The Bishopsgate blast in 1993 was one of the worst acts of terrorism London has ever seen. David Shayler reveals the damning truth about the catastrophe.
The story begins on Friday August 7, 1992, during an MI5 investigation into the Provisional IRA (PIRA the MI5 term) operation on the British mainland. An MI5 officer is on the third floor of the organisation's building in Curzon Street, drafting the situation report for the investigation into an active service unit (ASU) which has been followed, moving suspicious trucks around West London.
Reporting indicates that the ASU is planning a large-scale attack in London, like the ones that took place six months earlier at the Baltic Exchange in the City and at Staples Corner near the M1/M25 intersection. The situation report will go out to all services involved in the operation, updating them on the state of play.
That Friday evening, all is calm. The joint Met S Squad/MI5 surveillance team has tracked the lorry to a trailer park in Northwest London. The ASU is under control and it looks like any potential attack will be thwarted and the culprits caught red-handed.
This is the last operation with the MPSB (the Metropolitan Police Special Branch), leading the intelligence investigation. Home Secretary Kenneth Clarke has already decided to switch the roles of MI5 and the MPSB for IRA investigations in Britain. After October 1, 1992, MI5 will be in charge and MPSB will offer support.