GW’s National Security Archive obtains records of FBI interviews with Saddam Hussein

The National Security Archive, a GW research institute, has published summaries of 20 formal interviews and five casual conversations between FBI special agents and former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

The interviews, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, span five months in 2004, from February to June, and were published on the Archive’s Web site earlier this week.

Throughout the interviews, Hussein appeared concerned about his legacy, and recounted the history of Iraq from the 1968 Ba’ath Party takeover to when he was captured in 2003 by American troops. Hussein seemed to have built a camaraderie with the lead FBI interviewer, George Piro, and even read him poetry he had written.

During the course of the interviews, Hussein denounced Osama bin Laden as a zealot and claimed that Iraq did not cooperate with United Nations inspectors because of the threat posed by Iran.

“Hussein stated he was more concerned about Iran discovering Iraq’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities than the repercussions of the United States for his refusal to allow UN inspectors back into Iraq…the UN inspectors would have directly identified to the Iranians where to inflict maximum damage to Iraq,” according to the documents. Hussein said the difference between Iran having that information was the difference between hitting someone on the forearm and hitting them on the elbow or wrist, which would disable the arm.

Hussein also stated he was interested in American culture and watched American movies to understand it.

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