The former head of MI5 has accused the government in an interview of eroding civil liberties by exploiting fears over terrorism.
Dame Stella Rimington said interfering with people’s privacy played straight into the hands of terrorists.
She told Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia the clampdown risked creating a “police state.”
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“It would be better that the government recognise that there are risks, rather than frightening people in order to be able to pass laws which restrict civil liberties,” she said.
“(That is) precisely one of the objects of terrorism: that we live in fear and under a police state,” she added.
Rimington, 73, also criticised the approach of the United States to fighting terrorism.
“The US has gone too far with Guantanamo and the tortures. MI5 does not do that. Furthermore it has achieved the opposite effect: there are more and more suicide terrorists finding a greater justification,” she said.