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Pentagon: Russia fed U.S. war plans to Iraq

Russian official: Report 'unfounded'

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- As U.S. troops moved toward Iraq in 2003, Saddam Hussein received intelligence about their battle strategy and troop movements from a Russian ambassador, according to a Pentagon report.

The Russians claimed they obtained the information from sources inside the U.S. Central Command headquarters in Doha, Qatar, and conveyed it to Hussein via the Russian ambassador to Iraq, the report said.

Russia dismissed the report on Saturday. "Such unfounded accusations have been voiced regularly," said a Russian spokesman. "We do not see fit to comment on these insinuations." (Watch how the Russians reportedly warned Iraq when the Americans were coming -- 1:18)

Brig. Gen. Anthony Cucolo, one of the Pentagon officials who helped put the report together, was quick to say that there was no indication the Russians had a spy inside Central Command.

Also, key details provided to Hussein by the Russians were wrong -- not that it would've mattered because the Iraqi dictator ignored the intelligence in formulating his losing war strategy, Cucolo said.

Word of Russian-Iraqi collaboration came as part of an analysis by U.S. Joint Forces Command, which looked at combat operations from an Iraqi perspective as a tool for shaping future U.S. operations. An unclassified version of the analysis was released Friday.

The Pentagon said its report was based on thousands of Iraqi documents and postwar interviews with more than a dozen Iraqi officials, not including Hussein.

One of the documents, the report states, came five days after the invasion of Iraq -- March 24, 2003 -- and was sent to Hussein by the Russians.

It warned that as U.S. forces moved north from neighboring Kuwait, troops would bypass Iraqi cities and instead occupy the countryside, thereby isolating the rest of the country from its western border, according to the report.

The Russians further told Hussein that the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry Division, which was not allowed to stage its invasion from Turkey as hoped, would move into the country from the west via Jordan.

On April 2, 2003, Iraq's foreign minister sent a memo to Hussein telling him he had been given more information from the Russian ambassador in Baghdad, the report states. The memo said that U.S. forces would not invade Baghdad until after the 4th Infantry Division arrived, which would be sometime around April 15.

That intelligence proved wrong.

U.S. troops already were approaching the capital and took Saddam Hussein International Airport the next day. A week later, Baghdad itself fell, and the 4th Infantry Division was still on board ships in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

CNN's Jamie McIntyre and Ryan Chilcote contributed to this report.

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