On Wednesday, April 1, George L. Piro, FBI Special Agent in Charge, Miami Field Office, was our guest of honor. SAC Piro spoke about his role as lead FBI interrogator of Saddam Hussein. In a word, it was fascinating. SAC Piro explained how he was selected to be the lead interrogator, in that the CIA formally requested FBI assistance because the CIA does not testify in court, and all parties knew this was eventually going to lead to a prosecution. SAC Piro then explained how he was considered, in that he was one of only 12 FBI agents at the time, nationwide, who spoke Arabic. Thus, although he had only been with the FBI for five years at that point, this unique skill, his prior experience as a police officer, combined with his traditional Arabic upbringing to facilitate gaining Saddam’s trust, made him the perfect candidate to conduct the interrogation. SAC Piro explained how he spent a significant time simply gaining Saddam’s trust, stroking Saddam’s ego and relating to him personally by having read Saddam’s first published novel and sharing feelings of their mutual, respective love for their mothers. This was necessary because Saddam really had no incentive to talk or cooperate. SAC Piro detailed how he explained Saddam’s rights under the Geneva convention to him, akin to Miranda rights, and acquired a waiver of those rights. SAC Piro, who was the only person Saddam was permitted to interact with while in captivity, explained how Saddam’s emotional state was then manipulated, by at times making Saddam happy due to certain information provided to him, and at other times, depressing Saddam based on other information, such as video of Saddam’s statue being dragged down the street decapitated. SAC Piro detailed the horrors and atrocities Saddam committed on his people over a period of decades. SAC Piro ended his remarks by summarizing information gleaned from Saddam, including Saddam’s long term puffery as to Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction to ward of the Iranian threat, which had every intelligence agency in the world fooled. SAC Piro explained how he also participated in the subsequent prosecution of Saddam, but made the personal decision not to witness Saddam’s post-conviction execution live. SAC Piro then fielded questions from the audience. A poignant moment happened in the final question, where a retired, 30 year veteran of the FBI remarked that this was the most impressive presentation he had ever seen by an FBI Agent. So, a special thank you to SAC Piro, a true patriot, and thank you to everyone who attended!
- Category: Hyatt Luncheons
- Date: April 1, 2015