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FBI Releases Details of 2004 Talks with Saddam Hussein

U.S. security records reveal that former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein told U.S. federal agents in 2004 that he allowed the world to believe he had weapons of mass destruction because he did not want to appear weak to Iran.

A research institute, the National Security Archive, on Wednesday obtained declassified accounts of all but one of the FBI's 20 interviews and five "casual conversations" with Saddam that were conducted after his December 2003 capture by U.S. forces.

In the released interview accounts, the former Iraqi president warned of what he called Iran's "fanatic" leaders. He denounced Osama bin Laden as "a zealot" and said he had no interactions with al-Qaida. He even acknowledged in a rare moment of regret that he should have permitted that United Nations to witness the destruction of Iraq's weapons stockpile in 1991.

U.S. forces later transferred Saddam to Iraqi custody and he was hanged in December of 2006.

The interview accounts do not address chemical warfare in the Kurdish areas of Iraq in 1987-1988, although an FBI progress report said that he was questioned on the topic.