changing processes if necessary. It is not helpful – certainly not best practice – to have maps and drawings of one of the UK’s biggest airports left in the street.
“It is serving up intelligence on a plate to people. It’s hugely embarrassing and should not have happened. In the wrong hands it could potentially be very helpful and would save them a lot of time in planning an attack.”
The Sunday Mirror has passed the file to Heathrow intelligence chiefs. The man who found it has been interviewed by airport security chiefs.
Insiders admitted it sparked a “very, very urgent” probe and that it posed “a risk to national security”.
One document highlighted recent terror attacks to illustrate the type of threat Heathrow could face. It referenced the Leytonstone Tube stabbing in 2015, the Tunisia beach massacre which claimed the lives of 30 British tourists the same year and the 2016 bombing in Istanbul’s Atatürk international airport.
And the memory stick was found just days after US intelligence warned Islamic State jihadists and al-Qaeda are planning more mass-casualty attacks on the scale of the 9/11 hijackings.
Last year terrorists threatened to bring down a US-bound plane flying out of Heathrow during Independence Day celebrations. Meanwhile, US court papers last year revealed an al-Qaeda leader personally trained a former McDonald’s worker in bomb-making techniques to carry out a suicide attack in the arrivals hall at Heathrow – instructing him to target passengers from the US and Israel.
And earlier this month MI5’s Director General Andrew Parker said the current terrorism threat was the worst in his 34-year career.
He described it as “multidimensional, evolving rapidly and operating at a scale and pace we have not seen before”.
Keeping Heathrow safe – with four passenger terminals and one for cargo – is a mighty task. More than 80 airlines fly 75 million passengers a year to 185
destinations in 84 countries. A spokesman for the airport said: “Heathrow’s top priority is the safety and security of our passengers and colleagues. The UK and Heathrow have some of the most robust aviation security measures in the world and we remain vigilant to evolving threats by updating our procedures on a daily basis.
“We have reviewed all of our security plans and are confident that Heathrow remains secure.
“We have also launched an internal investigation to understand how this happened and are taking steps to prevent a similar occurrence in future.”
AIRPORT GUARD TERROR GIFT USB memory stick AIR SCARE Jet at Heathrow