Man Without Qualities

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Call In The Forensic Phrenologists! II

From the Washington Post:

While U.S. intelligence monitored Iraqi government communications and movements yesterday to pick up signs of Hussein's fate, the administration's attention was focused on the television appearance by Hussein in which he stated yesterday's date and made reference to "dawn" and an attack by the United States.

Officials said they were not surprised by the broadcast because they had information that the Iraqi leader had recorded several statements earlier in the week in anticipation of a military strike shortly after the expiration of a U.S. deadline for Hussein and his sons to leave the country.

Officials also said they were receiving conflicting analysis of the identity of the man in the broadcast, noting that Hussein has long been reported to use doubles as a precaution against assassination. Technical analysts, who used digital enhancement techniques and triangulation measurements of facial proportions, assessed that the broadcast depicted the real Hussein.

But the government also consulted Parisoula Lampsos, who the Defense Department believes has passed a polygraph examination in support of her claim that she was Hussein's mistress in Iraq for many years. Lampsos has previously distinguished Hussein from his doubles in more than a dozen cases, one official said, and this time she said he was not the man in the broadcast.

UPDATE: The Central Intelligence Agency has concluded that Mr. Hussein was indeed on the videotape shown on Iraqi television hours after the opening attack, the White House said today.

But agency analysts could not determine when the tape was actually made, the chief White House spokesman, Ari Fleischer, told reporters. Therefore, no one knows for for certain whether Mr. Hussein survived the attack, which was meant to kill him and many of his senior lieutenants.


Earlier today, U.S. intelligence sources told ABCNEWS that witnesses at the site of a Baghdad suburban residential complex told U.S. intelligence officials that Saddam was observed being taken from the bombed complex on a stretcher, with an oxygen mask over his face on Thursday before dawn local time.

At news briefing in Baghdad today, Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf said the first U.S. airstrikes had hit one of Saddam's homes, but he said the Iraqi leader had survived and was safe.

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