JANE SKINNER: Joining us now is Steve Emerson, he's with the Investigative Project on Terrorism, a Washington D.C. – based terror analyst group. Authorities in London are being quoted today as saying, we didn't have any warning, we had no intelligence, and that worries them. Should it?
STEVE EMERSON: It should definitely worry them. The fact is that MI-5 and Scotland Yard are totally understaffed in relation to the ratio of agents to actual terror suspects. When you compare it to the FBI, the FBI is thoroughly in tune with the ratio that is required. In this particular case, not only were they surprised by this, but they are scouring almost every other possible vehicle in London , because according to law-enforcement sources, the odds are great that there are other vehicles that were rigged with explosives that are also detonated to go off.
SKINNER: It shouldn't be – in the big scheme of things – it shouldn't be such a huge surprise. It was the Home Secretary last year who said we are surveilling 1600 or so people at this point and we think there are about 30 active terror cells in this country.
EMERSON: That is what they knew about. That does not include what they did not know about. You can assume that this is a cell that they probably were not aware of. The fact is, the type of operation that was visited on London on July 5, 2005, that was not directed by al Qaeda about blessed by them. We don' t know exactly who was the culprit here, but if it turns out to be Islamic militants - the most likely scenario is that there will be a connection going back to Pakistan with somebody getting the blessing to carry out such an operation.
SKINNER: We should point out too, Steve, that it is really, really early in the investigation, but people jump immediately to the symbolism of it. You have a brand new Prime Minister who's been there two days, and as you said the two-year anniversary of 7/7 is next week. Typically Islamic fundamentalists don't like the fact there are nightclubs there, particularly one that last night was having "ladies night." In the past, authorities in the UK have busted –just in the past year - a couple of different plots, one of them targeting nightclubs. What do you read into that?
EMERSON: That's in fact very interesting because one of the complaints issued out of one of the last will and testimony videos coming from the July 2005 attacks was the decadence of western society and the fact that women were lascivious and that there was a lot of cultural decadence emanating from British society. That was not the only complaint, but it was certainly one of them and it is certainly consistent with this type of a car that would be in proximity to that. I must add also, they are also looking at the possibility that there were other targets -- there may have been some type of official living in that the area, or there may have been some type of belief that somebody would be passing by that car the next day – that being today - that could have been detonated by cell phone.
SKINNER: Steve, again, very early in all this. We are waiting for much more from police in the UK . Thank you.