Saddam ‘not talking’


The questioning of Saddam – initially handled by the CIA – is now a joint CIA-FBI operation, a sign that the aim is changing from finding intelligence to gathering evidence for any eventual trials. The people who are asking the questions at the moment are from the FBI, said a US intelligence official.

Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has indicated in interviews that interrogators aren’t learning much from the former president of Iraq.

House Intelligence Chairman Porter Goss now calls the questioning a “patience project.”

On Sunday, Jacques Verges, a French lawyer who claims to be representing Saddam at his family’s request, said he expects that a trial is still some time away. Mr Verges has not met with Saddam and is trying to act as his lawyer from afar, a US intelligence official said.

A team of 50 Justice Department prosecutors, investigators and support staff has travelled to Iraq to help assemble a war-crimes case against Saddam and others in his former government. The US team is joined by legal experts from Britain, Spain and Poland.

Verges said he believed the United States violated the Geneva Conventions in its detention of Saddam, and said the world must wait for a trial to determine whether Saddam was guilty of wrongdoing.

“We know that Mr. Bush has said he’s guilty,” Verges said. “But what does that mean? Mr. Bush is not a judge. We cannot accept him as a judge. He is an enemy of Saddam Hussein.”