SADDAM HUSSEIN told an FBI interviewer before he was hanged that he allowed the world to believe he had weapons of mass destruction
because he was worried about appearing weak to Iran, according to declassified accounts of the interviews just released.
The former Iraqi president also denounced Osama bin Laden as "a zealot" and said he had no dealings with al-Qaeda.
Saddam, in fact, said he felt so vulnerable to the fanatic leaders in Tehran
that he would have been prepared to seek a "security agreement with the United States to protect it [Iraq] from threats in the region".
The FBI summaries of the interviews - 20 formal interrogations and five "casual conversations" in 2004 - were obtained under the US Freedom of Information Act by the National Security Archive, a non-government research institute, and posted on its website this week. The detailed accounts of the interviews were released with few deletions, though one, a last formal interview on May 1, 2004, was blacked out.