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Saddam Denies Link with Al Qaeda in CBS Interview

President Saddam Hussein denied in a U.S. television interview that Baghdad had any connection with al Qaeda or its leader Osama bin Laden and said he would not consider going into exile if the United States launches an invasion to disarm Iraq and remove him from power. In a three-hour interview with CBS News anchor Dan Rather, to be aired on the network’s 60 Minutes II program on Wednesday, Saddam also dismissed any suggestion that Iraq would set fire to its oil fields in a “scorched earth” response to any U.S. attack. Asked bluntly whether he had any connection with bin Laden or al Qaeda, as has been frequently alleged by the Bush administration, Saddam responded: “Iraq has never had any relationship with al Qaeda and I think that Mr. bin Laden himself has recently, in one of his speeches, given such an answer that we have no relation with him.” The United States blames al Qaeda for the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington and has made a hunt for the network’s leaders the focus of a worldwide “war on terror.” Full Story

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