A former double-agent who spent decades feeding information on Islamic extremists to Western intelligence agencies has blasted those same organisations for ignoring his warnings about Jihadis coming to the streets of Europe until it was too late.
Reda Hassaine, who was run as an agent by the Security Service (MI5) and had his teeth “booted” into the back of his head after his cover was blown at a hate-rally organised by radical preacher Abu Qatada, said the agencies he ostensibly worked for were “deaf to my pleadings”.
In a column for the Indepdendent newspaper, Hassaine said his warnings were only taken seriously after the terror attacks of 9/11 and 7/7, which he had hoped to prevent. He said: “In retrospect, perhaps they didn’t value the information I gave them.
“There were clues in the fact that they paid me a pittance, which I should have recognised as a sign of them not valuing my information. I believe Britain paid a heavy price for distrusting a double agent”.
Although badly paid for the work he did, which started in his home country of Algeria as it descended into civil war in 1991 and continued on the streets of Britain as Islamism spread, Hassaine paid a heavy price for his work. Spying on a meeting of 60 young men and boys at a youth centre in East London organised and addressed by Abu Qatada in 2000, Hassaine’s cover was blown.
The Daily Mail reported Hassaine’s comments: “A sidekick of Qatada had learned I was a spy and pointed me out after the sermon that day. At that point, Qatada began to recite a special prayer of jihad, to encourage the killing of anyone who threatens Islam. I immediately sensed I was in trouble.
“After the service, I walked quickly to the doorway and pulled on my shoes. As I did so, I felt a big kick in my face, another on my head. A group of Abu Qatada’s men punched and hit me. They booted my teeth into the back of my head. I managed to wriggle away and fled into the street. The first thing I did, through my bloodied mouth, was to ring my MI5 minder”.
Hassaine said that the security service “dropped him like a hot stone” after he was uncovered, and he was even reportedly warned against going to hospital after the attack because that could endanger operations.
Describing why the intelligence service dismissed his warnings before the train bombings in London, Hassaine said: “they had their own value system which made it hard for them to believe a foreigner like me, even one from terror-bedevilled Algeria.
“They repeatedly told themselves that suicide bombings in London were impossible. They didn’t understand that British boys in the hands of terrorists would adopt a value system of hatred, annihilation and martyrdom. I did understand”.
Hassaine attempted to sue the government for up to £1 million earlier this year, claiming he had been neglected and the security service had failed to keep his identity secret. He dropped the case in May this year.