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Saddam's Sons Killed: The Day After

Aired July 23, 2003 - 20:11   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to turn our attention now to Iraq. It is the day after, so to speak. More than 24 hours have passed since the deaths of Saddam Hussein's son's Uday and Qusay.
Is there any second-guessing now about the raid? Senior international correspondent Nic Robertson is standing by in Mosul where it all happened. And he joins us right now.

Good evening - Nic.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Paula. There certainly have been some questions raised, why were Uday and Qusay not captured rather than killed? Because presumably, the assumption is that they would have been able to provide at least some information on the whereabouts of their father.

General Sanchez, however, defended the officers who performed the raid here. He said their mission was to capture or kill. The firepower sustained by Uday and Qusay fired at the U.S. troops was such that the commanding officer was left with very little alternative other than to kill them. And that was part of his orders.

ZAHN: And, Nic, as I understand, some new details have been released to give us a better understanding of how this raid was conducted. Can you walk us through some of that tonight?

ROBERTSON: Absolutely. The raid - essentially, the troops came to the building, announced on a bullhorn that they wanted Uday and Qusay to come out of the building. No answer.

After ten minutes the troops went in. They took a lot of fire coming from a barricaded area on the second floor. Four soldiers were injured. They withdrew from the building. They returned fire with heavy machine guns, grenades, heavy machine gunfire from a helicopter.

After two hours, they went back into the building again, again received sustained gunfire, small arms fire, we're told, from that barricaded area on the second floor. They withdrew from the building.

For about another hour, the gun battle continued. They fired 10 large Toe missiles and eventually, when the troops went back into the building again, they still took gunfire from the barricaded area on the second floor. But they continued up there and shot and killed the people who were on the second floor. And that included, we understand, Qusay and Uday. And perhaps you can hear overhead some helicopter activity. There has been a raid on this evening. We have seen at least one prisoner being taken away. It's not clear who he is. It's not clear what level of person he may be.

The helicopters are still in the sky. There's possible raid still continuing here in Mosul tonight - Paula.

ZAHN: Nic Robertson - thanks so much. Appreciate the update.

We have just learned that the Pentagon has announced the pictures of Uday and Qusay will be released. And we're going to stay with this story now for a minute or two.

I'm joined now by former CIA director, James Woolsey. He served as the agency's director under President Clinton.

Always good to have you on the air with us. Welcome, sir.

JAMES WOOLSEY, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: Good to be with you, Paula.

ZAHN: You just heard Nic Robertson talk about some of the second-guessing that is going on as to whether these two men could have been taken alive. Lt. Paul Bremer said, today, it was clear they couldn't have. Do you buy that assessment?

WOOLSEY: Oh, I think so. I think anybody who does second- guessing on this ought to take into consideration that four American soldiers were wounded undertaking this operation. And those people who have operated like this and taken fire themselves, I think, are free to criticize the way the 101st Airborne and the Special Forces did it. But other folks, I think they ought to stifle themselves a bit.

ZAHN: Let's talk about what we might be learning from this informant for a moment. We've heard an awful lot about the reward he is likely to get. I'm just curious what impact you might think that will have on people who, perhaps, know where Saddam Hussein is.

WOOLSEY: Oh, I think it's wonderful. I think $30 million is cheap for this information, and I wish whoever this informant is a long and prosperous life.

I think the combination of the success of the operation and it being understood that the reward is being paid will help a lot with respect to getting people to inform on Saddam and other senior Ba'athists who are behind the scenes, apparently helping carry out and order some of these raids against U.S. troops.

ZAHN: And if you were the one in charge of interrogating this informant, what kind of strategy would you use?

WOOLSEY: Well, if this is an informer, he volunteered, and he volunteered apparently in part for money. But one of the problems, Paula, over the years, is that the CIA and the State Department, relatively recently, have been looking a gift horse in the mouth. They have not been willing to cooperate nearly as much as they should have with the Iraqi resistance, going back across administrations back to 1989.

It's the Defense Department and the Congress that have wanted cooperation with people who were willing to talk to us on their own, the Iraqi resistance or others. And I think we need to get over the habit of saying that if somebody volunteers information to us, he's only going to be useful if we can turn him into somebody we control.

I would sit down quietly with this gentleman and say, thank you very much. Do you have anything else to tell us?

ZAHN: Yes, and hopefully he has more information for them. Finally, what do you make of this announcement that the public will be seeing pictures of the slain Uday and Qusay in a very graphic form?

WOOLSEY: Well, I think it's necessary in this case. Normally, we would not do this. But I think it's necessary for the world to see and particularly for the Iraqis to see that these two are, in fact, dead, that this is not some ginned up story from the United States.

After all, the leading source of information in Iraq these days still is Iranian broadcasts in Arabic language. The Iranians have blanketed Iraq. And we invented mass media in this country, and we don't seem to be able to get broadcasts of substantial amounts and on television and radio and so forth into Iraq, even yet.

So we've got to put up with a lot of lying about what has happened and what we're doing. And I think, under those circumstances, the pictures are going to be necessary.

ZAHN: James Woolsey, as always, good of you to join us. Thanks so much for your time this evening.

WOOLSEY: Good to be with you, Paula.

ZAHN: Thanks.


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