According to Spanish daily newspaper El Periódico, the Spanish government had received prior warning about a possible terrorist attack in Barcelona but decided to not react to it because the message lacked credibility.
The Spanish government and the Catalan government (Catalunia is a province of Spain that wishes to secede, they are holding an independence referendum soon) have been fighting for weeks now as to who is to blame for the apparent mistakes that were made by security forces which could have prevented the terrorist attack in Barcelona.
If the article is to be believed and the document that it shows is real, then Spain received warning from the US National counterterrorism Center, which acts as a coordinator between the CIA and other US intelligence agencies as early as 25 May of this year.
However, Joaquim Forn, the interior minister for the autonomous region of Catalonia, has strongly denied any such warning had come from US security agencies.
According to El El Periódico the cable which they obtained read: “Unsubstantiated information of unknown veracity from late May 2017 indicated that the Islamic State of Irak and ash-Sham (ISIS) was planning to conduct unspecified terrorist attack during the summer against crowed tourist sites in Barcelona, Spain specifically, La Rambla Street.”
He described the article as ‘a montage’ and at the same time accused the newspaper of trying to put the blame squarely on the Catalan police rather than the national Spanish forces, and this only for political reasons.
Mr Forn: “There is absolutely no link between this information and the van attack in Barcelona on August 17 that killed 14 people.”
The head of Catalonia's regional police, Josep Lluis Trapero, repeated Mr Forn’s statement that the warning did not come from the CIA neither the NCTC.
When asked by the Spanish press for a reaction, the US embassy in Madrid stated that it could not comment on any intelligence issues in which US agencies are involved, certainly not as long as an investigation is ongoing.