For the families of the 52 victims and the 700 injured, this was unlikely to have been the point. The question was whether MI5 failed to pursue potential leads that might have led it to the four suicide bombers.
The coroner's report contains some tantalising passages, references to incidents preceded by the word "fortunately", and "unfortunately", and to the occasional "mistake". These passages may have left the families frustrated, a feeling that questions remain unanswered as coroner Lady Hallett concluded, without equivocation, that MI5, faced with threats to the UK that were "immense" in both scale and number, could not be blamed.
MI5 had frequently referred to the advantages of hindsight, and its finite resources – by implication, far too small at the time. To the service's relief, Lady Hallett gave it the benefit of any doubts that may be lingering. On choosing what the priority targets should be and what she called the "structure of decision-making", she said: "I feel these are very much areas best left to the experts." Responding to evidence of problems MI5 and the police had with computer-based data systems, she said: "This is an area where I again feel I must leave it to the experts."
Such language may not have made the families think the coroner was being as robust as she should have been with the Security Service. MI5, however, may be stung by Hallett's decision to make two recommendations about the agency, dismissing its insistence in closing submissions to the coroner that they would imply its "practices and methods of operation were defective today". It... [continues]
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