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U.S. Special Forces Hunting For Saddam

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    NHNE News List Current Members: 760 Subscribe/unsubscribe/archive info at the bottom of this message. ... U.S. UNITS ON HUNT TO TRACK SADDAM By Jack Kelley USA
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 19, 2003
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      By Jack Kelley
      January 19, 2003


      JORDAN-IRAQ BORDER ‹ As the Bush administration moves into what officials
      call the last phase of the showdown with Iraq, the United States is
      undertaking a vigorous military and intelligence effort to track, and
      possibly kill, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

      The effort involves, among other things, small teams of U.S. special
      operations forces and CIA paramilitary units inside and around Iraq,
      satellite imagery, radio intercepts and airborne reconnaissance, U.S.
      intelligence officials say.

      The activities are part of a strategy designed to pressure Saddam to depart
      or disarm and, if he won't, pave the way for a U.S.-led invasion to oust
      him. On Sunday, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he would support
      exile for Saddam and his family as a way to avoid war. But national security
      adviser Condoleezza Rice said it is "unlikely" the Iraqi dictator would go
      voluntarily as the confrontation enters "the start of a last phase."

      In advance of a possible war:
      Nearly 100 U.S. special operations forces and more than 60 CIA operatives
      have been conducting reconnaissance missions in Iraq's deserts and outside
      its major cities since September, senior U.S. and Arab intelligence
      officials said, confirming a Boston Globe report earlier this month. The
      missions include monitoring troop movements at army bases used by Iraqi
      Republican Guard, Saddam's most loyal defenders. The U.S. forces are also
      scouting landing strips for U.S. and coalition aircraft and training
      opposition Kurdish and Shiite leaders to fight against Saddam.
      Nearly 35,000 feet above Iraq, a converted Boeing 707 is flying 10 hours a
      day, every day, recording conversations of top Iraqi officials and
      pinpointing the location of those calls to within a mile.
      Two spy satellites, code-named Micron and Trumpet, are intercepting calls
      and walkie-talkie transmissions from Iraqi military sites, Saddam's
      motorcade, his palaces and other areas. A U.S. official in the region said
      Saddam is aware of such efforts.

      The U.S. Central Command in Tampa, which oversees military operations in
      Iraq, and the CIA in Langley, Va., declined to comment officially. "We don't
      talk about current operations," Central Command spokesman Maj. Bill Harrison

      Last year, President Bush directed the CIA to undertake a covert program to
      topple Saddam, senior U.S. officials say. The presidential order directs the
      CIA to work with U.S. special operations forces, which include Army Green
      Berets, Navy SEALs and other specialized military units.

      Despite Rumsfeld's comments about exile and renewed international efforts
      over the weekend, few U.S. officials believe that Saddam will flee Iraq or
      seek asylum. The U.S. diplomat in the Middle East said the goal is to oust
      Saddam and, under Bush's directive to the CIA, U.S. forces can kill the
      Iraqi leader if they believe their lives are in danger.

      Saddam, 65, is a master of deception who has managed to elude the world and
      internal coup plots through his 24-year reign. "Saddam knows what America
      would like to do to him, so he rules from the shadows," said Wafiq
      al-Sammarai, a former chief of Iraq's military intelligence who defected in
      1994. "He is one of the most paranoid, but also one of the best-defended,
      leaders in the world. He will make it hard, maybe even impossible, for
      America to get him."


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