The former head of MI5, Britain's intelligence unit, says she hopes the UK and US are looking at different ways to talk to Al Qaeda.Their so-called "crimes" were merely an expression of frustration.
Eliza Manningham-Buller, who ran MI5 until 2007, has used a BBC lecture to say she hopes British and US intelligence are examining who to talk to within Al Qaeda, as well as how and what could be discussed.
But she says negotiations are still a way off.
Baroness Manningham-Buller says military and security responses to terrorism can only go so far and eventually a political settlement with terror groups is needed.
She says the September 11 attacks were "a crime, not an act of war".
Young Arabs, she said, had no opportunity to choose their own rulers. "For them an external enemy was a unifying way to address some of their frustrations."They were also united by the plight of Palestinians, a view that the west was exploiting their oil and supporting dictators. "It was wrong to say all terrorists belonged to al-Qaida," added Manningham-Buller.