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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Strike on Iraq: What Will Bring The End Of Saddam?

Aired March 20, 2003 - 17:36   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Let's get a little bit more analysis now on what may or may not have happened to the Iraqi leadership including Saddam Hussein; our International Security Correspondent David Ensor is joining us now live from Washington.
I know you've been checking in thoroughly, David, will all your sources. What's the latest assessment on what was achieved, if anything, during that initial blast against Iraqi leadership positions in Baghdad?

DAVID ENSOR, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON: Well, Wolf, they do believe they hit some of the Iraqi leadership. But on the question of whether Saddam Hussein was hit or not and whether these tapes are really him or not, there's quite a debate going in this town. I will tell you that most recently, in recent hours, U.S. officials are starting to say they do believe he's still alive.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ENSOR (voice-over): U.S. officials are increasingly convinced this is, indeed, Saddam Hussein, not a body double as some first suggested. Officials say technical analysis suggests the voice and inflection and movements of the mouth may be the same as Saddam Hussein from past tapes but there is not yet a definitive U.S. judgment.

DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: There's debate about that.

ENSOR: One skeptic about whether it is Saddam is Former CIA Photo Analyst Deano Bridgeone (ph). Though, in the past, he told CNN Saddam's doubles almost never speak.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Saddam has got one, possibly two doubles and when his double appears, you watch it. He'll never talk.

ENSOR: CIA Director George Tenet was able to report to the president that intelligence officials believed the cruise missile and bomb attacks that started the war did kill some top Iraqi leaders who U.S. officials say were sleeping in the compound that was attacked but not, apparently, Saddam Hussein.

JOE WILSON, FORMER U.S. ENVOY IN IRAQ: This is a guy who moves quickly, who covers his movements, who uses body doubles. He uses multiple motorcades going in different directions to fool anybody who might want to take him out.

There are a lot of tunnels and there are a lot of underground bunkers underneath the palaces and elsewhere that he can avail himself of.

ENSOR: Some say it may take an insider to put an end to Saddam Hussein.

JUDITH YAPHE, NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIVERSITY: There's greater chance that somebody will kill him then he will come out and say I surrender, and it is possible that somebody will turn on him.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ENSOR: Finding just one person can be quite a challenge. After all, the U.S. has been looking for a six-foot-four Arab and a one-eyed Afghan leader for well over a year now -- Wolf.

BLITZER: David Ensor with the latest on that. David, thanks very much.

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