CNN BREAKING NEWS
U.S. Intelligence: Saddam Was in Area of Tikrit Raid
Aired July 27, 2003 - 11:37 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Andrea Koppel in CNN headquarters in Atlanta. This just in to CNN. CNN has now confirmed, according to intelligence sources, that Saddam Hussein was, in fact, in the house that was raided earlier today by U.S. military forces in Tikrit, in Saddam Hussein's ancestral hometown. CNN's military affairs correspondent Jamie McIntyre is in Tikrit right now and he joins us live on the telephone -- Jamie.
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. MILITARY AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Andrea, just to be 100 percent clear, what U.S. military sources tell me is that not that Saddam Hussein was definitely in the house, but that the raid on these farm houses in Tikrit was based on intelligence, very reliable intelligence, that he was there.
Now, sources tell me that what will take place at this point is that the site will be exploited, and there will be some samples taken for DNA tests to try to corroborate whether or not the intelligence, again, that this raid was based on was accurate.
But U.S. military officials tell me that they believe they do have Saddam Hussein on the run, that he is in the Tikrit area, according to U.S. intelligence, and that he's changing his location every two to four hours. They really believe that they are closing in on him, but at the same time U.S. military officials are very cautious about making any predictions about how soon it will be that they'll be able to capture Saddam Hussein, except to say they're certain they'll capture him; it's just a matter of time.
But again, the raid this morning on these three farm houses was based on what the U.S. believed was reliable intelligence, that Saddam Hussein himself was at this location, and now they're trying to corroborate whether that intelligence was correct.
They also believe that the reason that Uday and Qusay were found so far north in Mosul was that the operations from the 4th Infantry Division here have been so effective in shaking the bushes, so to speak, that they felt they had to go up into a Kurdish area, take that risk in order to hide from the U.S. military.
Again, just to repeat, the raid on the houses in Tikrit early this morning before dawn was based on intelligence that Saddam Hussein might have been there, and they believe they have him on the run -- Andrea.
KOPPEL: Jamie, what are your sources telling you about an earlier report that CNN was broadcasting attributing it to the Associated Press that Saddam Hussein's closest bodyguard may have also been in one of those farm houses, and that the U.S. may have missed him by 24 hours? You would assume that the bodyguard is going to be close to Saddam Hussein.
MCINTYRE: Well, what I was told is that a lot of the raids recently have produced more intelligence and more information that would indicate that they were closing in. The one the other day in which they caught 13 people, including people they believe were part of Saddam Hussein's security staff, that was one. This other raid in which there was intelligence that a senior Saddam security person was possibly at a location, these are all signs that the U.S. believes that they are closing in on Saddam Hussein.
But again, they want to be very cautious. As one military official said, "I've been hunting this guy for a long time, so I know how slippery he can be."
KOPPEL: OK, Jamie McIntyre, with the very latest on the ongoing search for Saddam Hussein in Tikrit, Baghdad. We are going to take a break and then return you to CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES."
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