Despite being labelled “a risk to the public” the man in his 30s has used human rights law to remain anonymous, yet is thought to have recruited up to 500 young Britons via internet forums to the extremist cause from his Midlands home.
He is known to have met “White Widow” Samantha Lewthwaite, the world’s most wanted female terrorist, and had links to Rashid Rauf, the British Al Qaeda operative killed by a US drone and thought to have been involved in the 2006 “liquid bomb” plot to bring down an airliner.
Despite his connections with major UK extremists it took the FBI to alert British police that he is now a major recruiter for jihadi fighters.
But British attempts to keep tabs on him are severely hampered because of the way terror suspects are now monitored.
He was subjected to a strict Control Order after a judge heard he was a “committed Islamist extremist who would represent a risk to the public”, but these orders have been replaced by the much-criticised Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPIMs) that expire after two years and are almost impossible to renew.
His TPIM expired in January and while the Sunday Express knows the man’s identity he cannot be named because lawyers successfully argued that would breach his human rights.
He knows how to talk to young Brits
Yet FBI agents who have studied many thousands of social media postings on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube have warned he is still “esteemed and influential”.
An FBI source with close working links to the British security forces said: “We have asked our UK counterparts to pay particular attention to him because we have legitimate fears that he is facilitating and inspiring British jihadis to connect with Isis.
“We first raised concerns when he was released from his TPIM restrictions. We believe he is an influential figure in jihadist circles. He’s the poster boy for British fighters.
“The situation in Iraq and Syria is what guys like him have been waiting for all their lives. There is no doubt he is playing his part. He may have been out of the loop for a while but he is now an esteemed and influential character.
“He is popular in UK jihadist circles because of his working class background and ability to identify with raw, young recruits in the UK and Europe.
“Certain phrases and slang words used in texts and communication intercepts show he knows how to talk to young Brits in their own language.”
British anti-terrorism units are understood to be trying to place him under 24-hour surveillance but are being hampered by lack of funds and his “human rights”.
The FBI source said: “Lack of a formal order restricting his movements and communications makes tracking him more difficult. Guys like him are trained in counter-surveillance measures and it can be problematic.
“We know he played a part in the rise of Al Shabab in Somalia and contacted Samantha Lewthwaite [widow of 7/7 bomber Germaine Lindsay] in Africa.We believe he has been sent out across the globe by senior Al Qaeda figures as a kind of international emissary. His name has cropped up in several international terror plot investigations.
“The TPIM system was always going to pose difficulties because of its seemingly arbitrary cut-off point of two years.”
Last night Diana Johnson, Labour’s shadow Home Office minister, said: “Time and time again we have warned that the decision to weaken terror controls would have consequences.
“The two-year time limit means suspects who courts have described as highly dangerous now face very few restrictions. UK courts found strong evidence this individual previously ran terror training camps with the aim of blowing up British planes.”
Former Home Secretary Alan Johnson said: “It was a huge mistake to dilute control orders. As the Home Office ponders the new threat from Syria and Iraq of returning UK citizens, they should look at the glaring anomalies they themselves created.”
Immigration and Security Minister James Brokenshire said: “We do not comment on security matters. TPIMs were introduced precisely because control orders were not working and their powers were being struck down by the courts.
“TPIMs remain a useful option for our police and security services in the fight against terrorism. But they are only one of a range of measures available to disrupt terrorist activities.”
via – http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/485532/FBI-warns-of-Iraq-terror-plot-chief-living-in-the-UK