Saddam Hussein said ‘you can’t trust anyone with a beard like that’ when asked about Osama bin Laden and admitted he BLUFFED about having WMDs to deter Iran from invading Iraq, FBI interrogator reveals
- ‘Saddam told me that he didn’t like Osama bin Laden,’ the former FBI agent said
- George Piro said Saddam lied about WMD to unnerve eastern neighbour Iran
Saddam Hussein said ‘you can’t trust anyone with a beard like that’ when asked about al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the FBI interrogator of the toppled Iraqi dictator has revealed.
George Piro – a Lebanese-American special agent who spent several hours a day questioning the Iraqi tyrant – said Saddam joked with him as he tried to establish the dictator’s links to the terror network.
But while also trying to work out if Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, Piro said he discovered that he had nothing but contempt for the terror group.
Piro was the team lead interrogator of the Saddam Hussein Interrogation Team following the leader’s capture by US soldiers in Iraq in 2004.
The now retired FBI agent also said Saddam lied about having WMD because he wanted to frighten Iraq’s neighbor and enemy Iran.
George Piro said Saddam Hussein (pictured) joked with him as tried to establish the dictator’s links to the terror network
Saddam Hussein reportedly said ‘you can’t trust anyone with a beard like that’ when asked about al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden (pictured)
For months, Piro would spend several hours a day with the Iraqi dictator questioning and interrogating him.
‘Saddam told me that he didn’t like Osama bin Laden and that he didn’t believe in al-Qaeda’s ideology because it aimed to create an Islamic state throughout the Arab world,’ Piro told CNN – now 20 years on from the invasion of Iraq.
He said Saddam held this view because he had ‘no desire to turn over power or relinquish anything to someone else.’
During the long interrogation sessions, Piro said he realised that Saddam’s claim to possess WMD was a bluff. He suggested he had lied to unnerve eastern neighbour Iran.
‘His biggest enemy wasn’t the United States or Israel. His biggest enemy was Iran, and he told me he was constantly trying to balance or compete with Iran,’ Piro said.
‘Saddam’s biggest fear was that if Iran discovered how weak and vulnerable Iraq had become, nothing would prevent them from invading and taking southern Iraq. So his goal was to keep Iran at bay.’
Piro said he was able to use the hours-long interrogation sessions to get Saddam to admit he would have rebuilt a WMD programme if the US lifted sanctions against the country.
Former FBI interrogator George Piro (pictured) said Saddam Hussein lied about WMD to unnerve Iraq’s eastern neighbour Iran
He told CNN: ‘I asked Saddam: ‘When sanctions were lifted, what were you going to do?’’.
‘He said: ‘We were going to do what we needed to do, or what we would have to do to protect us’ – which was his way of saying he would have reconstituted his entire WMD programme.’
Following his hours spent with Saddam, Piro said the Iraqi predicted that events following his removal from power would be drawn out and brutal, and reestablishing governance in the country would be more complicated than the West had assumed.
‘Saddam is one of the most brutal dictators of our time and was responsible for some of the most horrific atrocities in history, but on the other hand, he told me we had no idea how difficult it was to rule Iraq, but we would figure that out by removing him.’
Piro is now writing a book about his sessions with the Iraqi leader after retiring from the FBI last year.
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