In testimony to the U.K. panel investigating the 2003 invasion of Iraq, former head of MI5 (U.K.’s counter-intelligence and security agency) Eliza Manningham-Buller “said that Britain relied on ‘fragmentary’ intelligence before invading Iraq, and that MI5 had not believed that Mr. Hussein was amassing unconventional weapons in Iraq, as the government contended. The belief that Iraq might use such weapons ‘wasn’t a concern in either the short term or the medium term to my colleagues and myself,’ she said. Not only was the invasion unnecessary based on what was known about Iraq, Lady Manningham-Buller said, but it diverted attention from the real threat, Al Qaeda. ‘By focusing on Iraq, we ceased to focus on the Al Qaeda threat or we reduced the focus on the Al Qaeda threat in Afghanistan,’ she said. ‘I think that was a long-term, major and strategic problem.’ ”

 – Sarah Lyall, “Ex-Official Says Afghan and Iraq Wars Increased Threats to Britain,” The New York Times, July 20, 2010