“Iraq did not present a threat to the UK” says former MI5 boss

Eliza Manningham-Buller calls war with Iraq “a distraction” and foresees further terrorist attacks on Britain

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Baroness Manningham-Buller, the head of MI5 between 2002 and 2007, has suggested secret service intelligence presented before the Iraq war indicated that the conflict was not necessary.

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“Iraq did not present a threat to the UK,” she says. “The service advised that [going to war with] Iraq was likely to increase the domestic threat and that it was a distraction from the pursuit of al-Qaeda. I understood the need to focus on Afghanistan. Iraq was a distraction.”

Manningham-Buller presents a series of three Reith Lectures on Radio 4 next week, marking the tenth anniversary of 9/11 by providing her perspective on the events.

In the interview in the new issue of Radio Times she also discusses the 7/7 bombings in London. Does she think there will be more attacks on Britain?

“I assume there will be,” she says. “This isn’t a ‘war’ you win in a military sense, and you can’t anticipate everything.”

The Reith Lectures start on Radio 4 at 9:00am on Tuesday 6 September

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To find out what Eliza Manningham-Buller thinks of Spooks – and Amy Winehouse – read the full interview in the new issue of Radio Times, on sale now