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Rumsfeld: CIA in Charge of Saddam Interrogation - 2003-12-17


U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says the Central Intelligence Agency is overseeing the interrogation of ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

He says CIA director George Tenet will decide who questions Saddam and what information is sought.

Mr. Rumsfeld added that Saddam is being given the protections of a prisoner of war, although he has not been formally designated as one. He also defended the United States decision to release video footage of the former dictator in custody, saying Iraqis needed to see that he was indeed captured.

But a leading Vatican official, Cardinal Renato Martino criticized U.S. authorities for showing the footage of the former Iraqi dictator being treated, in his words, "like a cow" as a military doctor examined him.

Meanwhile, in an interview with ABC news, President Bush said Saddam should face "ultimate justice" but did not specifically say if that involved the death penalty. Mr. Bush added that the Iraqi people are capable of trying Saddam themselves.

Earlier today (Tuesday), U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said holding Saddam accountable for past deeds is important to achieving Iraqi national reconciliation. Speaking to the 15-nation Security Council in New York, Mr. Annan said the procedure for trying Saddam must meet international standards of due process.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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