WASHINGTON, Feb 27: German intelligence agents in Baghdad obtained a copy of Saddam Hussein's plan to defend the Iraqi capital, which was passed on to US commanders a month before the 2003 invasion, The New York Times reported.
In providing the Iraqi document, German intelligence officials offered more significant assistance to the United States than their government has publicly acknowledged, the newspaper said on its Web site yesterday.
The plan gave the American military an extraordinary window into Iraq's top-level deliberations, including where and how Saddam planned to deploy his most loyal troops, the Times said.
An account of the German role in acquiring a copy of the Iraqi plan is contained in an American military study, which focuses on Iraq's military strategy and was prepared in 2005 by the US Joint Forces Command, it said.
The German government was an especially vociferous critic of the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq. While the German government has said that it had intelligence agents in Baghdad during the war, it has insisted it provided only limited help to the US-led coalition.
After the German agents obtained the Iraqi plan, they sent it up their chain of command, the paper said, citing the study.
In February 2003, a German intelligence officer in Qatar provided a copy to an official from the US Defense Intelligence Agency who worked at the wartime headquarters of Gen. Tommy Franks, according to the American military study.
The Iraqi plan called for massing troops along several defensive rings near Baghdad, including a ''red line'' that Republican Guard troops would hold to the end, the paper said.
Ulrich Wilhelm, the chief spokesman for the German government, declined to comment on the report, the Times said.