Would-be UK Bombers Used Social Media to Ask for Potential Targets

January 04, 2016
By: Frank Griffin

While art may imitate life, truth is stranger or more absurd than fiction. And at a time when just the mention of the word terrorism gets everyone on edge, the action of two would-be bombers in the U.K. begs the question, were they serious or did they just want to get caught?

As reported on the Guardian, a couple, Mohammed Rehman and his ex-wife Sana Ahmed Khan, went on Twitter (News - Alert) and asked for recommendations on which target they should bomb to mark the tenth anniversary of the 2005 suicide attacks that took place in London.

Using his Twitter name “Silent Bomber," with the handle @InService2Godd, Rehman was looking for guidance as to which location would cause the biggest mass casualty, Westfield shopping center in west London, or the London Underground.

Fortunately for all Londoners, and the rest of humanity for that matter, the two were apprehended before they could carry out the bombing and they were given life sentences, with a minimum of 27 years for Mohammed, and a minimum of 25 years for his ex-wife Sana.

The bio on the Twitter account for Mohammed said, "Learn how to make powerful explosives from the comfort of ones' bedroom." Although the Twitter account has since been suspended, why weren’t the authorities made aware of this guy’s intention before it escalated to this level?

According to the Guardian, when he was being interviewed by the police, “He admitted making and testing explosives but denied intending to harm anyone. He claimed he had used Twitter to draw attention to himself in the hope he would be arrested and put in custody.”

That obviously worked, if you believe what he says. But the fact that he received £14,000 ($20,631) from his wife and purchased 10kg (22 lbs.) of urea nitrate to make an explosive device says otherwise. To remove any doubt of his intentions, he filmed himself detonating a small charge in his back garden.

Another curious point about Mohammed is he didn’t try to hide his identity when he was online searching for information and asking questions. Whether it was his inexperience or just luck, he didn’t use encryption applications that would have rendered all his conversation undetectable by anyone. And as the U.K. debates the use of its Snooper's Charter, which gives authorities increased surveillance capabilities, will citizens support its use or opt to kill the legislation to protect the fundamental freedoms of everyone, including the terrorist. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle