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Former FBI agent reveals what is was like interrogating Saddam Hussein about Osama bin Laden
Featured Image Credit: ZUMA Press Inc / IanDagnall Computing / Alamy Stock Photo

Former FBI agent reveals what is was like interrogating Saddam Hussein about Osama bin Laden

An ex FBI agent has lifted the lid on his interrogation of toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein

A former agent for the FBI who was tasked with interrogating Saddam Hussein has revealed what it was like to spend months with the deposed dictator.

Following the 2003 invasion of Iraq by US and UK forces, the rule of Saddam Hussein which had begun in 1979 came to an end in a matter of weeks.

The dictator was found hiding in a hole in a small Iraqi town by a Delta Force team, who said they apprehended him because he was armed with a gun which has since ended up in the possession of the then-US president George W Bush.

Needing someone to speak with Saddam, Lebanese American special agent George Piro was chosen and he has since lifted the lid on what it was like to be the interrogator of Saddam Hussein.

Speaking to CNN, the retired FBI agent explained that he got 'a call on Christmas Eve' telling him he'd been chosen to interrogate Saddam Hussein for the FBI.

George Piro, the FBI agent who was tasked with interrogating Saddam Hussein.
ZUMA Press Inc / Alamy Stock Photo

Piro admitted that his first reaction was to find it 'terrifying' that he'd been tasked with 'interrogating somebody that was on the world stage for so many years' and decided to do his homework before meeting the toppled dictator.

He bought books on Hussein to learn about the man he was going to be speaking to and develop a strategy for the interrogation.

He said: "At my first meeting with Saddam, within 30 seconds, he knew two things about me. I told him my name was George Piro and that I was in charge, and he immediately said 'You're Lebanese'.

"I told him my parents were Lebanese, and then he said, 'You’re Christian'. I asked him if that was a problem, and he said absolutely not. He loved the Lebanese people. Lebanese people loved him.

"And I was like, 'Well, great. We’re going to get along wonderfully'."

All-in-all, Piro spent about seven months meeting with Saddam, conducting several hours of interrogation 'once or twice a week' which grew to 'about five to seven hours every single day'.

Saddam Hussein after being apprehended by US forces following the toppling of his regime.
IanDagnall Computing / Alamy Stock Photo

At first they discussed history, art, sports and politics as the agent said the initial goal was 'just to get him to talk'.

Over time the conversation moved to more serious matters, and the topic of Osama Bin Laden - at the time the world's most wanted terrorist - was raised.

Piro revealed that the deposed tyrant 'didn't like Osama Bin Laden' and used to joke about him, quipping: "You really can't trust anybody with a beard like that."

Another moment the former FBI agent revealed was the dictator's 67th birthday, where Piro brought him tea and cookies his mother had made while Hussein was 'depressed' to learn that Iraqis were happy that they weren't being forced to celebrate his birthday.

Saddam Hussein was executed by hanging in 2006 after being convicted of crimes against humanity, with his regime being linked to horrendous human rights abuses and and an estimated 250,000 murders.

The former agent is now working on a book about the experience of sitting down and interrogating one of the most notorious dictators in recent history, with the FBI giving their permission for him to publish it.

Topics: US News, World News, News