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Saddam 'enjoying' interrogation

From Elise Labott
CNN Washington Bureau

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Saddam Hussein was captured December 13 by coalition forces.

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Richard L. Armitage
Saddam Hussein
Iraq
Justice Department

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein seems to think he is smarter than his captors, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said Thursday.

"He's turned out to be a pretty wily guy who seems to be enjoying the give and take with his interlocutors," Armitage said in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Cooperation. "He sure thinks he's smarter than everyone else, that's for sure."

In a separate interview earlier this week, Armitage said Saddam is "not giving much information that I've seen, but he seems to be enjoying the debate."

Armitage said that while some of the results of Saddam's interrogation will be shared during his trial -- to be held in Iraq by Iraqi authorities -- a strong case needs to be made first.

"I've seen some of the results of these debriefs and we've got a lot of dots to connect, I think, before we throw these out publicly," Armitage said

Despite the instability in Iraq, Armitage said he's confident the Iraqis will hold the trial when they're ready.

"I'm not nervous about it going off the rails," Armitage said. "There's a good deal, I think, of interest in Iraq for seeing the tyrant finally brought to his knees."

Earlier this month a team of U.S. Justice Department officials traveled to Iraq. It includes 50 prosecutors, investigators and administrative staff of various Justice Department entities, including the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and the Marshals Service.

The team will assist the Iraqis in sorting through potential evidence to be used in war-crimes trials against former regime officials, including the deposed Iraqi leader.

Iraq has not had a legal system for 30 years and the team members will likely advise Iraqis on how to put evidence together for a case.

Saddam was captured December 13 near his hometown of Tikrit and is in coalition custody. The Red Cross has been permitted to visit him.


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