Yesterday the Evening Standard, other news media, and blogs hyped up a ridiculous ABC News story "'Very Nasty' Potential Bomb Plot Involved Deadly Chemical" allegedly targeted at either the London Underground Tube system or at Gatwick Airport.
Why don't journalists check the sanity of stories from alleged "intelligence sources" ?
Instead of rushing off to grab edited soundbites from toxicology experts about how nasty the chemical might be if inhaled, they, yet again, did not ask the obvious questions:
How difficult is a search engine query for "world production of Osmium" ? This immediately yields academic sources which show that Osmium is an extremely rare metal, rarer than platinum, with an annual world production of less than 500 kilograms
Do terrorists use gold bullets these days ? They would be cheaper than Osmium Tetroxide.
A much more serious threat was exposed by the BBC Kenyon Confronts team which last year purchased (cheap) Sodium Cyanide with no difficulty.
If GCHQ really did intercept communications about such a "plot" , how exactly was it foiled ? Does simply warning the laboratory chemical suppliers of minute amounts of Osmium Tetroxide constitute "foiling a terrorist plot" ? How much of the chemical actually was purchased and delivered or stolen ? Why was there no MI6 or MI5 "sting" operation to ensnare the alleged plotters ?
If genuine, what is the actual motive for releasing such a story to the media ?
If this was a genuine GCHQ and MI6 (or MI5 ?) operation, why are "intelligence sources" blabbing about it to ABC News in the USA ?
Where in this "story" is there any evidence of any "terrorists" actually having been arrested for this alleged plot ? The implication is that the suspects are the 9 UK nationals recently arrested in Luton and Croydon etc, along with a bag of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, who are currently being held under the Terrorism Act , and who have not yet been charged with anything.
Is it the intention to prejudice any future criminal trial with such leaks to the USA media ?