The search for the vest or device or whatever it is they’re looking for continues. The Times of London says the tip came from a single “nervous” informant and that “[s]ome elements of the story he had to tell agents bordered on the incredible”.

But other elements, not so much:

Anti-terror cops swooped on the “poison bomb” house after they were shown what they believe is a blueprint for a device that could kill hundreds of people…

A security source said: “A drawing of the toxic chemical device thought to be in the house was passed on to the intelligence services. That was shown to scientific experts who said that it was a viable device that could be used at any time and had to be found.”

The informant also told cops he overheard the suspects talking about the device. Police later concluded it would be laced with cyanide, but ToL’s report doesn’t explain how they reached this conclusion. One of the suspects was allegedly arrested before for possessing pepper spray; both of them were already being monitored by MI5 (as part of a “low-level” operation) when the informant came through with this tip.

A police source insists they’re “absolutely certain” the device exists.

Meanwhile, the British papers are horrified that one of the suspects was shot. “Should police be allowed to shoot terrorism suspects?” wonders the Telegraph at its most inane. The Daily Mirror quotes a police source as saying the gun went off accidentally when one of the suspects grabbed it. The suspect denies it. How paranoid are the British that they might have another Jean Charles de Menezes on their hands? According to the ultra-tabloid News of the World, this paranoid:

[I]ncredibly, the hunt for the device had to be delayed after the shooting so that the police complaints investigation could take precedence at the scene.

That initial assessment took over FIVE HOURS before bio-chemical experts were finally allowed into the building at 9.30am.

Scare caps theirs. Meanwhile, the Daily Mail knows what it all comes down to: Iraq, baby, just like Iqbal Sacranie says.

Update: The Guardian says it’s a bust:

Senior counter-terrorism officials now believe that the intelligence that led to the raid on a family house last Friday in a search for a chemical device about to be used to attack Britain was wrong, the Guardian has learned…

[A] senior police officer said they had been left with “no choice” but to force entry into the house because there was specific intelligence of a threat to public safety.

One official, with knowledge why police acted and what had been found from days of searching, said the intelligence had been acted on correctly, but added last night: “There is no viable device at that house. There is no device being constructed, or chemicals. There does not appear to be anything there or anywhere else.”

If they hadn’t moved on it, they’d be crucified for ignoring a tip about WMD. Now that they did move on it and nothing panned out, they’ll be crucified for jumping to conclusions. The grievance peddlers at the Muslim Council of Britain will play it to the hilt, too, just to make sure that an unassimilated, alienated minority stays unassimilated and alienated. FUBAR in every way.

Tags: terrorism