George Piro, the FBI agent who spent nearly seven months interrogating Saddam Hussein, tells “60 Minutes” that the late Iraqi leader didn’t think the U.S. would actually invade and didn’t deny having weapons of mass destruction in order to intimidate Iran. “He told me he initially miscalculated ... President Bush’s intentions,” Piro revealed in the interview, which airs this Sunday.
“He told me he initially miscalculated ... President Bush’s intentions. He thought the United States would retaliate with the same type of attack as we did in 1998 ... a four-day aerial attack,” says Piro. “He survived that one and he was willing to accept that type of attack.”
“He didn’t believe the U.S. would invade?” asks [correspondent Scott] Pelley.
“No, not initially,” answers Piro.
Once the invasion was certain, says Piro, Saddam asked his generals if they could hold the invaders for two weeks. “And at that point, it would go into what he called the secret war,” Piro tells Pelley. But Piro isn’t convinced that the insurgency was Saddam’s plan. “Well, he would like to take credit for the insurgency,” says Piro.
Saddam still wouldn’t admit he had no weapons of mass destruction, even when it was obvious there would be military action against him because of the perception he did. Because, says Piro, “For him, it was critical that he was seen as still the strong, defiant Saddam. He thought that [faking having the weapons] would prevent the Iranians from reinvading Iraq,” he tells Pelley.