Ex-MI5 chief says West over-reacted to 9/11

October 18th, 2008 - 5:39 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 18 (IANS) Former British spy chief Stella Rimington says the West’s response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US was a “huge overreaction”.In an interview with The Guardian newspaper published Saturday, the former head of MI5 says Al Qaeda’s attack was “another terrorist incident” - not qualitatively different from any others.

“That’s not how it struck me. I suppose 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 said.

In a challenge to the views held by former Prime Minister Tony Blair and other Western politicians, Rimington also blamed the Iraq war for fomenting terrorism.

Asked what impact the war had had on the terrorist threat, she said: “Well, I think all one can do is look at what those people who’ve been arrested or have left suicide videos say about their motivation. And most of them, as far as I’m aware, say that the war in Iraq played a significant part in persuading them that this is the right course of action to take.”

“So I think you can’t write the war in Iraq out of history. 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,” Rimington added.

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