Former U.S. policymakers and weapons experts; Iraqi defectors and officials;
and two journalists who have covered Saddam Hussein.
Iraqi Defectors and Iraq's U.N. Ambassador
This general served Saddam Hussein for decades. Along
with another Iraqi defector, Sabah Khodada (see below), the general tells
of terrorists training in a Boeing 707 resting next to railroad tracks
on the edge of Salman Pak, an area south of Baghdad. The existence of
the plane has been confirmed by U.N. inspectors. The general describes the
men who trained there, the camp's security, and his "gut feeling" that the
camp was in some way tied to the Sept. 11 attacks. This interview was done in
association with The New York Times and was
conducted through a translator on Nov. 6, 2001.
[Editor's Note, November 2005: More than two years after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, there has been no verification of the general's account of the activities at Salman Pak. In fact, U.S. officials have now concluded that Salman Pak was most likely used to train Iraqi counter-terrorism units in anti-hijacking techniques. It should also be noted that the general and other defectors interviewed for this report were brought to FRONTLINE's attention by the Iraqi National Congress (INC), a dissident organization that was working to overthrow Saddam Hussein. This interview was conducted by FRONTLINE and The New York Times in Beirut. The Lt. Gen. was later identified in other stories as Abu Zeinab al-Qurairy, a former high-ranking officer in the Mukhabarat, the Iraqi intelligence service. Abu Zeinab reportedly now lives in Baghdad; he claims not to have left Iraq before the fall of Saddam Hussein and that the story of Salman Pak was a hoax. He maintains that the man FRONTLINE and The New York Times interviewed was an impostor provided by the INC. The INC denies this claim, and stands by the original story.]
A captain in the Iraqi army from 1982 to 1992, he worked at what he describes as a highly secret terrorist training camp at Salman Pak (see his hand-drawn map of the camp), an area south of Baghdad. In this translated interview, conducted in association with The New York Times on Oct. 14, 2001, Khodada describes what went on at Salman Pak, including details on training hijackers. He emigrated to the U.S. in May 2001.
[Editor's Note, November 2005: More than two years after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, there has been no verification of Khodada's account of the activities at Salman Pak. In fact, U.S. officials have now concluded that Salman Pak was most likely used to train Iraqi counter-terrorism units in anti-hijacking techniques. It should also be noted that he and other defectors interviewed for this report were brought to FRONTLINE's attention by the Iraqi National Congress (INC), a dissident organization that was working to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Since the original broadcast, Khodada has not publicly addressed questions that have been raised about his account of activities at Salman Pak.]
He is an American-trained nuclear physicist who headed the Iraqi nuclear
weapons program before defecting to the West in 1994. In this interview,
conducted in October 2001, Hamza discusses the possibility that Iraq may
develop a nuclear weapon in the near future, and whether Saddam has connections
to Osama bin Laden and the Sept. 11 terrorists. In an
earlier FRONTLINE interview, he
detailed Iraq's efforts to build a nuclear weapon and to hide its weapons
development from U.N. inspectors. Hamza is the author of Saddam's Bombmaker (Scribner,
2000), a memoir recounting his experiences working in Saddam's inner circle.
[Editor's Note, November 2005: More than two years after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, no evidence has surfaced showing that Saddam Hussein had had the capability to deploy nuclear weapons. After Saddam's fall, Hamza was appointed by the Coalition Provisional Authority to be senior adviser to Iraq's Ministry of Science and Technology. In this role, he had partial control of Iraq's nuclear and military industries. In March 2004, Hamza's contract was not renewed. To date, he has not addressed questions about the failure to find weapons of mass destruction.]
He is the Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations. In this interview, he denies
that Iraq has any connection with Osama bin Laden or the terrorist attacks in
the U.S. He also denies that Iraq has a terrorist training camp in Salman Pak,
maintains a biological weapons program, or, years ago, gassed its own people in
Kurdistan. This interview took place on October 29, 2001.
Former U.S. Policymakers and Defense and Weapons Experts
He served as secretary of state from 1989 to 1992 in President George H. W.
Bush's administration. He tells FRONTLINE that overthrowing Saddam Hussein was
never part of U.S. strategy during the Gulf War, and argues that America should
focus on coalition-building and complete its Afghanistan campaign before
deciding whether to target Saddam. He was interviewed in mid-October 2001.
Butler is the former chairman of the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) that was set up to find and dismantle Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass
destruction at the end of the Gulf War. He warns that Saddam Hussein is
"addicted" to weapons of mass destruction and that biological weapons are his
weapon of choice, but he argues that the U.S. should not go after Saddam until it has proof of his involvement in the Sept. 11 or anthrax attacks. He was
interviewed in mid-October 2001.
Perle is the chairman of the Defense Policy Board, an advisory panel to the
Pentagon made up of leading figures in national security and defense which
backs laying the groundwork for overthrowing Saddam through military
means. He previously served as assistant secretary of defense for
international security policy in the Reagan Administration. In this interview
Perle says, "There can be no victory in the war against terrorism if at the end
of it Saddam Hussein is still in power." He argues that the second phase of the
war against terrorism should consist of U.S. political and military support for
the Iraqi opposition's efforts to overthrow Saddam Hussein. He was interviewed
in mid-October 2001.
He was special Middle East coordinator in the Clinton administration and
director of the State Department's policy planning office during the George
H. W. Bush administration. He tells FRONTLINE that while many argue that a U.S. attack on Iraq would destroy the solidarity of
the coalition against terrorism, he believes the political "bandwagon effect"
will play a crucial role: if the U.S. appears to be successful, it will be
easier to sustain the coalition. He was interviewed in mid-October 2001.
He served as national security adviser in the George H. W. Bush administration. In
this interview he discusses why Saddam Hussein is a separate problem from going
after bin Laden's terrorist network, explains why the coalition against
terrorism is even more important than the coalition built during the Gulf War,
and defends the decision in the earlier Bush administration not to go
after Saddam at the end of the Gulf War and not to support uprisings in
the northern and southern parts of Iraq. He was interviewed in October 2001.
He is an attorney and former director of the C.I.A (1993-1995) who labels
U.S. policy on Iraq over the past ten years "feckless." He strongly advocates a
thorough investigation into Iraq's possible linkage to terrorist attacks
against the U.S. and has sought to prove the Iraq connection in the 1993 World
Trade Center bombing. He was interviewed in mid-October 2001.
She is the author of two books on Saddam Hussein. The most recent, Study of Revenge--Saddam Hussein's Unfinished War Against America,
assembles evidence that Saddam was behind the bomb plot to topple the World
Trade Center towers in 1993 and that two Iraqi intelligence agents were masterminds of the plot. She was interviewed on October 18, 2001.
She is a senior correspondent for The New York Times and the author of
The Outlaw State: Saddam Hussein's Quest for Power and the Gulf Crisis
(1991) and, most recently, Persian Mirrors: The Elusive Face of Iran.
home + introduction + interviews + analyses + saddam's life + readings & links
frontline + pbs online + wgbh
web site copyright 1995-2013 WGBH educational foundation.
photo copyright ©2001 reuters newmedia/corbis images