Suspects Charged in U.K. Bombing Plot

British police charge 11 of 13 suspects in the alleged Aug. 10 plot to bomb trans-Atlantic flights. Charges include failing to aid an investigation of suspected terrorism and attempting to smuggle explosives aboard an aircraft.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

British authorities are releasing more information about an alleged plot to bomb transatlantic flights. Eleven of the suspects have been charged, and NPR's Guy Raz is covering this story in London. Guy, what are the suspects charged with?

GUY RAZ reporting:

Well, Steve, it's been 10 days now since the British police arrested these suspects. About two dozen were originally arrested, and there's essentially been a news blackout since that time. Now we understand 11 people have been charged. Eight of them have been charged with two counts, each with one count of conspiracy to murder, and another count of conspiracy to prepare acts of terrorism.

Three others have been charged under Britain's 2000 Terrorism Act. That includes a 17-year-old boy essentially charged with possession of terror-related articles, according to police, and failing to inform police of the alleged plot.

INSKEEP: When you talk about terror-related articles, very briefly, what evidence has come out against these men?

RAZ: Well, we know very specifically that police have found bomb-making equipment, hydrogen peroxide, bomb-making documents on how to make bombs, and martyrdom videos as well. Police are saying the scale of the investigation is immense, and they expect more charges to be filed against 11 others who are still in custody.

INSKEEP: Okay, guy. Thanks very much. That's NPR's Guy Raz in London covering one developing story this morning. Here's another.

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Remarks by Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke of Scotland Yard's Anti-Terrorist Branch:

"This is the first time we have been able to release information about the progress of the investigation, since the morning of the arrests on 10th August.

"This is not because we have wanted to withhold information from the public on the contrary, we want to tell the public as much as we can about the terrorist threat. But we have now reached the stage where I can give you more details. I cannot give you a running commentary on the enquiry. Neither can I give details of the specific evidence against individuals. What I can give is an indication of the type of evidence that will be presented in support of the prosecution.

"First, there is evidence from surveillance carried out before 10 August. This includes important, indeed, highly significant video and audio recordings.

"I can also tell you that since 10 August we have found bomb making equipment. There are chemicals, including hydrogen peroxide, electrical components, documents and other items.

"We have also found a number of video recordings - these are sometimes referred to as martyrdom videos. This has all given us a clearer picture of the alleged plot.

"However, the investigation is far from complete. The scale is immense. Enquiries will span the globe.

"The enormity of the alleged plot will be matched only by our determination to follow every lead and line of enquiry. I shall try to give you an idea of the size and complexity of this investigation.

"There have been 69 searches. These have been in houses, flats and business premises, vehicles and open spaces.

"As well as the bomb making equipment, we have found more than 400 computers, 200 mobile telephones and 8,000 items of removable storage media such as memory sticks, CDs and DVDs. So far, from the computers alone, we have removed some 6,000 gigabytes of data.

"The meticulous investigation of all this material will take many months. All the data will be analyzed.

"There will be thousands of forensic examinations and comparisons. Fingerprints, DNA, electronic data, handwriting comparisons, chemical analysis, and indeed the full range of forensic disciplines will be used.

"Aside from this particular case, we continue, working with the Security Service and others to investigate the threat from terrorism.

"I would like to reassure the public that we are doing everything we can to keep you safe, for you to live your lives without being in constant fear. However, we must be realistic. The threat from terrorism is real, it is here, it is deadly and it is enduring.

"As we all look for explanations, we cannot afford to be complacent and ignore the reality of what we face.

"These are difficult times for all communities, but I can assure you that the police service will not flinch from its duty to protect the public. More information will be given as and when it is appropriate to do so."

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