Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is lying when he denies having weapons of mass destruction and links to terrorist groups.

On the eve of a special U.N. Security Council meeting on Iraq, Mr. Rumsfeld rejects charges by Saddam Hussein in an interview that the U.S. officials will present doctored evidence about Baghdad's weapons programs and ties to terrorists.

The U.S. defense secretary told reporters the Iraqi leader's comments fit a pattern of lies. "This is a case of the local liar coming up again and people repeating what he said and forgetting to say that he never, almost never, rarely, tells the truth," he said.

Mr. Rumsfeld rejected the notion that the United States must present evidence of a so-called "smoking gun" to prove Iraq is lying. He said there was no "smoking gun" leading to the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States two years ago.

He said the true test for the international community is not whether weapons inspectors in Iraq can find more evidence but whether Baghdad will comply with U.N. disarmament resolutions.

Mr. Rumsfeld added that Saddam Hussein has clearly not cooperated. He said the declaration filed by Iraq on its weapons programs was fraudulent. He also said Iraq has also not given U.N. inspectors complete freedom to carry out their duties.

The United States has warned Iraq it could face military action if it does not soon start cooperating. In the meantime, the Pentagon has been shifting more forces to the Gulf region to prepare for a possible conflict. A group of stealth fighters departed their base in the United States late Monday. Officials would not say where the planes were going.