Woolsey singled out Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and the leaders of Saudi Arabia in an address in which he said the US was involved in a fourth world war. ‘We want you nervous,’ he said. ‘We want you to realise now, for the fourth time in a hundred years, this country and its allies are on the march and that we are on the side of those whom you — the Mubaraks, the Saudi Royal family — most fear: We’re on the side of your own people.’

Woolsey was head of the CIA in 1993-95. He has consistently argued that Iraq was behind the original bombing of the World Trade Centre in New York in 1993 and that there are links between the government of Iraq’s President Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda. Washington sources say that Woolsey was nominated by the US Department of Defence to be information minister in the provisional Iraqi government being formed by the Office of Reconstruction & Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA). It has been reported that this nomination was rejected as inappropriate by the White House because of Woolsey’s connections with US intelligence, but that he is still being considered for a role in post-crisis Iraq.