WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A handgun that Saddam Hussein was clutching when U.S. forces captured him in a hole in Iraq last December is now kept by President Bush at the White House, a spokesman confirmed on Sunday.
Time magazine, which first disclosed the gun’s location, said military officials had it mounted after it was seized from Saddam near his hometown of Tikrit last year, and soldiers involved in the capture gave it to Bush.
The magazine quoted a visitor who had been shown the gun, which is kept in a small study off the Oval Office where Bush displays memorabilia. It is the same room where former President Bill Clinton had some of his encounters with former intern Monica Lewinsky.
Bush shows Saddam’s gun to select visitors, telling them it is unloaded, both now and when Saddam was captured, Time reported.
“He really liked showing it off,” Time quoted a visitor as saying. “He was really proud of it.”
White House spokesman Jim Morrell said, “The president was proud of the performance and bravery of our armed forces and was honored to receive it on behalf of the troops involved in the operation.”