Fascinating as the repellent Downing Street spin and defamation scandal involving Gordon Brown and his Labour party apparatchik henchmen is, it is not the only scandal to have emerged last week.
There was also the resignation of Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick, who was the head of the Counter-terrorism Command of the Metropolitan Police Service. after his extraordinary breach of security, in Downing Street, which was technically a criminal offence under the Official Secrets Act 1989 section 8 Safeguarding of information
Arguably, this was an even worse breach of security than that involving the Top Secret Joint Intelligence Committee briefing documents left on a commuter train scandal:
These high level summary reports are meant to be carefully sanitised so as not to reveal clues which might compromise a live tactical intelligence or police operation, which is exactly what Bob Quick managed to do with Operation Pathway.
Why are documents which are Protectively Marked as Secret or above, ever even printed out and carried in transit, rather than being sent on ahead to a secret briefing, electronically, protected securely through encryption ?
There have been reports in the media that this investigation was not really intending to arrest the suspects in dawn raids last Thursday morning, but that this was just an option, and that the plot , if there is one, should have been kept track of until there was some actual evidence of bomb making or weapons procurement etc.
The weekend media leaks that some or perhaps all of the Pakistani students will simply be deported,
and today's stories that there no explosives have yet to be found, also lends credence to the view that the "must cover our backsides" precautionary bureaucratic principle played as much in the minds of those involved, as any real threat to national security did.
The rushed arrests last Wednesday afternoon, certainly did put innocent bystanders and passers by at much more risk than dawn raids would have:
- Stopping a vehicle on the motorway is fraught with risk at any time, and even more so when guns are involved.
- At least one of the people who were jumped on and threatened with guns, and made to lay on the found for over half an hour, at John Moores University in Liverpool was not even actually arrested.
One of those arrested has already been released without charge (into the hands of the immigration bureaucracy).
There are even suggestions that some of the alleged plotters were under surveillance before and after they got into the country as bogus students.
Does that mean that one or more of them is a double agent or even an agent provocateur in a US style entrapment plot ?
There are also suggestions of a lack of coordination and clear leadership between the various police forces and intelligence agencies involved, something which, if true, seems to make a mockery of the North West regional anti-terrorism offices set up by both ACPO and MI5 the Security Service.
Will this end up as another "thought crime" plot which did not actually pose as much of a threat as the authorities have been spinning to the media ?