Good News

This is some good news, so I’ll have to give kudos to US and British intelligence:

British police today charged eight men with conspiracy to murder and violations of the Terrorism Act after finding that they possessed surveillance information on the same financial centers in Washington, New York and New Jersey that were the focus of the terror alert earlier this month in the United States.

The eight men were arrested on Aug. 3 and held for two weeks at a high security police facility in West London. They were also charged with conspiring to use “radioactive materials, toxic gases, chemicals and explosives” to cause fear, panic and disruption against unspecified targets.

One of the men was charged with possessing a “terrorist’s handbook” on explosives. They will make a court appearance Wednesday at the high security Belmarsh Prison in Southeast London.

A statement issued by Scotland Yard made no assertion that police had interrupted an active or specific plot against any of the financial center targets in the United States, or that the suspects had access to explosives, toxic gases or radiological materials. A police official said no such material was seized.

… “The British were very concerned,” the [European counter-terrorism] official said. “They have apprehended what they feel is a live cell. But it remained unclear what if any actions had been taken by the alleged cell in preparation for any specific terrorist act.

So it’s not yet clear that they were a near-term threat, but they do seem to at least have been gathering the information required to pose such a threat. So good job.

On the other hand, the same article also says that

A senior European counter-terrorism official said that Mr. [Mohammed Naeem Noor] Khan’s computerized files seized in Pakistan helped British authorities identify some of suspects charged today in Britain.

That would be the same Mr. Kahn whose identity was recently disclosed either by the Bush administration or by Pakistani intelligence. So that source of tips has likely run dry.