Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein bluffed about WMDs fearing Iranian arsenal, secret FBI files show

Saddam Hussein feared Iran's arsenal more than a U.S. attack, and even considered asking ex-President George W. Bush "to protect" Iraq from its neighbor, once secret FBI files show.

The FBI interrogations of the toppled tyrant - codename "Desert Spider" - were declassified after a Freedom of Information Act request.

The records show Saddam happily boasted of duping the world about stockpiling weapons of mass destruction. And he consistently denied cooperating with Osama Bin Laden's Al Qaeda.

Of all his enemies, Iraq's ex-president - who insisted he still held office during captivity - hated Iran most.

Asked how he would have faced "fanatic" Iranian ayatollahs if Iraq had been proven toothless by UN weapons inspectors in 2003, Saddam said he would have cut a deal with Bush.

"Hussein replied Iraq would have been extremely vulnerable to attack from Iran and would have sought a security agreement with the U.S. to protect it from threats in the region," according to a 2004 FBI report among the declassified files.

Without Bush's help, "Iraq would have done what was necessary," he told FBI Agent George Piro in his Baghdad International Airport cell.

That didn't mean an alliance of evil with Al Qaeda, he insisted months into what he called a "dialogue" with Piro.

The interrogations unfolded in 2004 after his capture the previous December at the same farm where he said he'd hidden after orchestrating a failed 1959 coup plot.

Saddam denied ever laying eyes on the "zealot" Bin Laden, bent on striking the U.S.

He said he "did not have the same belief of vision" as the terror kingpin.

Saddam never sought Al Qaeda assistance because he feared the terror group would turn on him. To protect his country, the more likely ally "would have been North Korea."

Saddam also said the U.S. "used the 9/11 attack as a justification to attack Iraq" and "lost sight of the cause of 9/11."

The U.S. "was not Iraq's enemy," just its policies, Saddam explained.

Asked about WMDs, Saddam insisted: "We destroyed them. We told you."

"By God, if I had such weapons, I would have used them in the fight against the U.S," he added.(nydailynews, 6.24.2009, James Gordon Meek)