Dame Stella Rimington, the ex-boss of MI5, said the UK government risks creating a police state with its relentless attacks on people's privacy and creation of a culture of fear.
She told Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia: “It would be better that the Government recognised 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.”
Rimington was even more critical of US use of torture and the Guantanamo prison camp which helps justify the work of extremists.
Dame Stella has previously spoken out against government plans for ID cards which she said would be of no benefit in the fight against terrorism.
Of course "M" is not alone - yesterday the International Commission of Jurists released results of a three year investigation into the impact of anti-terror laws.
It said: "Many governments, ignoring the lessons of history, have allowed themselves to be rushed into hasty responses to terrorism that have undermined cherished values and violated human rights. The result is a serious threat to the integrity of the international human rights legal framework.”
Mary Robinson, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said: “Seven years after 9/11 it is time to take stock and to repeal abusive laws and policies enacted in recent years... It is now absolutely essential that all states restore their commitment to human rights and that the United Nations takes on a leadership role in this process." ®