LONDON, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- British intelligence and police said the George W. Bush administration nearly blew Britain's case against alleged airline bomb plotters.
Three British Muslims were convicted Monday of plotting to blow up seven trans-Atlantic airliners in flight in a coordinated attack. However, officials said the plotters were arrested before they bought airline tickets.
Andy Hayman, the Metropolitan Police's assistant commissioner for specialist operations at the time of the plot, told The Times of London he thinks the White House was nervous as British officials reported mounting evidence of a plan to target U.S. cities.
Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 28; Tanvir Hussain, 28; and Assad Sarwar, 29, were convicted of plotting to detonate homemade bombs disguised as drinks on planes over the Atlantic Ocean. Four additional suspects in the terrorism case were found innocent of conspiracy to murder charges. The men were all arrested in August 2006 and authorities accused the men of plotting to use a mixture of chemicals to bomb flights traveling from London to North America.
Another alleged plotter, Rashid Rauf, was arrested but escaped from Pakistani custody, The Times reported. He died in an airstrike in Pakistan's tribal territories, U.S. officials reported late last year.
"We believed the Americans had demanded (Rauf's) arrest and we were angry we had not been informed," Hayman told The Times in an interview published Tuesday. "The arrest hampered our evidence-gathering and placed us in Britain under intolerable pressure."