From NBC as reported on BoingBoing: :
Hair-gel terrorists posed no risk last week
An anonymous "senior
British official knowledgeable about the [hair-gel bombers]" told NBC
that there was no threat to airplanes last week, that the terrorists had
been under surveillance for over a year, and that UK government didn't
plan on arresting them until they'd surveilled them a while longer,
but moved when they did because of US pressure:
In contrast to previous reports, the official suggested an
attack was not imminent, saying the suspects had not yet purchased any
airline tickets. In fact, some did not even have passports...
The official shed light on other aspects of the case, saying that while
the investigation into the bombing plot began "months ago," some suspects
were known to the security services even before the London subway
bombings last year.
I don't know what to think now. They have scaled down the level of threat. if there has been any element of bad faith in the handling of this incident, I think the authorities have done their credibility enormous harm. In practice, it would mean much greater and obvious blue water between UK and US security interests, in order to recover credibility.