Bin Laden's general was given NINE British passports
Nine passports: Dhiren Barot was convicted last year of conspiring to murder large numbers by blowing up gas cylinders and detonating a dirty bomb
An estimated 10,000 British passports were issued to fraudulent applicants last year by the Home Office An Al Qaeda fanatic was issued with nine British passports while plotting to murder thousands of people in a series of terrorist atrocities, it has emerged.
Muslim convert Dhiren Barot was among 10,000 terrorists and fraudsters who managed to slip through Home Office security checks to secure a travel document every year.
The shocking figure emerged after officials trawled back through a sample of old files to search for fraudulent applications. Agency loses three passports each day Millions may have to travel up to 60 miles to get passports Mum's anger after baby's spiky hair leads to passport rejection
They discovered around 16,500 applications made every year are fraudulent - of which 10,000 go undetected. Last night, the Home Office was frantically sifting through all its old records to put a 'stop' on the passports.
The fact that Barot - considered Osama Bin Laden's 'UK general' until his conviction for plotting mass murder last year - is on the list is an acute embarrassment to the Government.
His trial heard the "vicious and utterly dedicated" terrorist - who was plotting a 'dirty' radioactive bomb attack on London - had regularly claimed to 'lose' his passport in order to cover his tracks. He did not want stamps on them from countries that might arouse suspicion.
But it has only now emerged the 34-year-old managed to successfully obtain nine different passports. Seven were in his true identity, having been repeatedly handed over by officials who accepted that his current passport had gone missing.
Alarmingly, a further two were obtained fraudulently, in false identities. The Home office admitted other terrorists were also on the list. Another man, Moroccan national Salaheddine Benyaich, had two UK passports in the name of a British citizen born in Brighton. He is currently serving 18 years in Morocco for terrorist offences.
Shadow Home Secretary David Davis, said: "It is outrageous that this Government managed to issue multiple genuine passports to convicted terrorists under false pretences.
"What is to say they won't issue genuine ID cards to terrorists or that terrorists will not use fraudulent passports to obtain genuine ID cards? "Yet again we see the public continue to be put at risk by the consequences of the Government's failure."
Barot, of Willesden, North London, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to murder at Woolwich Crown Court last year and was sentenced to life with a recommendation that he serve 40 years.
For nearly a decade, the banker's son toured the world meeting Bin Laden and other Al Qaeda overlords to obtain backing for a series of terror attacks in the UK and the U.S.
He plotted to blow up hotels, railway stations and even a Tube train under the Thames. When he was jailed, Mr Justice Butterfield called him a "danger to the public" who wanted to "wreak death and destruction on the Western world".
The Home Office released details of his passport history as they sought to justify the introduction of the new face-to-face passport interview.
Officials said Barot's fraudulent applications were among those which may have been rooted out - though the seven genuine applications are unlikely to have been blocked.
Prime Minister Tony Blair's official-spokesman said: "It isn't just a matter of saying there's 10,000 passports out there and doing nothing about them. "Each and every one of these is being followed up to ensure that those responsible are caught."
In 2003 it emerged that the first Al Qaeda terrorists to be convicted in Britain - Algerians Baghdad Meziane and Brahim Benmerzouga - had false identities and fake passports. The pair are now each serving 11 years in jail.