Meacher: I am not accusing the US of 9/11 plot

Michael Meacher, the former environment minister who sparked fury after suggesting the Bush administration may have purposely ignored warnings of the September 11 attacks yesterday said his views had been misrepresented, and that he had "not for a second suggested that the American government deliberately planned this."

Mr Meacher, who was a minister in the Blair Government for six years, provoked angry condemnation from the American government, after he hinted the US may have been hoping for such an attack. He also questioned whether "US air security operations were deliberately 'stood down' on 9/11."

The US government accused Mr Meacher of being "monstrously offensive" while Downing Street condemned his remarks in The Guardian.

But yesterday Mr Meacher said he "specifically and explicitly did not say this." He said he was "not a conspiracy theorist" and he did not believe September 11 was part of a US government plot.

Mr Meacher said the story posed a series of unanswered questions about the US's failure to act over September 11, which he thought should be investigated by Congress or a UK parliamentary committee. He said they did not reflect his personal view.

"I am not a conspiracy theorist or making accusations that America planned this. All I was saying is there are some unanswered questions about why they didn't follow up intelligence leads about September 11 from a number of sources," he said. "I am raising unanswered and legitimate questions."

Mr Meacher accused the press of stating as fact, and as his personal view, the issues he posed as questions in The Guardian, which was reproduced in The Mail on Sunday.

Mr Meacher questioned why the US failed to act after at least 11 countries warned of possible attacks.