Britain close to becoming a police state, says ex-MI5 chief

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London, Feb.17 (ANI): Dame Stella Rimington, the former head of MI5, has warned that the fear of terrorism is being exploited by the Government to erode civil liberties and the country risks becoming a police state.

"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," Dame Stella said in an interview with a Spanish newspaper."It would be better that the Government recognized 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," The Telegraph quoted her, as saying.

"The US has gone too far with Guant namo 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. The British secret services were no angels," she added.

Dame Stella became the first woman director general of MI5 in 1992 and was head of the security agency until 1996. Since stepping down she has been a fierce critic of some of the Government's counter-terrorism and security measures, especially those affecting civil liberties.

Her latest remarks were made as the Home Office prepares to publish plans for a significant expansion of state surveillance, with powers for the police and security services to monitor every email, as well as telephone and Internet activity. (ANI)

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