British Intelligence agency MI5 had information that could have prevented the bombing outside Ariana Grande’s Manchester concert in 2017 that killed 22 people and injured hundreds more, a new inquiry has shown.
During the inquiry on Thursday, retired Judge John Saunders said MI5 had intelligence indicating the suicide bomber was a “possible national security concern,” but failed to discuss it with their colleagues fast enough, the Associated Press reported.
“I have found a significant missed opportunity to take action that might have prevented the attack,” Saunders shared.
Britain's domestic intelligence agency didn't act swiftly enough on key information and missed a significant opportunity to prevent the suicide bombing that killed 22 people at a 2017 Ariana Grande concert in northwest England, an inquiry found Thursday. https://t.co/EgA4VFVnjd
— The Associated Press (@AP) March 2, 2023
The judge also said that the spy agency could have possibly stopped the terrorist at Manchester Airport on his return from Libya four days before the attack with the intelligence it had received.
“I have concluded that there was at least a period during [the terrorist’s] journey to violent extremism when he should have been referred,” Saunders added, calling out authorities who he said failed to refer the bomber to the country’s counter-terrorism group, known as Prevent.
The bomber had been considered a “subject of interest” in 2014 by the British Intelligence agency, but his case was closed shortly after because he was deemed to be low-risk, the outlet noted.
MI5 Director General Ken McCallum shared in a statement that he was “profoundly sorry that MI5 did not prevent the attack.”
“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,” McCallum explained.
Caroline Curry, the mother of 19-year-old Liam Curry who was killed in the bombing at the Manchester Arena, said she would never forgive the agency for its failure.
“From top to bottom, MI5 to the associates of the attacker, we will always believe you all played a part in the murder of our children,” Curry told reporters.
Thursday’s inquiry was the third and final one into the deadly attack in 2017 that occurred during Grande’s closing set when the suicide bomber detonated near the venue’s exit.
A month later, the “7 Rings” hitmaker returned to England and put on a star-studded “One Love Manchester” benefit concert to raise money for victims and their families, as The Daily Wire previously reported. The concert was said to have raised more than $2.5 million for victims and their families.