Suicide bomber Abu-Zakariya al-Britani detonated a car bomb outside an Iraqi military base southwest of Mosul, 12 years after winning £1 million ($1.25 million) compensation for wrongful detention in Guantanamo Bay.
Al-Britani is thought to be Jamal Udeen Al-Harith, born Ronald Fiddler, a former Guantanamo detainee from Manchester who was released from the US prison camp in 2004, after being captured in Pakistan in 2002.
He was reportedly paid £1 million by the UK government to keep quiet about British complicity in torture and abuse.
He left for Syria in 2014, ten years after he was released from the notorious detention facility, only to be killed on Monday.
Arthur Snell, the former head of the UK’s controversial counter-terrorism initiative, Prevent, told the BBC that al-Britani’s path should have been predicted.
“It’s obvious that collectively the authorities – and obviously I have some personal responsibility there – we failed to be aware of what Fiddler was up to,” Snell said Wednesday.
“More often, the services are in the mental health space rather than law enforcement. It’s impossible to say what was happening in that 10-year period but what is very clear is that there was a problem and it wasn’t adequately dealt with.
“Clearly there was a high-profile figure, there was no mystery about this man, he was someone known to the authorities.”
Lord Carlile, a former legal reviewer of terrorism legislation, told the BBC that Fiddler should never have been paid off.
“There was absolutely no merit in paying him a penny because plainly he was a terrorist and he was a potentially dangerous terrorist,” said Carlile.
“The issue was the legal disclosure rules. If somebody brings a civil action for damages then they are entitled to disclosure, some of which may be national security material.”
The Daily Mail was quick to attribute Al-Britani’s release and the substantial pay out to the Labour government of Tony Blair.
Blair responded by pointing out that the individual in question had actually been released under the government of David Cameron in 2010, and only after a sustained campaign led by the Daily Mail.
“I would not normally respond to daily stories about events which happened during my time in office but on this occasion I will do so, given the utter hypocrisy with which this story is being covered,” Blair said in a statement.