Pray that it’s true because if these chumps are the best they can do now by way of an A-team then we’re in better shape than we thought.

The London and Glasgow bomb plots were carried out with the approval of Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader, a top foreign intelligence source said last night.

“It was an established fact from Day 1 that al-Qaeda was behind this and it was planned by its followers in Great Britain with bin Laden’s blessing,” the source told The Times.

British security officials were more guarded, saying that it was too early to say whether the plot was masterminded by some foreign hand or hatched in Britain.

There’s almost no way the source could know that Bin Laden approved the operation unless the info comes from Bilal Abdulla, the Glasgow jihadi who’s now in custody, by way of British officials. Would he have any motive to falsely claim Osama personally approved his attack? Sure: he failed badly, three times no less, and now looks semi-ridiculous. This is how he gets his jihadi cred back.

Can he be placed in the Afghan border area any time in the last six years? Nope, not unless you want to draw some broad inferences:

A friend who attended the Medical College of Baghdad University with Dr Abdulla told The Times that he was a religious fanatic, and that in 2001 or 2002 he mysteriously abandoned his studies for a year.

“There was some talk that he went outside Iraq to develop his religious culture. I heard that he went to Lebanon or Pakistan,” the friend said…

After he graduated in 2004 he went overseas — the friend did not know where — and finally turned up in Scotland, where he worked at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley.

2004 is semi-plausible. 2002, when AQ was under siege from the U.S. and looking to regroup, not so much. The Guardian takes a run (by implication) at the Osama theory too but they can’t do much better:

The alleged failed bombers left a trail of mobile telephone numbers and emails which is being sifted. Even before the plot, the agencies had identified new tactics by the al-Qaida leadership, hiding in north-west Pakistan, and its affiliates, notably in Iraq. Whitehall sources say that al-Qaida networks have proved remarkably resilient. Al-Qaida in Iraq is better organised and has better relations with the core leadership since Abu Ayoub al-Masri, an Egyptian, took over from Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian killed a year ago, according to the Iraqi government.

Al-Qaida leaders have also developed a more flexible approach, delegating much more authority to sympathetic cells in other countries, including the west, say officials. A quarterly intelligence report prepared in April by the Joint Intelligence Analysis Centre (Jtac) warned while there was “no indication” of a specific threat to Britain, “we are aware that AQ-I (al-Qaida in Iraq) networks are active in the UK.”

Al Qaeda in Iraq remains a stronger possibility per the Daily Mail‘s revelation that, according to his uncle, Abdulla “was related by marriage to Iraqi cleric Sheikh Ahmad al-Qubeisi, who has said that ‘those who commit martyrdom operations are, by Allah, the greatest martyrs in Islamic history.'”

Meanwhile, for now at least, British Muslim groups are saying and doing all the right things.