MI5 chief Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller has asked the British public to discuss which of its liberties it is prepared to sacrifice in the war against terrorism.
The BBC reports:
The central dilemma, said Dame Eliza – director general of MI5 – was how to protect citizens within the rule of law when “fragile” intelligence did not amount to clear cut evidence.
Such intelligence was often not enough to support criminal charges in the courts, she said.
“We can believe, correctly, that a terrorist atrocity is being planned but those arrested by the police have to be released as the plan is too embryonic, too vague to lead to charges and possibly convictions,” she said.
It’s dilemma the Government encountered here all too often and dealt with through different measures – internment, for example, which clearly failed. Elsewhere, the Government seems to be constantly flip-flopping over introducing legislation to allow phone tap evidence to be made admissable as evidence in court.
So what do you want to give up? Is the nanny state getting nasty, or is it just taking some commonsense precautions?