Saturday 24 February 2018

9/11 overdone -- ex-MI5 boss

JAMES MORRISON

THE former head of Britain's security services said the response to the 9/11 terror attacks was a huge overreaction. Stella Rimington, who retired 12 years ago from Britain's domestic security service, MI5, said the attacks of September 11, 2001, were not that different from other terrorist attacks.

"You know, it was another terrorist incident. It was huge, and horrible, and seemed worse because we all watched it unfold on television," she is reported as saying in an interview published yesterday by the Guardian.

"I'd lived with terrorist events for a good part of my working life, and this was, as far as I was concerned, another one," she was quoted as saying by the paper.

Rimington has become a vocal critic of the British government's anti-terror legislation. She opposed the government's plan to extend the amount of time police can hold terror suspects without charge from 28 to 42 days, a proposal that was defeated in the House of Lords last week.

In the interview, Rimington is also reported to have said said the Iraq war led some young men to take up terrorism.

"If what we're looking at is groups of disaffected young men born in this country who turn to terrorism, then I think to ignore the effect of the war in Iraq is misleading," she is quoted as saying.

Britain's Foreign Office said it had no comment.

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