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Last message left by Westminster attacker Khalid Masood uncovered by security agencies

The last message left by the killer Khalid Masood1 on the WhatsApp2 messaging service, revealing his motivation for the lethal attack in Westminster, has been uncovered by the security agencies, The Independent has learnt. In the message, sent just minutes3 before he began the rampage in which five people died and 50 were injured, the 52-year-old Muslim convert had declared that he was waging jihad in revenge against Western military action in Muslim countries in the Middle East. The person who received the message has been extensively questioned, but freed after the police and MI5 concluded that he was not part of a plot and had no prior knowledge of what was unfolding on 22 March.

Eleven others detained following the attack were freed and have been cleared from inquiries. The continuing threat in centre of the capital and heart of the government was highlighted just today with the arrest of a man allegedly carrying what was described as rucksack of knives close to the Treasury. The suspect was taken away by armed police; no one was injured during the incident.

The accessing of Masood s message was achieved by what has been described by security sources as a use of human and technical intelligence . Details of the method used cannot be disclosed for security reasons, but sources said they now have the technical expertise to repeat the process in future. It was made possible because Masood s mobile telephone was recovered after he was shot dead.

Discovering Masood s last recorded thoughts was the key part of the investigation into what lay behind the assault which started with him mowing down people on the road with a rented car and then stabbing a police officer, Keith Palmer, dead on the grounds of the House of Commons. Scotland Yard stated at the outset that his communications on the day of the attack was the main line of inquiry. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu stressed in an appeal: If you heard from him on 22 March, please come forward now . The information you have may prove important to establishing his state of mind.

There was initial thought among investigators that Masood may have been in contact with someone involved in a plotting his attack. There have been repeated recent atrocities two in France and two in Germany just in the past year in which terrorists were found to have been guided through messaging service by Isis handlers just before they struck. Isis had claimed credit for the Westminster attack, but no evidence has emerged to back this up.

Masood, who was born in Kent, had come to the notice of the security service for being on the fringes of Islamist extremism in the past, but he was not seen as a threat. It is suspected that he may have been radicalised during spells in prison in this country and three trips to Saudi Arabia . But it is not known at what point he decided to turn to violence. Investigators have established that he carried out a reconnaissance journey to central London four days before the attack; he did not discuss the trip with anyone else.

Met Police announce that terror perpetrator Khalid Masood was born Adrian Russell

It is unclear when Home Secretary Amber Rudd was made aware that Masood s WhatsApp message had been retrieved. She complained soon after the killings that the law agencies had been unable to access Masood s words because of the use of encryption by the technology company. She said: It s completely unacceptable .

There should be no place for terrorists to hide . We need to make sure that organisations like WhatsApp, and there are plenty of others like that, don t provide a secret place for terrorists to communicate with each other. The Home Secretary subsequently urged, at a meeting with her EU counterparts in Brussels, swift action to tackle online access for terrorists and held a meeting later that week in London with technology companies on the same issue.

The secrecy provided to users by social media companies has become a contentious issue after a series of cases in which the sites were used by terrorists and their accomplices. Michael Adebowale, one of the murderers of Fusilier Lee Rigby, had used Facebook to describe in a graphic way how he wanted to kill a soldier, but Facebook failed to pass this on to the authorities. Following criticism from the parliamentary intelligence and security committee a spokesman for Facebook said they do not allow terrorist content on the site and take steps to prevent people from using our service for these purposes .

Families of victims of terrorism in Brussels, Paris and California are taking legal actions in American courts against Twitter and Facebook claiming that the companies had failed to stop violent extremists from using their platforms.

But civil liberties campaigners, social media firms and technology analysts hold that measures like encryption were essential not just to prevent unwarranted state prying into lives of people but also to ensure that hackers and criminals are prevented from gaining access to personal information.

Last Message Left By Westminster Attacker Khalid Masood Uncovered By Security AgenciesReuse content4

References

  1. ^ Khalid Masood (www.independent.co.uk)
  2. ^ WhatsApp (www.independent.co.uk)
  3. ^ sent just minutes (www.independent.co.uk)
  4. ^ Reuse content (www.independent.co.uk)

Last message left by Westminster attacker Khalid Masood …

The last message left by the killer Khalid Masood1 on the WhatsApp2 messaging service, revealing his motivation for the lethal attack in Westminster, has been uncovered by the security agencies, The Independent has learnt. In the message, sent just minutes3 before he began the rampage in which five people died and 50 were injured, the 52-year-old Muslim convert had declared that he was waging jihad in revenge against Western military action in Muslim countries in the Middle East. The person who received the message has been extensively questioned, but freed after the police and MI5 concluded that he was not part of a plot and had no prior knowledge of what was unfolding on 22 March.

Eleven others detained following the attack were freed and have been cleared from inquiries. The continuing threat in centre of the capital and heart of the government was highlighted just today with the arrest of a man allegedly carrying what was described as rucksack of knives close to the Treasury. The suspect was taken away by armed police; no one was injured during the incident.

The accessing of Masood s message was achieved by what has been described by security sources as a use of human and technical intelligence . Details of the method used cannot be disclosed for security reasons, but sources said they now have the technical expertise to repeat the process in future. It was made possible because Masood s mobile telephone was recovered after he was shot dead.

Discovering Masood s last recorded thoughts was the key part of the investigation into what lay behind the assault which started with him mowing down people on the road with a rented car and then stabbing a police officer, Keith Palmer, dead on the grounds of the House of Commons. Scotland Yard stated at the outset that his communications on the day of the attack was the main line of inquiry. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu stressed in an appeal: If you heard from him on 22 March, please come forward now . The information you have may prove important to establishing his state of mind.

There was initial thought among investigators that Masood may have been in contact with someone involved in a plotting his attack. There have been repeated recent atrocities two in France and two in Germany just in the past year in which terrorists were found to have been guided through messaging service by Isis handlers just before they struck. Isis had claimed credit for the Westminster attack, but no evidence has emerged to back this up.

Masood, who was born in Kent, had come to the notice of the security service for being on the fringes of Islamist extremism in the past, but he was not seen as a threat. It is suspected that he may have been radicalised during spells in prison in this country and three trips to Saudi Arabia . But it is not known at what point he decided to turn to violence. Investigators have established that he carried out a reconnaissance journey to central London four days before the attack; he did not discuss the trip with anyone else.

Met Police announce that terror perpetrator Khalid Masood was born Adrian Russell

It is unclear when Home Secretary Amber Rudd was made aware that Masood s WhatsApp message had been retrieved. She complained soon after the killings that the law agencies had been unable to access Masood s words because of the use of encryption by the technology company. She said: It s completely unacceptable .

There should be no place for terrorists to hide . We need to make sure that organisations like WhatsApp, and there are plenty of others like that, don t provide a secret place for terrorists to communicate with each other. The Home Secretary subsequently urged, at a meeting with her EU counterparts in Brussels, swift action to tackle online access for terrorists and held a meeting later that week in London with technology companies on the same issue.

The secrecy provided to users by social media companies has become a contentious issue after a series of cases in which the sites were used by terrorists and their accomplices. Michael Adebowale, one of the murderers of Fusilier Lee Rigby, had used Facebook to describe in a graphic way how he wanted to kill a soldier, but Facebook failed to pass this on to the authorities. Following criticism from the parliamentary intelligence and security committee a spokesman for Facebook said they do not allow terrorist content on the site and take steps to prevent people from using our service for these purposes .

Families of victims of terrorism in Brussels, Paris and California are taking legal actions in American courts against Twitter and Facebook claiming that the companies had failed to stop violent extremists from using their platforms.

But civil liberties campaigners, social media firms and technology analysts hold that measures like encryption were essential not just to prevent unwarranted state prying into lives of people but also to ensure that hackers and criminals are prevented from gaining access to personal information.

Last Message Left By Westminster Attacker Khalid Masood ...Reuse content4

References

  1. ^ Khalid Masood (www.independent.co.uk)
  2. ^ WhatsApp (www.independent.co.uk)
  3. ^ sent just minutes (www.independent.co.uk)
  4. ^ Reuse content (www.independent.co.uk)

Steve Bannon threatened to quit if removed from National Security Council, say reports

Few things give Washington pundits1 more pleasure than monitoring the varying fortunes of White House officials – especially when those officials are somewhat controversial. So there was no some furore when it was revealed Steve 2Bannon3, the far right adviser to Mr Trump, had been removed from his position on the National Security Council . It has now been reported the former Breibart publisher threatened to quit the administration as he fought to retain the role. The New York Times said Mr Bannon s allies denied he threatened to leave, and sought instead to portray the move as a natural evolution as the government settled in.

Susan Rice operationalised the NSC . during the last administration, Mr Bannon said in a statement, mentioning Barack Obama s national security adviser.

I was put on the NSC with General Michael Flynn to ensure that it was de-operationalised .

General McMaster has returned the NSC to its proper function. Yet within Washington, the decision to remove Mr Bannon from the NSC s principals committee – a move that was said have been orchestrated by Lt Gen HR McMaster, Mr Trump s national security advisor – was seen as possible indication that the far right former navy officer s fortunes may be waning. Steve Bannon being talked about will be his kiss of death

For the first weeks of the administration, Mr Bannon s hand appeared to be present at every decision of any importance . He encouraged Mr Trump to attack the media, and revelled in personally denouncing reporters as the opposition . He pushed Mr Trump to retain the chaotic management style that had marked the election campaign.

Yet it is possible that Mr Bannon s influence may be diminishing, as Mr Trump turns increasingly to those he believes he can trust the most – family members such as Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner. His eldest daughter has taken a position as federal employee within the White House, as has Mr Kushner, the former real estate magnate who appears to have been given responsibility for everything from relations with China to bringing peace to the Middle East . This week, there was much scorn as Mr Kushner was photographed during a visit to Iraq to meet with US and Iraqi military officials.

The newspaper said Mr Bannon s enemies, inside and outside the White House, celebrated what they saw as a defeat for a man who has been seen as the power behind the presidency.

He didn t belong on the principals committee to begin with – doesn t really belong in the White House at all, said Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California .

I hope that this is a sign that McMaster is taking control of the National Security Council.

Others speculated that Mr Trump may have acted partly out of annoyance over reports that suggested that Mr Bannon, and not he, was the person actually running the country.

Steve Bannon Threatened To Quit If Removed From National Security Council, Say ReportsReuse content4

References

  1. ^ Washington pundits (www.independent.co.uk)
  2. ^ Steve (www.independent.co.uk)
  3. ^ Bannon (www.independent.co.uk)
  4. ^ Reuse content (www.independent.co.uk)