WASHINGTON – A new audio recording purportedly of Saddam Hussein (search) is probably authentic and was likely recorded recently, a U.S. intelligence official said Friday. The finding is further evidence that Saddam survived the war.
The poor quality of the recording prevents technical analysts from being absolutely certain of its authenticity, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. But references to recent events suggest it is a recent recording, this official said.
The voice on the recording said he was speaking on July 14, and it made reference to the new Governing Council (search) of Iraq, which was established Sunday.
Saddam's fate has been uncertain since the war began on March 21. Twice information on his whereabouts was deemed solid enough that an airstrike was sent to kill him.
But since the war, U.S. intelligence analysts have become increasingly certain that he survived. Officials say they believe he remained in Iraq.
The new audio message was aired Thursday, marking the 35th anniversary of the coup that brought Saddam's Baath Party (search) to power. The apparent voice of Saddam urged Iraqis to continue a "holy war" against U.S. forces.
The audio recording said President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair lied to the world to justify their war on Iraq.
"What will they say to their people and to mankind? What will the chorus of lies say to those that backed them?" the speaker said. "What will they say to the world after they devised the scenario of lies against Iraq's people, leadership and culture?"
"The lies were known to the U.S. president and the British prime minister when they decided to launch a war and aggression," the message said.
Another message purportedly from Saddam aired July 4. CIA officials also said it was probably authentic but their analysis was hampered by the audio's poor quality.