Inside Interview: Steve Harrigan

Steve Harrigan

In the course of his career, Steve Harrigan has reported on conflict and civil strife from the Chechen War to Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. He's currently stationed in Baghdad covering the weapons inspections and preparing for whatever may happen next. We had a chance to ask Steve a few questions:

When you're not filing reports for FNC what do you do?

Harrigan: I swim for 40 minutes in the hotel pool, I listen to a fantastic music group called "Luna" on my CD, and I study Arabic.

Do you get to speak with your family often? What do you tell them about what you see in Iraq?

Harrigan: We've got an e-mail and phone connection. I try to keep the conversations strictly to family and leave out all the politics because you never know who's your friend, who's your enemy, or who's listening.

How is the Iraqi government monitoring your reports?

Harrigan: I think they are pretty sophisticated about it because I haven't felt any sort of heavy hand or presence at all. There's usually somebody watching when I do my live shots, and then a monitor that goes along with you when you go out and shoot things. It could be a lot worse than what it is.

If we were in Baghdad with you what would you want to show us?

Harrigan: I would want you to talk to as many Iraqi people as possible and get to know a little bit about what they are like as people, and what they think of Americans.

What are the Iraqi people like? What do they really think about the U.S.?

Harrigan: I was afraid initially that I'd be hated, but that's not the case at all. Once you start talking to people, they're actually very well educated, very gentle and really interesting. They look at things in a different way than we do, and I think there's a real curiosity about the U.S. and the West. Actually, part of it is admiration for a lot of what exists in America. That took me by surprise.

If you had the chance to interview anybody in Iraq, who would it be and what would you ask him or her?

Harrigan: I'd interview Saddam Hussein. I would like to actually spend a day with him and see how he moves from place to place and try to get a little bit into his mindset, if I could. So much has been written and said about him by people who have no connection, never seen him, never heard him and don't know a thing about him. I'd like to compare the facts on the ground with what I've read and what I've heard.

You said on At Large with Geraldo Rivera that Afghanistan wasn't as eerie as Iraq is now. What is so eerie about Iraq?

Harrigan: It's eerie in the sense that something's coming. You can sense it. But you don't know where, and you don't know what it's going to be. In Afghanistan, you could look over the mountain and know where the bad guys were. Here, you can't do that. You don't know who's good, who's bad, or what kind of weapon they have.

Read our inside interview with Jerusalem correspondent Jennifer Griffin.