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Rumsfeld: CIA probes Saddam's role in Iraqi insurgency
( 2003-12-17 09:20) (cnn.com)

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Tuesday that the CIA has taken the lead in the questioning of Saddam Hussein and that DNA tests have confirmed that the man in captivity is Saddam: "I guess you'd call it proof -- I think it's probably 99-point something per cent proof positive."

He described Saddam's demeanor as resigned since his capture Saturday night near Tikrit, his ancestral homeland.

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld described Saddam Hussein's demeanor as "resigned."  [cnn.com]
"I have asked (CIA Director) George Tenet to be responsible for the handling of the interrogation of Saddam Hussein, and he and his people will be the regulator over the interrogations -- who will do it, the questions that will get posed, the management of the information that flows from those interrogations," Rumsfeld said.

The ousted dictator is being held at an undisclosed location in Iraq, U.S. officials have said. He is being treated humanely, the defense chief said.

"He is being accorded the protection of a POW, but he is not being legally described as one at this stage," Rumsfeld said.

A U.S. brigadier general also said Tuesday that Saddam likely had little ties with the day-to-day actions of Iraqi insurgents, but documents found with him are leading to others who are more closely connected.

Brig. Gen. Martin Dempsey, commander of the 1st Armored Division in Baghdad, said that although information directly from Saddam probably would not be immediately useful, his capture could be a key into the insurgency's workings in the Iraqi capital.

"We've for some time known that there was a cell structure in the city of Baghdad and have always had an intuition that there was something above it that provided financial support and some broad general guidance," Dempsey said.

"We're pretty confident that this capture of Saddam Hussein will allow us to get a glimpse of that network that sat above the cell structure in Baghdad."

The materials found with Saddam -- 50 or 60 documents of about 500 pages --already have proved useful, officials in Washington said. Within 24 hours of the capture, troops had arrested some former Baathist leaders connected with financing the insurgency, based on names found in Saddam's documents, Dempsey said.

But a senior official in Washington said the arrests were "not high-level people but cell members further down," adding that some information has been "actionable" intelligence that may save the lives of U.S. soldiers.

Officials said some documents were handwritten and others typed. Some are insignificant such as poems or verses from the Koran, while others are interesting, officials said. They said not all the documents have been translated.

Whether the information comes from the documents or from Saddam, the degree of his involvement in the insurgency is a key question for U.S. officials. While Dempsey was forthright in saying he doubted Saddam's participation was consequential, his superiors were more reticent.

"I think there will be some intelligence ... that will be analyzed and worked over time," said Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who is on a morale-boosting trip to Iraq.

"Right now it is inappropriate to speculate on what we might find. Of course, there will be intelligence value to the fact that he is now in coalition hands."

Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of U.S. troops in Iraq, said he expected to learn that Saddam was involved somehow in financing attacks on coalition troops, "but at this time we have nothing further."

U.S. troops captured what the military called a "high-level target" -- believed to be financing anti-coalition attacks -- and 73 other Iraqis during a raid early Tuesday on a house in Samarra, a town about 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Tikrit, military officials said.

Maj. Jocelyn Aberle of the 4th Infantry Division said the troops also found a cache of weapons, ammunition and materials used to make the roadside bombs that have become a favorite of the Iraqi insurgency.

The number of people present at the time of the raid and the fact that all were young men of military age, Aberle said, "leads us to believe we captured more than just a leader of a terrorist cell -- perhaps a good portion of that cell itself."

Also Tuesday, U.S. troops put on a show of force in Tikrit, Saddam's ancestral homeland, countering demonstrations that erupted there and in other cities after the former leader's arrest.

Raghdad Hussein said her family will hire the best attorneys it can find for her father.  [cnn/file]
Saddam daughter vows to support father

Raghdad Hussein said her family will hire the best attorneys it can find for her father.

Saddam's oldest daughter told Al-Arabiya television network Tuesday her family will hire the best attorneys it can find to fight for her father.

In a phone interview, Raghad Hussein, 35, told the Arabic-language channel that the family believes Saddam was drugged after he surrendered to American troops.

"This is not our father," she said. "This is not how he would act."

Raghad said the family hopes that there will be a government in Iraq that is fair and not under the domination of the United States.

Raghad and her sister, Rana, 33, have been given asylum in Jordan.

(Courtesy to cnn.com)

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