U.S. intelligence diplomats and intelligence officials have told UPI that the CIA helped support Saddam Hussein more than 40 years in an attempt to assassinate then Iraqi Prime Minister Gen. Abd al-Karim Qasim.
UPI reporter Richard Sale wrote:
“U.S. forces in Baghdad might now be searching high and low for Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, but in the past Saddam was seen by U.S. intelligence services as a bulwark of anti-communism and they used him as their instrument for more than 40 years, according to former U.S. intelligence diplomats and intelligence officials.
United Press International has interviewed almost a dozen former U.S. diplomats, British scholars and former U.S. intelligence officials to piece together the following account. The CIA declined to comment on the report.
While many have thought that Saddam first became involved with U.S. intelligence agencies at the start of the September 1980 Iran-Iraq war, his first contacts with U.S. officials date back to 1959, when he was part of a CIA-authorized six-man squad tasked with assassinating then Iraqi Prime Minister Gen. Abd al-Karim Qasim."
- Richard Sale, UPI intelligence correspondent and author of "Saddam Key in early CIA Plot"