U.S.: Saddam tape likely authentic
Intelligence official says tape probably recorded recently

July 18 _ In a finding that is further evidence Saddam Hussein survived the war, a U.S. intelligence official said Friday that a new audio recording purportedly of the ousted Iraqi leader is probably authentic and was likely recorded recently.

THE POOR QUALITY of the recording prevents technical analysts from being absolutely certain of its authenticity, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. But references to recent events suggest it is a recent recording, this official said.

The voice on the recording said he was speaking on July 14, and it made reference to the new governing council of Iraq, which was established Sunday.

Saddam's fate has been uncertain since the war began on March 21. Twice information on his whereabouts was deemed solid enough that an airstrike was sent to kill him.


But since the war, U.S. intelligence analysts have become increasingly certain that he survived. Officials say they believe he remained in Iraq.

The new audio message was aired Thursday, marking the 35th anniversary of the coup that brought Saddam's Baath Party to power. The apparent voice of Saddam urged Iraqis to continue a "holy war" against U.S. forces.

The audio recording said Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair lied to the world to justify their war on Iraq.

"What will they say to their people and to mankind? What will the chorus of lies say to those that backed them?" the speaker said. "What will they say to the world after they devised the scenario of lies against Iraq's people, leadership and culture?"

"The lies were known to the U.S. president and the British prime minister when they decided to launch a war and aggression," the message said.

Another message purportedly from Saddam aired July 4. CIA officials also said it was probably authentic but their analysis was hampered by the audio's poor quality.


American officials say the mystery over Saddam's whereabouts fuels attacks on U.S. soldiers in Iraq. Dozens of troops have been killed since major fighting ended.

The U.S. government has put a $25 million bounty on Saddam's head, and offered $15 million for each of his sons, Odai and Qusai.

The leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee visited Iraq earlier this month and said upon their return that it was imperative that Saddam be found.

"We must find Saddam Hussein and his sons," said Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan.

"When we do, then the people of Iraq will no longer live in fear of his return, which is a real and palpable state of mind of many Iraqi citizens."

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