Baghdad, 6 January 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Iraqi President Saddam Hussein said in a televised message today that UN weapons inspectors are engaging in "pure intelligence work" by compiling lists of Iraqi scientists and asking workers at military installations misleading questions. "Instead of looking for the so-called weapons of mass destruction in order to expose the lies propagated by those who try, in vain, to deceive public opinion, the inspection teams became interested in compiling lists of Iraqi scientists, asking workers questions that are not what they seem to be and gathering information about army camps and military production that is not prohibited and other matters, all of which or most of which constitutes pure intelligence work."
Saddam said Iraq is prepared to confront any possible attack. He said the Iraqis will prevail because justice is on their side, and that the enemy will be defeated because "it misjudged and misbehaved."
The United States has criticized Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's allegation that UN arms inspectors are spying. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer called the remarks "unfortunate" and said the inspectors' work needs to continue.
Under a UN Security Council resolution passed in November, weapons inspectors are in Iraq to establish whether it still has chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons of mass destruction. The inspectors today continued their work, searching a nuclear installation near Baghdad and two other sites.