A man claiming to be Saddam Hussein's top nuclear scientist defected in northern Iraq and told military interrogators that parts of Iraq's nuclear weapons program survived the allied bombing campaign, National Public Radio reported Monday.
NPR correspondent Neal Conan reported on the network's "Morning Edition" program that the Iraqi scientist drove up to a U.S. Marine checkpoint near Dohouk in northern Iraq in a car with three other people identified as his wife, his brother and a friend.Conan said military and intelligence sources confirmed that the man impressed his interrogators and that he told them that parts of Iraq's nuclear weapons program had survived the allied bombing. Although the sources refused to specify exactly what had been missed, they did say it was "a lot," Conan reported.
Conan said the sources said the allies missed facilities they did not know existed and bunkers that were too deep and too well protected for bombs to destroy.
Conan said Col. Jim Jones, the commander of the Marine unit in Iraq, denied that anyone claiming to be a nuclear scientist had entered the compound, but two other sources verified the story.