Saddam Hussein captured alive!
: Paul Bremer: “Ladies and gentlemen, we got him!”
He says he was captured at 8 pm (Iraqi time) in a town near Tikrit.
“This is a great day in Iraq’s history,” Bremer says.
: Gen. Ricardo Sanchez called it Operation Red Dawn. He said not a single shot was fired. He said Saddam has been cooperative and talkative.
He says it came from human intelligence, intelligence analysis, and information from detainees. At 11 yesterday, they received intelligence about his location.
About 600 soldiers were involved in the operation.
“Under cover of darkness and with lightening speed,” they began the operation at 6 local time.
He was found in a small walled compound with a lean-to hut and a hole hidden by bricks and dirt. “Saddam Hussein was found hiding at the bottom of the hole.”
The hole was six feet deep — how appropriate.
It was big enough for a man to lie down. It had an air vent.
He had $750K in U.S. currency.
When they show Saddam on video the Iraqis in the press conference break out in cheering and jeering at the screen.
Sanchez describes Saddam as “cooperative… tired… a man resigned to his fate.”
: A Reuters reporter asks, “Does this mean you’re going to leave the country quicker?” Gen Sanchez gives him the appropriate response: derisive laughter.
: Sanchez ends: “God bless America.”
: Kudos to ABCNews, which had a translator ready to translate Arabic questions and answers; NBC and CBS did not.
: ABC just replayed the opening announcement and Bremer’s chin was quivering. He takes this personally.
Earlier news reports…
: Hussein was captured in Tikrit. Announcement upcoming.
: NBC News says on the air that people are celebrating in the streets.
: CNN hedges and says his identity is being confirmed.
: The BBC says he was found in a cellar. Tony Blair says this “removes a shadow” over Iraq.
: Fox News says he was “cowering.”
: Andrea Mitchell on NBC just said that last night, Rumsfeld and other U.S. officials seen at events around Washington were “extraordinarily happy and no one knew why… This was more than the holiday spirit.” She says the operation appears to have taken place about 8 last night (ET).
: The Iranian official news service story:
The head of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) office in Tehran, Majed Ghammas, confirmed that Saddam had been captured, citing their sources inside Iraq.
“Our sources have reported that troops at US 4th Infantry Division found Saddam in an underground in Tikrit,” he told IRNA.
“American troops identified Saddam after removing his fake graying
beard and arrested him,” Ghammas added.
: NBC News says he wasn’t so much in a basement but in a hole just outside a house where intelligence said he would be.
: It has been awhile since Tim Russert was a street reporter. He said Saddam was marched before other prisoners (for both ID and humiliation) and called it a “prep walk.” That’s “perp walk,” Tim, as in perpetrator.
When news gets personal…
: I was going to kick the cat for getting me up early. But it’s because of that that I heard the great news from Iraq. On any other morning, I would have gone out running as the snow starts to fall here. But instead, I stay in to watch the news and blog it. That’s odd, when you think about it; you’re all going to wake up and see the news on TV or online. But I was dying to see what the Iraqi bloggers had to say. And this is big news, indeed. So I didn’t want to be away from the news. Blogs create a new connection to the news….