MI5 HEAD TOLD BLAIR IRAQ NO THREAT
Eric Margolis: Most US media ignoring explosive testimony by former MI5 head at Iraq inquiry
Iraq war emboldened Osama bin Laden and radicalized Muslims: former MI5 chief
Britain's former MI5 chief delivered a strong critique Tuesday of the reasons for entering the Iraq war. Her testimony before the Chilcot Inquiry panel contradicts that of former Prime Minister Tony Blair.
By Taylor Barnes, Correspondent / July 21, 2010
Britain's former MI5 chief harshly criticized the 2003 invasion of Iraq, saying Tuesday that her spy agency warned that Saddam Hussein had no known links to Al Qaeda, that Iraq posed little threat, and that some in a generation of British Muslins had been radicalized by the action.
"Arguably we gave Osama bin Laden his Iraqi jihad, so that he was able to move into Iraq in a way that he was not before," said Eliza Manningham-Buller, director of MI5 – Britain's rough equivalent of the FBI – from 2002 to 2007.
Ms. Manningham-Buller's statements to Britain's Chilcot Inquiry panel, which is investigating the country's involvement in the Iraq war, are seen as a dramatic criticism of the testimony former Prime Minister Tony Blair gave to the panel earlier this year supporting the toppling of Saddam Hussein.
Al Jazeera reports that the panel has been "marked by politicians and former senior British government officials either defending positions or, perhaps, massaging history to fit their purpose," which is why Manningham-Buller's words "came as a significant intervention." She testified that her agency saw Iraq as a "very limited" or "containable" threat, Al Jazeera adds.