TIKRIT, Iraq – A U.S. Army spokeswoman said Tuesday the military had no reports of Saddam Hussein hiding in his hometown of Tikrit (search) in northern Iraq, countering a statement by an Army officer the previous day that the ousted Iraqi leader was recently in the region.
"We do not have intelligence that he is and has been specifically in Tikrit," said Maj. Josslyn Aberle, spokeswoman for the 4th Infantry Division (search), which controls a large swathe of the country's north. "Because if we did, we would have the capability to act on it.
However, Aberle said there has been intelligence that former regime members, possibly even Saddam, had traveled through the area.
The 4th Infantry Division's headquarters are in Tikrit, the fugitive former president's hometown, 120 miles north of Baghdad.
Aberle's comments contradicted those of Maj. Troy Smith, a deputy brigade commander, who on Monday told reporters the military has "clear indication" Saddam was recently in Tikrit.
Smith said the ousted leader was believed to wield a strong influence in the anti-American insurgency in Tikrit and that "he could be here right now."
Tikrit lies in the Sunni triangle (search) area, which has produced the majority of the attacks against U.S. troops.
Aberle said Smith was "just speaking his own mind" and that the military has no credible information to support that.
"When we get credible information, we shall act on it," Aberle said. "One of these days that credible information will lead us to Saddam Hussein."