Saddam Hussein's FBI interrogation files reveal 'almost' all

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Washington, July 5 (ANI): Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's interrogations by the FBI, after his capture in December 2003, have been released in form of transcripts, revealing some of the last thoughts of the Iraqi dictator.

During 20 formal interviews and at least five "casual conversations" over a four-month period from February to May 2004, Saddam said he had made a mistake in destroying Baghdad's stockpile of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) without independent verification from UN inspectors, the Independent reports.

He also told FBI interrogators that claims he had links with Osama bin Laden were incorrect, the Independent reports.

Codenamed "High Value Detainee #1," Saddam was interviewed at length on subjects ranging from WMD to the bloody history of the Iraqi Ba'athist regime. n WMD, Saddam said Iraq's stockpile had been "eliminated" by UN sanctions. But such was his concern about neighbouring Iran that he did not allow inspectors into Iraq for fear of appearing weak.

He felt Iraq was vulnerable and he would have sought a "security agreement with the US to protect [Iraq] from threats in the region."

Saddam claimed he allowed weapons inspectors back into Iraq in a desperate attempt to avert war

When asked about his greatest achievements, the former Iraqi leader cited social progress for ordinary Iraqis, a temporary ceasefire with the Kurds in the early 1970s, the nationalisation of Iraq's oil in 1972, and support for the Arab side during the 1973 Middle East war with Israel.

The documents suggest that an extraordinary rapport developed over time between Saddam and his interrogator, George L Piro, one of the very few FBI agents who spoke Arabic.

Saddam dismissed claims he had used body doubles to avoid assassination, and laughed: "This is movie magic, not reality."

Transcripts of the interviews were released last week in response to US Freedom of Information requests.

Despite the sensitive nature of some of the material, only the last interview - on 1 May - is redacted, though one background document is heavily edited.

The secret FBI files were seen by senior officials, including, it is believed, the former US president George Bush. (ANI)

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