Saddam terror threat was limited, says UK ex-spy chief

The British security service MI5 judged that Saddam Hussein only had a limited ability to mount terrorist attacks in the UK before the invasion of Iraq, according to a newly-released document.

Baroness Manningham-Buller, then deputy director-general of MI5, said Iraqi intelligence would need to “import” teams from overseas to carry out any strikes against Britain.

She summarised the terrorist threat to the UK in response to an attack on Iraq in a previously secret March 2002 memo to John Gieve, then permanent secretary at the Home Office.

The spy chief said MI5 assessed that Saddam would only use chemical or biological weapons against Western targets “if he felt the survival of his regime was in doubt”.

But she added: “In these circumstances, his preferred option would be to use conventional military delivery systems against targets in the region rather than terrorism.”

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