February 2003 Saddam Hussein interview

February 2003 Saddam Hussein Interview

February 2003 Saddam Hussein interview

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The Saddam interview refers to a famous television interview that occurred between President of Iraq Saddam Hussein and American news anchor Dan Rather on February 24, 2003, very shortly before the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. The interview was aired both in the United States and on all three Iraqi television networks. British politician Tony Benn had also interviewed Hussein earlier that month.


Rather and CBS Evening News executive producer Jim Murphy were driven around Baghdad for 45 minutes and switched cars on two separate occasions to keep Hussein's position secret. The interview was held at the Republican Palace. Neither Rather nor Murphy were allowed to bring their own tape recorders. Hussein supplied his own translator, and CBS approved the translation of the recording. Rather and Murphy were treated well in the course of the interview, with Hussein offering Rather coffee at one point.

American interview

In the 1980s, Rather had an on-air confrontation with then-president George H. W. Bush over the Iran-Contra Affair. His son, George W. Bush, responded similarly, and declined to give Rather an interview during his presidency. After the Hussein interview, the White House was interested in a rebuttal interview. CBS News would accept President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney or Secretary of State Colin Powell for the interview, but the White House only offered other officials for the interview, such as Ari Fleischer and Dan Bartlett. The CBS network deemed...
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