Donald Trump’s Muslim ban would make America ‘much more dangerous place’, former MI5 chief tells EDP Business Awards
- Credit: AP
US presidential candidate Donald Trump's proposal to ban all Muslim from entering the country would make America 'a much more dangerous place', the former head of Britain's security service has said.
Baroness Eliza Manningham-Buller, a former director general of MI5, told guests at last night's EDP Business Awards that Mr Trump's plan would backfire because it would cut off intelligence being passed to security services from Muslim informants.
She said the 'most moving source of intelligence' during her career had been men and women willing to risk their lives to warn the authorities about terror threats, and criticised Mr Trump's call to turn away all Muslims entering the US, first made in the wake of a terrorist attack last year.
'The plots that have been stopped in this country and round the world would, most of them, not have been stopped without information from those very Muslims he demonises, and from Muslim members of staff,' said Baroness Manningham-Buller.
'So, actually, if he were able to do what he is threatening it would make America a much more dangerous place.'
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Baroness Manningham Buller was the director general of MI5 between 2002 and 2007, and was in charge on the day of the 7/7 bombings in London.
She said MI5 relied on four main sources of intelligence: interception of information, eavesdropping with microphones, surveillance and informants.
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'The one which during my career was the most moving source of intelligence to me is the men and women who give you information at risk of their lives and whose identity is sacred and to be protected in perpetuity,' she said.
'These are people who for a range of reasons are willing to tell you what terrorist act is going to happen.'
Baroness Manningham-Buller said there had been 15 serious terrorist plots during her time in charge of MI5, of which three were not detected in advance.
'One of the problems of working for MI5 is you are never remembered for your successes, you are remembered for your failures.
'You are remembered for 7/7 and the times you didn't stop something,' she said.
'Of those 15 [plots], three were not detected in advance: 7/7, which was an appalling day; 21/7 two weeks later where the detonators didn't work; and Richard Reid the shoe-bomber, who was stopped by an alert air hostess. The remaining 12, there are many people in prison for.'