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RIDDLE AS US SPY CHIEF QUITS
Sunday Express [UK]
July 6, 2003
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.
He was told to investigate how Robert Hanssen, the renegade FBI computer specialist who was a longtime Soviet agent, had handed over a copy of the software - known as Promis - to his KGB controllers for $ 2million.
Hanssen, now serving a life sentence, has yet to reveal all he knows about how the KGB sold on a copy of the software to Osama bin Laden for $ 4million shortly before the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.
"But until Redmond's abrupt resignation, increasingly the documents relating to Saddam's use of Promis - and his relationship with President Bush's father - were what Redmond had begun to focus on", said a source close to the departed spy catcher.
Originally developed by a small company in Washington called Inslaw, there are now a number of versions of the software. One was installed by MI6 early in the 1990s. After Hanssen's arrest it was removed.
William Hamilton, president of Inslaw, said that top Bush aides and FBI director Robert Mueller had met to discuss the "implications" of Redmond's investigation.
"Redmond has said that Hanssen did hundreds of billions of dollars worth of damage. I have been told that Redmond's health is fine and there is a much more important reason for his resignation", said Mr Hamilton.
Like Mr Story, Mr Hamilton did not want to elaborate. But both men conceded that Redmond's investigation could have caused embarrassment to President Bush and his family.
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