One special mission for U.S. forces in Iraq is to search for Capt. Michael Scott Speicher, a U.S. Navy pilot believed to have been held captive in Iraq since the Gulf War in 1991. U.S. intelligence reported last week that Speicher was seen alive in Baghdad earlier this month, while being moved to Baghdad, although the sighting could not be confirmed. Speicher was declared killed in action after his F-18 jet was shot down by a missile over Iraq on Jan. 17, 1991, but later reports indicated his plane had crash-landed and he had ejected. His flight suit was later found by a Red Cross mission in Iraq. The Navy has reclassified him as missing in action. A Navy spokesman says that recent intelligence “continues to suggest strongly that the government of Iraq can account for him.”
Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, who is chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, says, “Every hearing we have, every [congressional delegation] we have, we always mention this issue?We’re talking about a considerable number of people [in Iraq] who say they’ve seen an American POW.”
Saddam has admitted holding some POWs for decades. Just before the U.S. strike, Iran and Iraq exchanged about 200 prisoners captured by each side during their eight-year war in the 1980s.
It’s surprising what secrets these dictators keep.
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