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Profiler: Saddam seeking 'balm to a shattered self'

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Jerrold Post: Saddam Hussein "really saw in Qusay and Uday, as his successors, [that he was] almost extending his immortality."

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Editor's Note: CNN Access is a regular feature on CNN.com providing interviews with newsmakers from around the world.

(CNN) -- Neither a $25 million bounty nor the best efforts of coalition troops have led to the capture of Saddam Hussein since the U.S.-led war in Iraq began in March.

Friday, U.S. Central Command released images of how Saddam might have changed his appearance to avoid capture.

Jerrold Post, former CIA profiler and author of "The Psychological Assessment of Political Leaders," spoke with CNN anchor Daryn Kagan about how Saddam might react.

KAGAN: Did you have a chance to look at those photos?

POST: Yes, I did, and what is sad irony [is that] this man who so was consumed with his own image, which was plastered all over Baghdad, now may be reduced to [disguising] that image. It must be a dreadful blow to his ego.

KAGAN: When you're looking at someone like Saddam Hussein, are we talking about somebody who is insane or mad?

POST: We certainly are not. This is a man, however, who has been consumed by dreams of glory since his very early years, dreams he hoped to pass on to the next generation. He really saw in Qusay and Uday, as his successors, [that he was] almost extending his immortality. So it really is Saddam at the end of the line, literally -- the Saddam line stops here, and rather than passing on to his son this powerful empire, instead it's the shattered ruins of these dreams.

KAGAN: In reading some of your thoughts before the interview, I hear you use [the] term malignant narcissism [applied] to Saddam. What do you mean by that?

POST: Well, it's sort of the very magnification of such extreme self-absorption. There's no capacity to empathize with the pain or suffering of others. Being paranoid -- not paranoid crazy, but being ready to be betrayed, ready to strike out against his enemies, no constraint of conscience and using whatever aggression is necessary to accomplish his goals without qualm of conscience. That's a very dangerous combination.

But for this kind of narcissist to be feasting on being in the very center of world acclaim, which he was -- he had achieved his goals in 1990. The whole world saw him as a liberator of Jerusalem, potentially, as the inheritor of Saladin [the 12th century Muslim general and sultan who captured Jerusalem from the Crusaders]. And here to be skulking around in cellars and disguising [himself] is -- what a shatter of his dreams.

KAGAN: Our time is short. Let's bring it to the present and talk about [how] the idea of profiling ... could help in the hunt for Saddam Hussein.

POST: Well, in a technical sense, the more we are able to try to get into his mind and say, "How is he standing up to this stress? What will he do? How can we -- what can we read into these messages he keeps coming across with? -- the better able we are to zero in. I see him trying to call upon an increasingly diminishing band of supporters. And this is kind of a balm to a shattered self.

KAGAN: And the hunt goes on. Jerrold Post, thanks for insight and into a profile -- a psychological profile -- of Saddam Hussein. I appreciate that and your thoughts.


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