WASHINGTON – The U.S. military stepped up its investigation to find the source of revealing photos of Saddam Hussein (search) in jail as more were published in The Sun on Saturday, a day after the British tabloid ran a front-page picture of the former Iraqi leader clad in his underwear.
"We are mounting a very aggressive effort to find out who, why and where it happened, and to make sure it doesn't happen again," Lieutenant-Colonel Steve Boylan told FOX News.
The Sun said it obtained the photos from "U.S. military sources."
However, Boylan, a senior military spokesman, told FOX News that statement was "completely wrong."
President Bush and the military condemned the publication of the photographs on Friday and the outrage continued on Saturday.
"We are very unhappy, disappointed, to the point of outrage," Boylan said.
In the United States, the New York Post ran a story, reprinted the photos and used the same image on its front page. Click here to read the story (registration required).
(The Sun, the New York Post and the FOX News Channel are all owned by News Corp.)
The Sun's front-page picture on Friday showed the former Iraqi dictator, in white briefs, folding a pair of trousers. Another on an inside page showed Saddam hand-washing a piece of clothing.
Saturday's pictures included one of Saddam seen through barbed wire wearing a traditional white Arab robe known as a dishdasha, and another of Ali Hassan al-Majid (search), better known as "Chemical Ali," in a dark robe and holding a towel.
The Sun also ran photos of a man and a woman identified as al-Majid (search), who faces charges for his role in poison gas attacks against Iraq's Kurdish minority, and Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash, a researcher dubbed "Mrs. Anthrax" for her alleged role in trying to develop bio-weapons for Saddam.
The photos have not provoked much of an outcry in the Middle East but raised concerns about offending Arab sensibilities and doing further damage to the American image already tarnished by the prisoner abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib prison and a now retracted Newsweek report about the desecration of the Koran at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Saddam's chief lawyer, Ziad al-Khasawneh, said the photos "add to acts that are practiced against the Iraqi people." He said he would sue the newspaper "and everyone who helped in showing these pictures."
Some Iraqis and other Arabs called the photos of Saddam the latest in a series of insults to Muslims. Others, however, said the humiliation is just what the 68-year-old former dictator deserved.
Iraq's Interior Minister Bayan Jabr (search) said he did not know how the pictures were taken but he did not believe the U.S. military was involved.
"I don't believe that these pictures were taken by the U.S. Army or coalition forces," he told reporters in Baghdad, but he didn't elaborate.
Newspaper coverage varied across the region. Iraq's Al-Mutumar newspaper ran a small front-page picture of The Sun's cover with Saddam in his underwear alongside a short story. The Azzaman published a larger spread featuring the same front page.
The London-based Asharq Al-Awsat devoted its entire front page to a photo of Saddam washing some clothes. The Arab daily said it had permission to use the picture.
Al-Arabiya satellite television station aired footage of the photographs from the newspaper's Friday and Saturday editions, though Al-Jazeera did not, citing ethical and professional reasons.
Saddam, who was captured in December 2003, has been jailed at a complex near Baghdad airport named Camp Cropper, which holds 110 high-profile detainees.
Aside from U.S. soldiers, the only others with access to Saddam are his legal team, prosecuting judge Raed Johyee and the International Committee for the Red Cross, which monitors his treatment for compliance with the Geneva Conventions.
"Taking and using photographs of him is clearly forbidden," ICRC Middle East spokeswoman Dorothea Krimitsas said. U.S. forces are obliged to "preserve the privacy of the detainee."
A spokesman, Staff Sgt. Don Dees, said the military would question the troops responsible for Saddam.
The U.S. military in Baghdad said the publication of the photos violated its guidelines "and possibly Geneva Convention guidelines for the humane treatment of detained individuals."
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said U.S. military officials in Iraq believe the photos are "dated" — perhaps more than one year old, although no specific date has been established.
Army Maj. Flora Lee, Multinational Forces spokeswoman in Baghdad, said the photos could have been from January 2004 to April 2004, "based on the background of the photos and appearance of him."
The man identified as al-Majid in Saturday's photos is shown leaning on a cane and holding a towel as he rises out of a chair. The woman is wearing a headscarf outdoors and looking forlornly in the distance.
In Baghdad coffee shops, Iraqis watched as some Arab satellite networks showed the photos of Saddam on Friday.
"This is an insult to show the former president in such a condition. Saddam is from the past now, so what is the reason for this? It is bad work from the media. Do they want to degrade the Iraqi people?" said Baghdad businessman Abu Barick.
Others were not so kind.
"Saddam Hussein and his regime were bloody and practiced mass killing against the people, therefore, whatever happens to Saddam, whether he is photographed naked or washing his clothes, it means nothing to me. That's the least he deserves," said Hawre Saliee, a 38-year-old Kurd.
Charges against Saddam include killing rival politicians during his 30-year rule, gassing Kurds, invading Kuwait in 1990 and suppressing Kurdish and Shiite uprisings the next year.
FOX News' Bret Baier and The Associated Press contributed to this report.