MI5 let alqaida in britain
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MI5 let al Qaida in, says Shayler
18th April 2004
Security bosses let thousands of al Qaida members into the UK during the 1990s, former spy David Shayler has claimed.
The renegade ex-MI5 agent, who was jailed for selling top secret documents to a newspaper, also claimed some of the terrorists were granted British citizenship in an amazing blunder by his former bosses.
"In the early 1990s MI5 was very slow to get to grips with al Qaida," Shayler said in a TV interview.
"Despite repeated warnings they let in thousands of al Qaida members into this country who are all still here.
"Some of whom have gained British citizenship, which makes it very difficult to expel them." Middlesbrough-born Shayler revealed his fears on the ITV1 Tyne Tees programme The Sunday Interview.
He based his claims on information from French security service officials, who Shayler said, warned their British counterparts that al Qaida terrorists were trying to get into the country.
In 2002 he was jailed for risking British agents' lives by his "blinkered arrogance".
An Old Bailey jury convicted him of three charges under the Official Secrets Act after selling top secret documents, which were packed with names of agents, to a newspaper for £40,000.
He claimed he was a whistleblower trying to expose corruption and incompetence in the secret service.
But he remains convinced the UK is under great threat from an attack by Osama bin Laden's feared terror group.