Tennessee state senator on team that captured Hussein says U.S. might be relying too much on drones

11/14/2013 11:04 PM

A Tennessee state lawmaker who was part of the team that captured Saddam Hussein in December 2003 echoed concerns of Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul that U.S. intelligence and the military is relying too heavily on unmanned drones.

Republican state Sen. Mark Green of Clarksville was in Kentucky Thursday to speak at a fundraiser for state Rep. Jonathan Shell, R-Lancaster.

Talking to Pure Politics’ Don Weber in cn|2’s Lexington studio, Green — a former U.S. Army surgeon — described the night of Dec. 13, 2003, when he found out that he would be caring for “Big Jackpot” as Hussein had been nicknamed as U.S. forces searched for him in rural Iraq.

“I thought I would just sit there and watch Saddam sleep but he woke up and started the conversation with me so I just peppered him with questions,” Green said (at 2:50). “I stayed away from anything that might compromise an investigation. But I asked him things like ‘why did you go to war with Iran?’..And some of the things that he told me quite frankly aren’t in any of the history books so I thought I better put this in writing somewhere”

Green detailed the encounter in his 2011 book, “My Night with Saddam.”

“Clearly, the moment in history I was completely aware of,” Green said (at 4:30). “It is almost as if I was watching it unfold from outside my body. I mean I really had that sort of awareness that this is an unbelievable moment in history.”

Now looking at U.S. security through a political lens, Green said he’s uncomfortable with some of the measures being taken inside and outside the country, chiefly the NSA’s spying programs that included collection of phone and electronic data of Americans and the use of unmanned drones for intelligence gathering and military strikes.

“I’m concerned about what the NSA is doing. Very clearly they are listening in on all of us all the time now. Absent a warrant, I think that’s wrong … What the NSA is doing, I think that’s wrong,” he said. “I’m not so sure we’re not putting a little too much weight on drones and less on human intelligence.”

About Pure Politics

Pure Politics airs Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. ET and again at 11:30 p.m. ET in all of cn|2's Kentucky markets. The program features political analysis and news, as well as interviews with officials, candidates, policy makers and political observers.

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