What has been overlooked is could the guys have actually said what the government claimed they could do, which is create explosives from liquid to down a plane? I've seen a number of things to cast doubt on this.
Firstly, I had a number of conversations with various terrorism experts up at St Andrews who expressed a level of doubt over what was intended by the operation itself. Some, such as Dr John Horgan, suggested it was perhaps intended to embarass the security services, show the futility of their extra security. Previously, that would have almost certainly involved actually killing people, but in today's hyper-sensitive media climate, even the attempt alone can cause mass hysteria.
Secondly, a former senior British Army Intelligence Officer has also cast doubt on the official narrative of events.
"The idea that these people could sit in the plane toilet and simply mix together these normal household fluids to create a high explosive capable of blowing up the entire aircraft is untenable," said Lt. Col. Wylde, who was trained as an ammunition technical officer responsible for terrorist bomb disposal at the Royal Army Ordnance Corps in Sandhurst.
And finally, there is this discussion on Schneier on Security which seems to be backing up the claim of Lt. Col. Wylde, and treating the official version of events with some skepticism.
It's like trying to blow up a plane with your elementary-school science project volcano.
Of course, the plot did ultimately succeed....it triggered a hilariously out of proportion government response and scared a bunch of sheep....uh, I mean, Daily Mail and Sun readers. That's all you really need to do now.