SADDAM’S INTERROGATION

TIME has what it claims is exclusive coverage of the initial interrogation of Saddam.

Saddam Hussein was captured on Sunday without a fight. But since then, according to a U.S. intelligence official in Iraq, the fallen dictator has been defiant. “He’s not been very cooperative,” said the official, who read the transcript of the initial interrogation report taken during the first questioning session.

After his capture, Saddam was taken to a holding cell at the Baghdad Airport. He didn’t answer any of the initial questions directly, the official said, and at times seemed less than fully coherent. The transcript was full of “Saddam rhetoric type stuff,” said the official who paraphrased Saddam’s answers to some of the questions. When asked “How are you?” said the official, Saddam responded, “I am sad because my people are in bondage.” When offered a glass of water by his interrogators, Saddam replied, “If I drink water I will have to go to the bathroom and how can I use the bathroom when my people are in bondage?”

The interrogators also asked Saddam if he knew about the location of Captain Scott Speicher, a U.S. pilot who went missing during the first Gulf War. “No,” replied the former Iraqi president, “we have never kept any prisoners. I have never known what happened.”

Saddam was also asked whether Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. “No, of course not,” he replied, according to the official, “the U.S. dreamed them up itself to have a reason to go to war with us.” The interrogator continued along this line, said the official, asking: “if you had no weapons of mass destruction then why not let the U.N. inspectors into your facilities?” Saddam’s reply: “We didn’t want them to go into the presidential areas and intrude on our privacy.”

The official is doubtful that the U.S. will get a significant amount of intelligence from Saddam’s interrogations. “I would be surprised if he gave any info,” he said. Other high-ranking regime members, he said, have by and large remained mum. “Tariq Aziz [former deputy prime minister] hasn’t really spoken,” he said, “and Abid Mahmoud [Saddam’s former personal secretary] hasn’t really given any information.”


And Time’s cover pretty much picked itself this week:

FILED UNDER: Iraq War
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.