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British report British report
by Euro Reporter
2012-05-12 12:56:06
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MI6 key to al Qaeda agent

The double agent in the foiled al Qaeda bomb plot had a British passport, making the UK’s intelligence agency key to the international sting operation. Two officials briefed on the investigation said the double agent had a British passport. The officials requested anonymity to discuss the operational details. One official said the British intelligence agency, MI6, gave the double agent the passport as part of the ruse. Al Qaeda wants terror recruits that have a US or British passport because they are more likely to be able to travel to and from the West without raising suspicion. British Prime Minister David Cameron’s office on Friday declined to comment in any detail on the reports of the country’s role in thwarting the new bomb plot uncovered in Yemen. Last month, al Qaeda’s Yemen branch entrusted a new, sophisticated underwear bomb designed to take down and airplane with a would-be suicide bomber.

But the bomber was actually a double agent, working with the CIA, Saudi intelligence agencies and the MI6. The double agent turned the bomb over to the US government. The operation shows the close cooperation among the US, Britain, and Saudi Arabia, whose intelligence service played a major role in infiltrating the organization, and helping communicate with the agent. The British intelligence role was first reported by NBC News. The explosive has been described as an upgrade over the 2009 Christmas bomb that nearly brought down an airliner over Detroit. This new device contained lead azide, a chemical known as a reliable detonator. After the Christmas attack failed, al Qaeda used lead azide as the detonator in the 2010 plot against cargo planes.

Security procedures at US airports were unchanged despite the plot, a reflection of both the US confidence in its security systems and recognition that the government can’t realistically expect travelers to endure much more. Increased costs and delays to airlines and shipping companies from new security measures could have a global economic impact too. Security officials said they believe airport security systems put in place in the United States in recent years could have detected the new device or one like it. But the attempt served as a stark reminder that security overseas is quite different.

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Sonic gun at Olympics

Britain’s military will be armed with a sonic device that can be used as a high-volume loudspeaker or a non-lethal weapon to disperse crowds at this summer’s Olympic Games in London, the defence ministry said on Friday. The equipment, which can project a piercing sound over hundreds of metres causing physical pain, has been used during protests at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh in 2009 and against pirates operating off the Somali coast.

The Ministry of Defence said it expected to use it primarily in loudspeaker mode to communicate with boats it wants to stop on the River Thames. Defence chiefs have already caused controversy by announcing plans to put surface-to-air missiles on the top of residential buildings near the Olympics site in east London. Fighter jets roared over the capital and helicopters were seen hovering over the Houses of Parliament this month during a nine-day military exercise to prepare for Britain’s biggest peacetime security operation.

The LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device), made by U.S. company LRAD Corporation, can be mounted on the side of a ship or on the top of a vehicle. Some versions are roughly the same size and shape as a dustbin lid. It can generate noises up to around 150 decibels, similar to a gunshot, and has a maximum range of 3 km or 1.8 miles. The device can also emit a warning alarm that sounds like a police siren and “potentially prevents the use of harmful or deadly force”, LRAD says on its website. Police and military planners say they are preparing for a range of security threats at the Olympics including protesters trying to disrupt events and attacks using hijacked airliners.

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Royal Navy to deliver Olympic flame for torch relay

Officials have picked who will be the first to welcome the Olympics torch: Britain’s Royal Navy. The force’s search and rescue squadron will welcome the flame as it arrives May 18 from Athens aboard a special British Airways plane, organizers said Saturday.

The flame will stay a night at a Royal Navy air base in Culdrose, Cornwall, before it is flown to Land’s End — the most westerly point in England — in a search and rescue helicopter. From there, the torch will begin its journey across the U.K. in a relay which involves 8,000 torchbearers travelling 8,000 miles (12,875 kilometers). The torch is scheduled to reach the Olympic Stadium in London on the eve of July 27.



      
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