Grande's Manchester Concert Could Have Been Prevented, Report SaysBritish police guard the entrance to the Manchester Arena stadium in Mancheste
(LONDON) — The deadly suicide bombing at Manchester Arena might have been prevented if information had been handled differently, an independent review of the counter-terrorism performance by British police and intelligence services suggested Tuesday.
The review by lawyer David Anderson, ordered by Home Secretary Amber Rudd, said the May 22 attack that killed 22 people might have been thwarted “had the cards fallen differently.”
He also found that three extremists involved in four attacks in Britain earlier this year had at some point been investigated by counter-terrorism police or security services.
Nonetheless, he credits police and the MI5 domestic intelligence service with stopping most attacks at a time when Britain faces an unprecedented level of extremist activity.
“MI5 and counter-terrorism policing got a great deal right — particularly in the case of Manchester, they could have succeeded had the cards fallen differently,” Anderson said.
Some of these details had been known before, but Anderson raised the tantalizing prospect that MI5 might have been able to prevent the most lethal atrocity — the concert attack — had it handled information differently.
The reports says Manchester bomber Salman Abedi wasn’t being actively investigated when he detonated a suicide device, although he had been scrutinized in the past. But Anderson says MI5 obtained unspecified intelligence in the months before the attack that might have led to an active investigation of Abedi “had its true significance been properly understood.”
He said it’s not clear whether such an investigation would have led to Abedi’s plan being prevented and that MI5 believes it would not have thwarted the bomber.
Greater Manchester Police Chief Ian Hopkins and other officials said they welcome Anderson’s report.