The police say that an MI5 informer claimed that Mohammed Abdul Kahar and his brother Abul Koyair were storing a bomb at their home in east London.
Much is made in the media of the need for the security services to have improved intelligence in the “war on terror”.
But gathering intelligence is not just about producing dodgy dossiers on weapons of mass destruction.
Unlike the James Bond image, MI5 and the police rely on the sordid use and misuse of informers.
People are “encouraged” to help the intelligence services with threats of deportation or jail.
For instance, in 2001 Reda Hassaine, an Algerian born journalist, revealed how he was recruited by the security services to spy on Muslims in Britain.
He was encouraged to break into offices and steal documents.
He was promised that his application for asylum would be passed.
In fact, when the security services were finished with him Hassaine’s asylum application was rejected.
The pressure put on informers often produces misinformation.
The informer will often tell the security services or the police what they want to hear, in order to keep their handler happy or simply to stay out of jail.
Countless people have been sent to jail on the back of “evidence” provided by informers.
One notorious case was the M25 Three – Raphael Rowe, Michael Davis and Randolph Johnson – who were finally released after spending 12 years in jail for a murder they did not commit.
They were convicted on the evidence of Norman Duncan. Duncan was a suspect in the crime, but he became the chief witness against the three black men.
Duncan had been a police informer who collected a £10,000 reward from the Daily Mail for his part in jailing the three men.
The defence was not told that Duncan had spent two days in Reigate police station talking to his police “handler” before the arrests.
Since last year’s 7 July bombings in London the intelligence services have claimed to have recruited a large number of new informers. The result will be more botched raids and miscarriages of justice.