LONDON -- Both of the suspects accused of butchering a British soldier on a London street had long been on the radar of Britain's domestic spy agency, though investigators say it would have been nearly impossible to predict the attack.
Still, counterterrorism officials said they are reviewing what -- if any -- lessons can be gleaned from the information they had leading up to the slaying Wednesday.
The review comes amid an outpouring of grief over the slaughter of 25-year-old Lee Rigby of the 2nd Battalion of The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. Rigby, who had a 2-year-old son, had served in Afghanistan.
His anguished wife, Rebecca Rigby, spoke of her loss at a news conference at his unit's headquarters. "I love Lee and always will," she said, sobbing.
His stepfather, Ian Rigby, read a statement on the family's behalf, including the final text the soldier had sent to his mother.
Detectives say they do not believe the attackers knew Lee Rigby or that he was specifically targeted, but they are still investigating.
Although British police have not named either suspect -- both are recovering from their injuries after being shot by police after the killing -- they had been known to law enforcement officers for as long as six years, a counterterrorism official said.
One of the suspects had been photographed at multiple raucous demonstrations by the banned extremist group al-Muhajiroun, which captured attention shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, when it organized an event celebrating the airline hijackers who killed thousands in the United States.
"We are looking at decisions that were made and reviewing whether anything different could have been done," said the official. "But you can't put everyone under surveillance who comes on to the radar."
Analysts say the attackers wanted the publicity to inspire copycats. Already, there has been increased chatter on militant sites, they said.
"We can see the tempo being raised," said Maajid Nawaz, a former jihadist who is now with the London-based anti-extremist Quilliam Foundation. "One of the reasons why these guys acted in this theatrical way was because of the propaganda effect so others would be inspired to do the same thing."