America warned two years ago over "September 11": report
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Sunday June 9, 8:22 AM

America warned two years ago over "September 11": report

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Britain's foreign intelligence service MI6 warned the United States about terrorist plans to use civilian planes in "unconventional ways" two years before the September 11 strikes, according to a newspaper report.

In 1999, MI6 handed a secret report to liaison staff at the US embassy in London after the intelligence service learned of such plans by followers of prime terror suspect Osama bin Laden, The Sunday Times said.

The information did not specify targets and would not necessarily have enabled US agencies to prevent the September 11 plane attacks on New York and Washington, the paper quoted intelligence sources as saying.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have been sharply criticised for intelligence failures ahead of September 11, when hijacked planes were steered into the World Trade Center and Pentagon with the loss of some 3,000 lives.

The FBI has responded to accusations by recently unveiling a sweeping restructuring effort aimed at protecting the United States from future terrorist strikes.

Further details of MI6's warnings are expected to emerge during secret Congressional hearings into US intelligence failures later this week in Washington, The Sunday Times said.

"The Americans knew of plans to use commercial aircraft in unconventional ways, possibly as flying bombs," it quoted a senior Foreign Office source as saying.

The United States says bin Laden's al-Qaeda terrorist network was behind the September 11 strikes.

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