THE CAPTURE OF SADDAM HUSSEIN: Saddam Provides `Little of Much Use' in Interrogations

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INTERROGATORS HAVE completed a third day of questioning Saddam Hussein in an attempt to build on information about anti-American resistance networks gleaned from documents kept by the captured former dictator.

Saddam - who is in detention at an undisclosed location but believed to be in Iraq - has provided little of much use, American officials said. He has again denied that his regime had links with international terrorism, and repeated that the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) that were the ostensible reason for the US-led invasion in March do not exist.

That second claim is exactly as Baghdad insisted in the months and weeks before the war, and supports what senior Iraqi officials already in custody have told investigators. Despite the failure to come up with anything more than fragmented evidence of WMD programmes, President George Bush's administration maintains that alone is proof that Saddam was in breach of his obligations to the United Nations.

The initial questioning has focused on establishing what, if anything, Saddam knows about the guerrilla insurgency against the US occupation, in the hope of preventing attacks. But he has apparently provided relatively little information. No communications equipment was found with Saddam when he was caught on Saturday evening, and US intelligence believes that he is unlikely to have had day-to-day control over the guerrillas.

But the documents have been of value. They run to about 500 pages, and include passages from the Koran and personal notes. But they also contained information that has enabled US forces to capture some middle-level figures from the Baath regime, including a major-general in the dissolved Iraqi army.

US officials believe that these arrests could disrupt planned attacks against US troops, foreigners and Iraqis perceived as collaborating with the Allied forces. The arrests might also bring the US closer to its top target among former regime figures still at large, such as Saddam's former right hand man, Izzat Ibrahim al- Douri. …