‘We won’t win the war’

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MI5 boss tells LMH students the Iraq-damaged ’War on Terror’ cannot be won The Director General of the Security Services (MI5) returned to her old college last week to give a speech in which she claimed the War on Terror could not be won, and that she had warned the government before the invasion of Iraq that war would only serve to increase the threat from terrorism.
Eliza Manningham-Buller, who has worked in MI5 since 1974 and was promoted to its top job in October 2002, was speaking at LMH (where she studied English from 1967 to 1970) as part of their annual Lady Margaret Day Dinner. In a speech in front of 250 students and tutors she talked eloquently and candidly about her role in MI5 and answered questions on the global security situation.
It was in response to questions from students that Manningham-Buller became more open. Noah Trugman asked, “George W. Bush declared a War on Terror, but is it a war that we can win?”; in response the MI5 chief bluntly said “No.”
On being pushed further she said that when she had worked to protect Britain from IRA attacks they had worked out that the ratio of prevented to successful attacks was 4:1 and that while she did not have any figures for the fight against Islamic extremists she expected the ratio was better.
She added that the best evidence for the level of success the security services were having came from the number of terrorists being taken to trial.
On the subject of the Iraq war, she responded to a question about whether invasion had increased the threat of terrorism by saying that not only did she think it had but that she had warned the Government it would do so in advance, along with the other members of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC).
Turning to other issues, Manningham-Buller also mentioned the recent arrest of a man who had managed successfully to apply for 50 passports under different identities, hinting at support for the Government’s controversial proposals to introduce
biometric identity cards. She was also keen to stress the good relations between French and United Kingdom intelligence services, despite well-known foreign policy differences.ARCHIVE: 6th week TT 2004 

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