Saddam Hussein told his American interrogators that Iraq never had weapons of mass destruction, claiming that they were an invention of the US government to justify an invasion, it was reported last night.
Although Saddam was captured without a fight and was initially said to be co-operative, US intelligence sources said that he had since been unco-operative and defiant under questioning.
Time magazine, quoting an unnamed intelligence official, said Saddam was taken to a cell at Baghdad airport after his capture and interrogated. According to a transcript seen by the official, Saddam was asked: "How are you?" He said: "I am sad because my people are in bondage". He was offered a glass of water but refused, saying: "If I drink water I will have to go to the bathroom and how can I use the bathroom when my people are in bondage?"
The official said that Saddam avoided answering questions directly and at times appeared less than coherent. But when he was asked whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction the official said he said: "No, of course not. The US dreamt them up itself to have a reason to go to war with us."
One of his interrogators said: "If you had no weapons of mass destruction then why not let the UN inspectors into your facilities?" He replied: "We didn't want them to go into the presidential areas and intrude on our privacy."
The interrogators asked if Saddam knew the location of Captain Scott Speicher, a US pilot who went missing during the 1991 Gulf war.
"No," Saddam replied, "we have never kept any prisoners. I have never known what happened."
The intelligence official said a letter from a Baghdad resistance leader, giving details of a meeting in the capital and naming other leaders of the pro-Saddam forces, had been found in Saddam's possession and could provide valuable intelligence.