Tuesday 8 July 2003

Riddle As U.S. Spy Chief Quits

America's top spy catcher, Paul Redmond, has suddenly resigned in the middle of his secret investigation into how Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden allegedly obtained US computer software, the SUNDAY EXPRESS claimed this weekend.

The software is said to enable the two most wanted men in the world to avoid capture because it can pinpoint every move in the global manhunt.

Redmond's departure last week was accepted "without discussion" by President Bush, the man who had brought the spy catcher out of retirement to conduct the investigation.

Hours after Redmond had cleared his desk, Bush ordered a GBP 25million bounty on Saddam's head. He wants Saddam "dead or alive" and the same goes for bin Laden. Already Bush has agreed to either man forgoing a trial and being shot after interrogation. The official reason given for Redmond's abrupt departure was "health reasons." But stunned colleagues in the Homeland Security department in Washington, where Redmond had his office, insist the former Associate Director of the CIA was in perfect health. His departure has led to intense speculation that he may have begun to uncover embarrassing details of how the software came into the hands of Saddam and bin Laden.

Documents obtained by the respected International Currency Review, a London-based newsletter for the financial community, allege that the software was provided for Saddam on the authority of President Bush's father when he was in the White House - a time when relations between Iraq and Washington were close during Baghdad's war with Iran. The Review's publisher, Christopher Story, a former financial adviser to Lady Thatcher, said: "The documents are extremely sensitive and raise some very serious questions."

He confirmed that they had originally been in the possession of Barzan alTakriti, Saddam's half-brother, when he was managing Saddam's estimated GBP 40billion fortune.

A Paris intelligence source said the documents were copied by operatives of DGSE, the French intelligence service, earlier this year when al-Takriti made a visit to several banks in Geneva.

He is now in American hands, one of the key names on the famous "deck of cards" list.

Shortly after the documents reached Washington on the eve of the war with Iraq, President Bush brought Paul Redmond out of retirement.

Redmond was a legendary CIA spy catcher who helped unmask some of the most infamous spies before he retired in 1998.

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