NEW YORK – Saddam Hussein told aides in the mid-1990s that he warned the United States it could be hit by a terrorist attack, ABC News reported Wednesday, citing 12 hours of tapes the network obtained of the former Iraqi dictator’s talks with his Cabinet.
One of Saddam’s son-in-laws also explained how Iraq hid its biological weapons programs from U.N. inspectors, according to the tapes from August 1995.
The coming terrorist attack Saddam predicted could involve weapons of mass destruction.
“Terrorism is coming. I told the Americans,” Saddam is heard saying, adding he “told the British as well.”
“In the future, what would prevent a booby trapped car causing a nuclear explosion in Washington or a germ or a chemical one?” Saddam said.
But he insisted Iraq would never launch such an attack. “This story is coming, but not from Iraq,” he said.
The State Department had no comment on the report, which aired on “World News Tonight.” ABC News said U.S. officials confirmed the tapes were authentic.
ABC News said the
CIA found the tapes in Iraq and that the 12 hours were provided to it by Bill Tierney, a former member of a U.N. inspection team who was translating them for the
FBI. ABC News quoted Tierney as saying the U.S. government was wrong to keep the tapes secret.
Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz told Saddam on the tape that “the biological (attack) is very easy to make. It’s so simple that any biologist can make a bottle of germs and drop it into a water tower and kill 100,000.”
“This is not done by a state. No need to accuse a state. An individual can do it,” he said.
Hussein Kamel, a son-in-law of Saddam’s, who was then in charge of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction efforts, explained how Iraq held back information from the U.N. inspectors.
“We did not reveal all that we have,” he said. “We did not reveal the volume of chemical weapons we had produced.”
Kamel said Iraq had not revealed “the type of weapons, not the volume of the materials we imported.”
Hussein Kamel defected to Jordan shortly after the tapes were recorded, and Iraq was forced to admit it had concealed its biological weapons program. Kamel returned to Iraq in February 1996 and was killed by security forces.
Charles Duelfer, who led the official U.S. search for weapons of mass destruction, told ABC News the tapes show extensive deception but don’t prove that weapons were still hidden in Iraq at the time of the U.S.-led war in 2003.
“What they do is support the conclusion in the report which we made in the last couple of years, that the regime had the intention of building and rebuilding weapons of mass destruction, when circumstances permitted,” he said.