesses and organisations must safeguard.

The UK is leading the way in developing cyber security tools and services to protect against this risk. As a country, we must support our digital infrastructure by encouraging businesses to implement appropriate security measures. Furthermore, we must work together globally to address challenges and threats related to cyber security so that the UK remains secure.

Response

A UK Inquiry into the Manchester suicide bombing has determined that security service MI5 missed an "important opportunity" to take action that might have prevented it. It cited MI5's failure to share two pieces of intelligence with counter-terrorism police and inaction on attempts to prevent Salman Abedi from joining. Furthermore, Sir John Saunders concluded his family should have been referred to Prevent anti-radicalisation program up to two years prior to the attack.

Families of those lost in the Manchester suicide bombing and other attacks will applaud this report. Lawyers for 11 of those affected have stated that its failures were unacceptable, signaling that any chance at preventing an attack had now been lost.

Inquiries are an invaluable tool for the Government to learn from errors and prevent them from repeating. Unfortunately, they can be expensive and time-consuming to conclude; typically taking two years on average for inquiries to conclude their findings and make recommendations.

Wide public consultation is essential to build public trust and guarantee the inquiry meets its objectives. It must be crystal clear what the terms of reference are, what its purpose is, and give people a chance to voice their thoughts, giving them assurance in its findings.

As with any public inquiry, the COVID-19 Inquiry should not only assess what was done but also how. It must assess if political expediency dictated response at key timepoints and how learning was applied to pandemic policy-making. Furthermore, it should assess if government officials weren't utilising up-to-date scientific evidence on airborne transmission during the pandemic.

The inquiry should also evaluate if its recommendations are practical and easy to implement. It is essential that these decisions are based on factual evidence, helping prevent future attacks.

The UK Government must offer a detailed response to the report's recommendations. This must include an extensive summary of findings that is made publicly accessible. Furthermore, they must explain how they plan to implement these suggestions.

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