tv Declassified CNN August 13, 2016 10:00pm-11:01pm PDT
this is cnn breaking news. hello, everyone, i'm zane asher. this is cnn news now. we begin with breaking news. violence has erupted in the u.s. city of milwaukee, wisconsin, after police shot and killed a man they were in pursuit of. crowds filled the streets, but the situation did get out of control within the last two hours. police are calling this a disturbance. police say an officer was injured after someone threw a brick through the window of his police car. protesters also set a gas station on fire. firefighters could actually not
get near enough to the blaze to extinguish it because there was still gunshots going off. drenching rains have created massive flooding in the state of louisiana. three people have died, one person is missing. the governor declared a state of emergency and calls the flooding a truly historic event. u.s. swimmer michael phelps won gold in the medley relay team. after five olympics, he has 23 gold medals and 28 overall. both world records. so that's an update of our stories at this hour. "declassified" is up next. everyone else, "world sport" with our good friend kate riley right now. as a former fbi agent and chairman of the house intelligence committee, i had
oversight of all 16 of our nation's intelligence agencies. my name is mike rogers. i had access to classified information gathered by our operatives. people who risked everything for the united states and our families. you don't know their faces or their names. you don't know the real stories from the people who lived the fear and the pressure. until now. >> every military force on the ground was looking for saddam hussein. >> i get orders that i'm going to go join this task force i'd never heard of. i didn't know. >> you can't sit back behind walls and expect the information to come to you. we would go out and get it. >> we would get information that was bad information and innocent people get killed on both sides. >> we knew there was a degree of professionalism we were facing, and it was deadly. >> we could tell when someone was lying, and we'd confront them with those lies. >> everybody you talk to has a
saddam hussein and his sons must leave iraq within 48 hours. their refusal to do so will result in military conflict. >> under the president's order, coalition forces began the ground war to disarm iraq and liberate the iraqi people. >> operation iraqi freedom, our effort to dismantle the iraqi regime is fully under way. >> the iraqi operation started with the air strikes in march. the ground campaign began late march/early april. i believe the last time we saw saddam was april 9th in the infamous clip of him moving down the streets in downtown baghdad. we pulled down the statue of saddam. but in order to have a decisive military victory, we needed the real saddam.
we needed saddam hussein. the first brigade was a large unit with thousands of soldiers, and the mission of the brigade was establishing stability. the challenge to that was dealing with the physical reality of an armed insurgency. >> the u.s. military estimates there are between 4,000 and 5,000 mid-level ba'athist opposition fighters. [ bleep ] >> one of my patrols was am wushed only the east side of the tigris river. three american soldiers were killed. >> at the same time, it was part of our duty to assist the special operations command. an elite assault element. >> their focus was high value targets, hvts.
>> coalition governments have identified a list of key regime leaders, 55 individuals who may be pursued, captured, or killed. >> this forced us to go after the most dangerous target and do it at zero to minimal casualty because of their skills. these are extraordinarily gifted and trained men. you did not want to be the objective of their attention. >> in 2003, the organization i was assigned to was deployed to iraq to hunt down and capture the deck of cards, the priority being saddam hussein. >> what was your job? >> going out, conducting raids. sometimes it was going after people in the deck of cards. sometimes it was going after people that were known associates of the deck of cards. >> you can't be on the offense unless you understand the enemy. but you can't just sit back behind walls and expect the information to come to you. you've got to go out and get it. >> we would get information that was bad information. it would identify a location, there would be nothing there, the wrong individual, the
individual was someone that someone else disliked for whatever reason. it's frustrating, because you just destroyed someone's house. they're sitting there sleeping. next thing you know, there's guys running through their house. people wanted to defend their families. they may not be guilty of anything. and then innocent people get killed on both sides. the amount of detainees we were pulling off target, we needed someone that could conduct the interrogations to insure we were getting information we wanted. >> in 2003, i was a staff sergeant in the united states army. i was a trained interrogator, but i had never really conducted a real, live interrogation. the war's going on for three months, and i get orders that i'm going to go join this task force i'd never heard of. i didn't know, but i packed my bags and they flew me to tikrit. and i am picked up by these
soldiers with beards. soldiers don't have beards. >> we didn't know eric, didn't train with him. he didn't really know what was going on on targets. initially, it was a bumpy road. >> jeff was not happy to see me. jeff wasn't happy to see anybody. jeff was not a trained interrogator. jeff's a soldier. jeff had a mission. he had prisoners he wanted interrogated so he and i drove to this u.s. army prison. there were hundreds of prisoners. brought the first prisoner down. we sat him down. and jeff looks at me, and he goes, so how are we going to do this? i was a new interrogator.
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i was a trained interrogator that was responsible for tracking down everyone on the deck of cards specifically saddam hussein. i went to tikrit, his hometown, but i had never actually conducted a real, live interrogation. i dn't really feel like i kn what i was doing at all. but i learned very quickly. >> in the beginning, we would go in the room with eric, the translator and the detainee. and eric would begin questioning and talking to the individual. >> as the interrogator, i worked for a commander. i'd bring in the information
that helps him make better decisions and to get that information i was learning how to get inside the minds of these prisoners and break them down. when i talk about breaking a prisoner, it has nothing to do with physical contact of any kind. it has to do with breaking their previous decision of not cooperating with me to provide me information, and now they choose to provide me that information. that's a break. >> as questions were being asked and answered, every now and then i might pass him a note to highlight on a topic that was brought up. or tell him the individual was lying, based on what happened on the operation. >> jeff and i were figuring out how to ask good questions. we could tell when someone was lying, and we were beginning to confront them with those lies. >> we were able to follow each
other mentally without talking. he knew what i needed. so yeah, we worked real well together. >> we'd interrogate all night and then maybe at 4:00, or 5:00 in the morning we'd sit down and we would talk about it, and we'd talk about it nonstop. >> and it became our big piece of day to day life of using those interrogations to conduct operations. >> u.s. troops carried out predawn raids in saddam hussein's hometown. the army says several suspects were arrested in tikrit. >> by september, jeff and i have gone beyond just determining the guilt or innocence of the prisoners that we brought in. i was trying to get information that would lied to a insurgent member, a current bad guy or a current regime official. >> did anybody think that saddam hussein was in tikrit at this time?
>> nobody thought saddam was in tikrit, because we'd looked through the whole town. we'd been on hundreds of thousands of raids. we'd been through all the houses, and he wasn't there. >> we kind of put finding saddam not so much on the back burner, but we got tired of chasing santa claus. and what i mean by that is you would always have reporting that saddam was here. saddam was there. so instead of looking for that santa claus, we started looking for what we knew to be facts. >> the current insurgency was what i saw killing our soldiers. and that, to me, like, we're going after the real bad guys. >> the u.s. calls this operation iraqi freedom, the war of liberation, they say, to make iraq's people free. commanders acknowledge, the resistance has been unexpectedly fierce. [ gunfire ]
>> by this phase of the campaign, we tactically are doing everything we'd ever been trained to do to defeat this insurgency. the way they were using land mines and ieds was tactically correct. so we knew there was a degree of professionalism we were facing and it was deadly. >> the iraqi battle space was a complex environment, learning the human terrain was as important if not more important than understanding the physical terrain. >> the key was to maintain a relationship with the local inhabitants. listen to them, spend a lot of time with them, gather information. >> every individual can give you something you didn't know. that was a trick eric figured out. that everybody you talk to has a piece of information that you may not have known, that if you can store it, it can become
value later. >> there's no way to know how critical all the details are that i get from interrogations. but i do remember them all. you never know till much later what details really matter. jeff and i worked for a couple months, and these prisoners start providing this information, and i started to get a feel for tikrit. and i realize, every person has a life, and they have a family, and they live in a neighborhood, and they're part of a tribe, and they go to a certain mosque. that's like this family's kids go to this elementary school. that means they're going to have connections to other families that go to that elementary school. it all ties in, so when the local iraqi police say hey, we got this guy, a month ago we would have said, so what? now we're like, who, that's a cousin of so-and-so, bring him in. >> were we catching saddam? no, but were we getting closer in painting a picture of how to get to him? yes.
we weren't getting locations or places. we were getting pieces of a puzzle that let everybody understand that nobody is going to know where he was until we found the right people. >> after several hundred interrogations, these prisoners, they started talking about their insurgency groups. it started popping up the name of al muslit. i don't know why. we were interested in this al muslit. september 5, they brought in a guy, nasr omar al muslit. he was an inner circle bodyguard for saddam hussein. we talked to him all night. he breaks and lays out saddam's inner circle for us. >> saddam had a huge security
apparatus surrounding him. multiple layers, and all of these bodyguards played a role. >> he laid out 28 out of the 32 inner circle bodyguards for saddam hussein, and this al muslit group filtered through all networks of the bodyguard group. we started to realize, maybe it's not just about the insurgency, but saddam hussein in the previous leadership structure. >> in the middle east, tribal and family relationships are paramount to how business gets done. the muslit clan was in close alliance with saddam's family. many of us compared this to what hollywood would show as an organized crime gang, where it's built around key families and familial relationships. so we used that model to talk about it, and indeed, that's what we saw.
>> we realized these individuals were in and around the tikrit area, they were close to saddam at one time. so we assumed think would at least know key things in how to find saddam. that was the first time i thought we may have something. (man) honey, what's a word for "large blaze"? (wife] fire. [man] thirteen letters. [wife] fire. [man] thirteen letters. [wife] really big fire!
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like many of their other most wanted. >> i remember seeing black and white portraits of saddam hussein in the living rooms of people's homes, still displaying loyalty. that was an indicator to me that they sensed saddam was still out there. >> every military force on the ground was looking for saddam hussein. but eric and i realized nobody was going to know where he was until we found the right people. >> in order to find saddam hussein, we were going after this insurgency, but we didn't know who was in charge of the insurgency. but jeff and i were starting to see a lot of these al muslits who were involved in the insurgency. they brought in a guy nasr yasin omar al muslit. he breaks and lays out 28 out of the 32 inner circle bodyguards
for saddam. halil ibrahim. muhammad inbrahim. all from this al muslit family. i'm thinking who's running this insurgency? and i started realize, it was all connected to this family, these al muslits. so now, if we find anybody who's related, named al muslit, that's where we start focusing. we were al muslit focussed. so we're bringing in all these people. we figured out a very clear way to get these prisoners to open up and start providing information. we really running, and then it comes into early october. and jeff's leaving. >> my rotation was up. we were replaced by another element from the organization. and they come in and we flew home.
>> as soon as the new team showed up, i was introduced to their intelligence analyst. the analyst was there to collect information that could lead to the capture of high-value targets. and i told this team, listen, there's a team of bodyguards, and i think they're very powerful, controlling this insurgency, so what i started doing is charting my information out on pieces of paper. now the focal point was the al muslits. the new analysts loved charts. he'd go to the computer and put it all into a computerized-linked diagram. and two weeks into the new team being there, the new commander, bam-bam says eric, can we go arrest these guys? i thought you'd never ask. the team started going on raids. to get these al muslits. we were going after my bad guys now.
and we told the guards, anybody says the word "al muslit", call us. and november 7, get a call. from the informants that we know where radman is, radman al muslit. and i deemed him so important because he was so close to saddam during the regime. and we captured the guy. but a team from baghdad came in helicopters. and they flew him straight to baghdad, so i never set eyes on radman. but when they captured radman, they captured his 18-year-old son as well, i referred to him as baby radman. they said you've got 48 hours
with this kid and then you're releasing him. being a interrogator, you've got to have a strategy. i'm not trying to scare them, i'm not trying to intimidate them. i'm trying to influence them to provide me the intelligence which is inside their brain. they don't know what they know. so i started talking to baby radman. he was very defensive of his dad, so i would press, press, press on his dad, talk, talk, talk about his dad. and then i would go, does your dad have any brothers? and this kid looked at it as a release valve, like oh, yeah, talking about something other than my dad, and we went through every single brother. and one of the brothers that we talked about was mohammed ibrahim. mohammed ibrahim omar al muslit.
we very strongly felt he was leading the insurgency throughout tikrit. i said i want this guy, will you help me find him? he said yeah, my uncle always has these guys he's with. i said who? he said a business partner and his driver. and i realized -- i said all right, here we go. so i went to bam-bam. i said, listen, i know mohammad ibrahim's driver is not wanted, but i think he's valuable. i think he can take us to mohammed inbrahim. i have to have him arrested. so bam-bam arrested the driver of mohammad ibrahim. so i start interrogating latif. and he said why do you want my boss? why are you so interested in him? and i said because he's running the insurgency. and then he said, you have no idea what you're talking about. he said mohammad ibrahim's never
ordered a single attack. he said there's only one person that orders the attacks. there's only one person that's ever ordered the attacks, and it's the president. saddam hussein. i knew at that moment we were hunting saddam. i knew we finally, really hunting him. and we had a chance. t-mobile's coverage is unstoppable. and with extended range lte it reaches farther than ever. from the powder to the pavement, skylines, coastlines, out in the country, deep in the city. we got you covered. 311 million americans and counting. and we won't stop. come see why t-mobile is the #1 recommended wireless company in america. i'm terhe is.at golf. but i'd like to keep being terrible at golf for as long as i can. new patented ensure enlive has hmb
he had a lot of years to prepare, and he has a very big country to hide in. >> saddam had built this cult around himself, that he was the symbol of iraqi resistance. and in the end, he was the key high-value target. >> so my interrogation with mohammad ibrahim's driver had gone on several hours, but eventually he broke, and he told me, there's only one person that orders the attacks, and that's the president. and that's what they call saddam, the president. i knew at that moment we were hunting saddam. i knew we were finally, really hunting him, and we had a chance. i felt very strongly that saddam hussein was in the area. it was saddam's hometown. i felt like he was in contact with mohammad ibrahim, and mohammad ibrahim might be a route to saddam. but i'm running out of time to find mohammad ibrahim, because my tour's up. i was supposed to be there for six months, now it's the beginning of december, and i was
about to leave. my flight was leaving the country on december 13. and i didn't care. i'm not stopping. they didn't know ibrahim's exact location, but he gave us several locations for the safe house. it was go time. >> and that made sense, because the enemy we were dealing with then was networked across the countryside in cells. from one family group to another family group. and sometimes you would gather information in the most unlikely places. >> we conducted five simultaneous raids on all the mohammad ibrahim locations. ibrahim was not located at any of them. he wasn't there. but mohammad ibrahim's
20-year-old son was there. so i start interrogating mohammed ibrahim about his dad, and he tells me, my dad was at the house two hours before y'all came. and i'm done. i'm done. who's supposed to know where he went? who, who, who would know? i've got everyone leading up to a moment in time, and in a two-hour gap he's gone. we'd exhausted every target to find mohammed ibrahim. i was hoping the son could give me his next spot. so i'm just talking to him, looking for a lead. i'm looking for a clue. and i talk to him all night. i mean all night. i can't think of anything. i'm talking. i'm talking.
i'm talking. then i asked him, what's your dad do for fun? what are his hobbies? and he said they go fishing. and i said where do they fish? he said in samarra. i said where? on the river. i said where? he said they just built this pond. and i said why would they build a pond? he goes, i don't know. they just built a pond. and it came to me. august. jeff and i are interrogating saddam hussein's cook. >> the individual was picked up on a hit, nobody knew who he was, during the process of the conducting interrogations, it was identified that he was a former chef. and one of the things we'd learned in that conversation was every time saddam showed up, he cooked a special meal.
and we asked what that special meal was, and it was muscat. >> what's that? >> it's a fish that's raised in fish farms in iraq. the kid said, they had this fish pond built in the middle of a war? why would you do that? unless you're stocking fish for the guy who can't be going to the store to get fish. at that point, it wasn't just a hunch. we had to go to that pond. headquarters in baghdad is going to raid the fish pond, and i was convinced we were getting close to saddam, but to get him i have to have muhammed ibrahim. night comes, and i was told, whatever happened at the fish
pond, that would be my last night in tikrit. they conducted the raid and captured two guys. 20 minutes later, bam-bam calls back on the radio. and he says it's a dry hole. he says we got two fishermen. and they'd told me. they said, listen, you're done, you're going back to baghdad for your last few days, and i knew time was running out. but i would not stop looking for saddam.
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we have 130,000 troops there trained in counterterrorism, many of them. we have not done that. >> i was suppose the to be there for six months, my assignment was almost up, but i didn't care. i would not stop looking for saddam. >> i called one of the interrogators in baghdad and said don't let the fishermen go, i'm coming tonight. i needed to prove what they were. there's no why two guys are sticking around in the middle of nowhere next to a fish pond, fishing at 1:00 in the morning. that night i started my interrogations of the fishermen. started talking to the first one. sort of seemed kind of normal, actually, i was kind of worried. i start talking to the second fisherman, and i realize, these two fishermen have two different stories.
and i went back forth and turned them against each other. it took 12 hours. and one of them finally says, i work for muhammed ibrahim, he says i just fish, i just fish and put all the fish in the pond. i get him to understand muhammed ibrahim is a bad guy and working as his fisherman gets him in trouble. and he said, listen, my cousin is the deputy to muhammed ibrahim, they are always together. he goes, they left samarra three days ago. where did they go? he said they went to baghdad. got the exact location. exact house. so i brought in an analyst from the task force team in baghdad and said, i got a target, muhammed ibrahim in baghdad. and i know this is my last
chance to find muhammed ibrahim and saddam hussein. they call about 1:00 and say we're bringing in the mohammad hadir prisoner. the guy who owns the house and three other people. they drive in, drop him off, i bring in the first prisoner, the one they said owned the house. i said what's your name? mohammad, mohammad what? mohammad hadir. okay. quickly, quickly, quickly. two hours to get this guy to go, i'm the deputy to muhammed ibrahim. i'm like, good, where is he? he said he was at the house last night. and i'm thinking, son of a bitch. it's a ghost. i missed him again. i was devastated. i asked him, where was he? ivy -- i've missed him again,
he was at the house. and the linguist, my interpreter's going mr. -- he's saying he was at the house when the soldiers came. and i'm like, they don't miss anybody. i'm like, did they get him? and i went to the guards, i'm like, who do we have? who was brought in on this raid? i'm looking at three guys sitting on the ground. hoods on, hands behind their back. and i'm like, is muhammed ibrahim one of these guys? and i knew exactly what he was supposed to look like. john travolta. had a john travolta chin. and i knew, i'm like, running out of time. first hood. all right. second hood. definitely not him. third hood.
i didn't even get it off his head. and i saw the chin. my entire tour in tikrit was going to come down to my last two and a half hours. me and muhammed ibrahim in a six by six room in baghdad. we went into a mental chess game. he was denying his capabilities. and i was countering his move. and he'd say you give me too much credit, and i would list all his brothers and cousins and all the al muslits. and i said, they give you credit because you have ruined their lives. they'll spend the rest of their
life in prison unless you take us to saddam. it's going to happen without you or with you. if it happens with you, all your relatives walk. if it happens without you, you get nothing. and then he said to me, if i tell you where saddam hussein is, they'll kill me. and i explained to him, but you're they. you're the top one. you're the only person that doesn't have ramifications for giving up saddam. give him up and you won't be the leader of the insurgency. you'll be the one who stood up to the plate, to the dictator. that will be you, and your family walks. and i know he's listening to me. i know he was. i had to leave at 7:00. and they were banging on my door
going -- i mean, 7:00 came, and they said you're out, man, you've got to meet your manifest. and i told him, i said, i'm leaving. you're going to die in here a prisoner, a terrorist, and you don't have a shot, because nobody knows what you can do, nobody knows what you can do. this is it. and he's like, i can't do it. and i said you're going to change your mind, and you're going to want to do it. and i said when you want to do it you're going to have to make them come talk to you. i said go crazy. bang on the walls of the cell, go nuts, and make them come talk to you. and i left. so i went to my tent to pack my bags. a few minutes later, a colleague picks me up and is taking me to the flight line. and my buddy was like what did you do to your guy? the linguist sent a message that of muhammed ibrahim's banging on
the walls of his cell. and i jumped out of the truck, and i just told lee, i said go hold that plane, he's going to give up saddam hussein, and lee's like, i got it. and i ran back. got muhammed ibrahim out, and he declared that he would take us to saddam hussein right then. i got out the map, and he drew an exact location on the map, drew the sketch, said farmhouse in the village of adwar, which is the outskirts of tikrit. he said we got to go, we got to go right now. so i went outside and told the other interrogators, this is the map to saddam hussein. and they're like, dude, go get on the plane. this car is traveling over 200 miles per hour.
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♪ why settle when you can have it all? ♪ ♪ soccer to wrestling. track and field to basketball. ♪ ♪ fencing to cycling. diving to balance beam. ♪ ♪ all you have to say is, ♪ "show me," and boom it's on the screen. ♪ ♪ from the bottom of the mat, ♪ ♪ to the couch where you at? ♪ ♪ "show me the latest medal count?" ♪ ♪ xfinity's where it's at. ♪ welcome to it all. comcast nbcuniversal is proud to bring you coverage of the rio olympic games. muhammed ibrahim declared that he would take us to saddam hussein. he said we got to go, we got to go right now. and i told him, i said you're not going to go right now. you're going to go tonight. and i got on that plane, and i left. >> and then the field phone rang. and it was the commander of special operations unit. he goes, well, the guy we're looking for, we picked up in
baghdad. i go, really? he says, yeah. i said, you know what we're doing tonight? we're going after saddam. i knew we had to move that night, because i think once that guy was captured, the word would eventually get back. you know, the reality is we didn't know what to expect. i mean, this was a difficult place, adwar. it was the hometown of saddam hussein. yes, there were going to be risks, so i expected a fight, a serious fight. based upon lessons from other missions very similar to this. i said, listen, when does the moon come up? 2100 hours. okay. sunset is about 6:30. i want it to be absolute blackout conditions, no illumination whatsoever when we got on to the objective. that would give us an advantage. and i also wanted to move fast.
you understand the risks but as a commander, you try to mitigate those risks through artful tactics, element of surprise, overwhelming force at the objective area. apache gunships, what have you. i mean, i had an armor brigade with every of implement of war that you could imagine, with incredibly courageous and skilled soldiers, operating with the most capable combat special operators in the world. i had this sword that would do anything. the night was incredibly quiet. and by 1930 or 7:30 at night, the sun is set, it's completely blacked out. we were ready to go. so now the assault force is moving towards what we called the release point, at a high rate of speed. and everything is going like clockwork.
no lights on. we're using our night-vision goggles. the first assault party went in, and the special operations leader knew there was a possibility of an underground facility. but the special operations didn't find anything on the objective and sort of walked off and said, probably a dry hole. and dez bailey, the commander, said, let's go back and check again. around 8:15, got the initial report, possible jackpot. >> ladies and gentlemen, we got him! >> within 24 hours of having the critical piece of information giving away his location, they went there, surrounded the area.
discovered him hiding in a hole in the ground that was what was described as an essentially a small manmade hole, about six feet by eight feet in size. hiding there. when troops discovered him in that location he came out, he was disoriented. >> he said, i am saddam hussein, i am the president of iraq, and i'm willing to negotiate. and then the response from u.s. soldiers was, president bush sends his regards. >> we found saddam in the town of adwar about nine kilometers southeast of his hometown. but it just seemed to make sense to me, he's going to trust his own people. he's going to trust his own bloc. that's how that baathist regime really worked. at least saddam's inner circle. >> he's a small village boy who went back to his hometown in his last days. and that's where he decided to hide out, not too far from where he was born and grew up.
hello, everyone, i'm zain ash. i want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. we do have some breaking news out of the u.s. the mayor of milwaukee, wisconsin, is calling for calm after protests there turned violent. crowds gathered saturday night after police shot and killed an armed man during a foot chase. they were chasing him on foot. police moved in to disperse the protesters, after one officer was hit by a brick that was thrown through the windshield of his squad car. people then set several buildings on fire and actually threw rocks and within the past hour, we heard from the