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Report Clears Intelligence Officers in London Bombings


British authorities have cleared intelligence agencies of mishandling surveillance before the London bombings last July that killed 52 public transport passengers and four suicide bombers.

A parliamentary report says Britain's security services were too understaffed to have prevented the bombings last July 7, though two of the four British Muslim suicide bombers had come to the attention of intelligence officers before the attacks.

The chairman of Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee, Paul Murphy, says there was not enough manpower to pursue every lead.

"The decision not to give greater investigative priority to identifying these two individuals at the time was due to other investigations being prioritized and we conclude that that decision was understandable," said Murphy.

The committee's report is called a "whitewash" by some relatives of victims, among them Dania Gorody, who wants an independent investigation.

"The British public deserves a public inquiry, but more than anyone, the families of the victims deserve a public inquiry," noted Gorody. "Fifty-two people have been killed and I think this is a great enough number to allow for the government to have this kind of expense."

Security experts say the report falls below their expectations, as analyst Crispin Black explains.

"Its principle conclusion seems to be that there were a lack of resources. It does not even deign to investigate why there was a lack of resources four years after 9/11," said Black.

The British Home Office released its own report on the actions the four bombers took before the attacks, and Home Secretary John Reid appeared in Parliament to discuss their possible motives.

"Their motivation appears to have been a mixture of anger at perceived injustices by the West against Muslims, and a desire for martyrdom," commented Reid.

Reid says there will be no independent inquiry, he says funding for security services is adequate, and he adds that three other bombing plots have been foiled since the July attacks.