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"High Value Detainee #1"
July 2, 2009 8:38 AM   Subscribe

Just released: Saddam Hussein Talks to the FBI. FBI special agents carried out 20 formal interviews and at least 5 "casual conversations" with former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein after his capture by U.S. troops in December 2003, according to secret FBI reports released as the result of Freedom of Information Act requests by the National Security Archive. Via this Washington Post article.
posted by amyms (25 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Dammit--those big white blocks of redacted material (as for example in this one) are crazy-making.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:16 AM on July 2, 2009


"OK, it looks like we're done here... Thanks for your co-operation, see you at the show trial and hanging!"
posted by Artw at 9:19 AM on July 2, 2009 [7 favorites]


This blog post questions – as far as I can tell accurately – WaPo's money line that Saddam was misleading about Iraq's WMD capacities. This is apparently the part of the conversation summaries that it was likely referencing:
Even though Hussein claimed Iraq did not have WMD, the threat from Iran was the major factor as to why he did not allows the return of the UN inspectors. 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. In his opinion, the UN inspectors would have directly identified to the Iranians where to inflict maximum damage to Iraq. Hussein demonstrated this by pointing at his arm and stated striking someone on the forearm would not have the same effect as striking someone at the elbow or wrist, which would significantly disable the ability to use the arm.
It is a long stretch, to be generous, to turn that into "Saddam let the US think he had WMDs."
posted by graymouser at 9:31 AM on July 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


Declassify on: 05/27/2034

Good grief. What other cool thing will we be learning around then?
posted by odinsdream at 9:52 AM on July 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


odinstream, it's my understanding that there is a fixed duration of classification for each level. I had thought it was something on the order of 50 years for most things, so that may actually imply that there are no great secrets to be revealed.
posted by feloniousmonk at 10:00 AM on July 2, 2009


It is a long stretch, to be generous, to turn that into "Saddam let the US think he had WMDs."

Without nuanced reporting, without a capable media acting its role as watchdog, it seems like a pretty easy stretch.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:01 AM on July 2, 2009


Declassify on: 05/27/2034

I bet we could narrow down who comes out looking the worst in the light of the classified content if we figured out which major administration officials are likeliest to be dead by this date.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:02 AM on July 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Without nuanced reporting, without a capable media acting its role as watchdog, it seems like a pretty easy stretch.

It's still long, regardless of the capacity of the media to make such stretches five times before breakfast.
posted by graymouser at 10:39 AM on July 2, 2009


Declassify on: 05/27/2034

Is that so long, as this sort of thing goes? Aren't there many still-classified Kennedy assassination documents?
posted by rokusan at 11:12 AM on July 2, 2009


I bet we could narrow down who comes out looking the worst in the light of the classified content if we figured out which major administration officials are likeliest to be dead by this date.

Well, by that logic it should be 2014, because I'm pretty sure that (unless he's a robot) Cheney will be long gone by then.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:17 AM on July 2, 2009


I was hoping for verbatim transcripts as opposed to summaries. Still very interesting.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 11:18 AM on July 2, 2009


(S) Saddam Hussein read SSA George Piro a poem he recently wrote. SSA Piro used this opportunity as a segue to discuss Hussein's speeches. It was clear to SSA Piro that Hussein wrote his own speeches, which he confirmed further, stating all his writings come from the heart.
posted by ageispolis at 11:19 AM on July 2, 2009


all his writings come from the heart

You'd better believe they do!
posted by Pollomacho at 11:34 AM on July 2, 2009


He did allow the UN inspectors back, in late 2002.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:00 PM on July 2, 2009


He did allow the UN inspectors back, in late 2002.

Oh yeah, sure, but that was so obviously just a double-fake-out ruse meant to trick America into thinking he was complying with our demands to allow inspectors back in...

As anyone in the world of cloaks and daggers knows, the truth is nothing more than the most convincing lie. So how better to fool people into thinking you're taking some action than to actually take it? Hussein's devious genius was the real WMD all along.

Plans within plans, my friends. Plans within plans.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:40 PM on July 2, 2009


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.

Oops.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:44 PM on July 2, 2009


"So, this... ah, J. Edgar Hoover of yours, he liked to wear the dress, yes? Ah ha ha ha! Just like the Eddie Izzard! You got cigarette?"
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:48 PM on July 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Where's the part where James Lipton comes in and asks his 10 Questions?
posted by mkultra at 2:08 PM on July 2, 2009


So essentially Hussein was worried about the crazy assholes running Iran and didn't realize there were crazy assholes running the USA.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:33 PM on July 2, 2009


He lost at a game of Crazy Asshole poker... or, I dunno, Risk or Diplomacy or something.
posted by Artw at 5:02 PM on July 2, 2009


The lesson learned: when you're sitting at the table with Hussein, Khatami, and Cheny, you are definitely not going to be the craziest asshole in the game. Not by a long shot.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:28 PM on July 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Saddam Hussein was a tyrant and a mass murderer. But to have him so shoddily and self-interestedly debriefed and then lynched by the Mahdi Army was a great disservice to history. It is the sort of thing we came to expect from the Bush administration, which oversaw the destruction of the entire twentieth-century historical record for Iraq, as well as crushing and destroying under tanks and helicopters entire libraries of ancient Iraqi civilization, a crime I have dubbed "cliocide."
posted by adamvasco at 4:23 AM on July 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


The lesson learned: when you're sitting at the table with Hussein, Khatami, and Cheny, you are definitely not going to be the craziest asshole in the game. Not by a long shot.

Worst D&D session ever.
posted by Artw at 9:12 AM on July 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Worst D&D session ever.

"Seriously, is Ruhollah playing a cleric again? And Dick, you know paladins can't be Lawful Evil, so stop asking. Now, Saddam: why so many ranks in Bluff, dude?"
posted by Amanojaku at 2:06 AM on July 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'd expect Cheney to be the terminal min-maxer, Khatami to have a rule lawyering response to everything and Saddam to be the guy who freaks out whenever something doesn't go his characters way.
posted by Artw at 12:58 PM on July 4, 2009


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