Former MI5 head says terrorist threat ‘exploited to curb civil liberties’

Dame Stella Rimington, the former head of MI5, has accused the Government of exploiting public fear of terrorism to restrict civil liberties.

Her comments came on the same day as a report published by international jurists suggested that Britain and America have led other countries in “actively undermining” the rule of law and “threatening civil liberties” in the guise of fighting terrorism.

In an interview with the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia, Dame Stella said that a series of increasingly draconian policies have led British citizens to “live in fear and under a police state”

The 73-year-old said: “Since I have retired I feel more at liberty to be against certain decisions of the Government, especially the attempt to pass laws which interfere with people’s privacy.

“It would be better that the Government recognised that there are risks, rather than frightening people in order to be able to pass laws which restrict civil liberties, precisely one of the objects of terrorism: that we live in fear and under a police state.”

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