On Monday, December 11, 2023 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., George L. Piro will give a presentation titled “The Interrogation of Saddam Hussein: A Lesson in Success.” The program will be presented by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute located on the FAU Boca Raton campus (777 Glades Road). Before their discussion, George shared details about his work.
Linda: Explain your role as former FBI special agent in charge of the Miami field office?
Jorge: As Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Miami Field Office, I was responsible for overseeing the FBI Miami’s counterterrorism, criminal, cyber, and counterintelligence programs while providing leadership to the office’s more than 900 employees. .
Linda: What was the mission of the field office?
Jorge: The mission of the field office was consistent with the mission of the FBI, which is to protect the American people and defend the Constitution of the United States. As one of four FBI offices with extraterritorial responsibility, the field office’s mission extended overseas, specifically to the Caribbean and Central and South America.
Linda: Please share the methods you used to gain Saddam Hussein’s trust while interrogating him.
Jorge: The method I used is commonly known as relationship-based interrogation, which allows the interrogator to develop a relationship with the subject. My experience has shown that such a relationship can be decisive in obtaining information from subjects who would otherwise be reluctant.
Linda: What did Hussein reveal to you during your interrogation?
Jorge: The weapons of mass destruction were intended to defend Iraq’s sovereignty. Iraq demonstrated this with its use during the Iran-Iraq War, when Iran threatened Iraq’s sovereignty.
•Hussein believed that Iraq faced a regional threat and that Iraq must appear capable of defending itself.
•Iran was the most important threat to Iraq due to their common borders and Iran’s desire to annex southern Iraq.
•The threat from Iran was the main reason for not allowing the return of UN inspectors, as they would have identified Iraq’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities.
•Hussein acknowledged his intention to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction program and admitted that Iraq still had the technical and scientific capacity.
•Hussein’s incriminating statements regarding major events such as the invasion of Kuwait and the 1991 Shiite uprising.
Linda: Is it true that Saddam did not expect a US invasion of Iraq?
Jorge: Initially he did not expect the United States to invade and so he remained defiant. He expected the United States to carry out an airstrike like we did in 1998. However, once he realized that the United States intended to invade and force a regime change, he allowed the inspectors in, but they He realized that it was already too late.
Linda: Do you share any other highlights from your law enforcement career?
Jorge: My law enforcement career spanned almost 34 years. I was a police officer/criminal investigator for almost 10 years and 23 years in the FBI. I had the opportunity to work in a variety of assignments as a police officer, including patrol, SWAT, and investigations, where I received several awards and commendations, including Police Officer of the Year. I joined the FBI in 1999 and was initially assigned to the FBI’s International Terrorism Team in Phoenix and within four years was selected to serve on the FBI’s elite Counterterrorism Rapid Team.
Implementation team. I served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. I received numerous awards for intelligence and law enforcement services, including the National Intelligence Achievement Medal, the FBI Director’s Award of Excellence, the ADL Blue Shield Award for Excellence in Counterterrorism, Multiple FBI Combat Theater Awards and the FBI Meritorious Achievement Medal for saving lives. action.
Linda: Do you share details of your upbringing in Beirut and California?
Jorge: My family was fortunate to be able to flee the terrible civil war in Lebanon and immigrate to the United States. When I moved here at age 12, I didn’t speak English, so the transition was very difficult. I was naturalized at age 17 and enlisted in the Air Force when I turned 18. I was lucky to have the best parents anyone could have. My father was truly my first role model and idol. Watching it growing up, I understood the value of hard work, integrity, and most importantly, courage. I saw his courage and determination when he brought his family to the United States in search of a better life. I witnessed his unwavering determination to provide the best life for his family and the incredible success he was able to achieve. Not only is he a true example of the American dream, but he also illustrated what is possible through hard work and determination.
Linda: What inspired you to pursue a career in law enforcement?
Jorge: I wanted a career that was exciting but that I could be proud of and feel like I belonged, but most importantly I wanted a career where I could make a difference.
Linda: Please express how your native Arabic skills led you to play critical roles in counterterrorism?
Jorge: He was critical to the FBI’s CT mission. He provided the opportunity to be part of the 9/11 investigation team and conduct a key interrogation of a subject associated with the hijackers. He was a great help on my tours in Iraq and allowed me to serve in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Amman and Jordan.
Linda: What languages do you speak?
Jorge: English, Arabic and Assyrian
Linda: What other positions/functions have you held working for the FBI?
Jorge: I later served as supervisor of the Washington Field Office’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and assistant special agent in charge of the Washington Field Office’s International Terrorism Branch. I also served as deputy deputy director of the WMD Directorate and director of the High Value Detainee Interrogation Group, an interagency unit overseen by the Counterterrorism Security Group within the White House. I was selected by the Director of the FBI as Deputy Director of the International Operations Division.
Linda: Explain your role in the investigation of the 2017 Fort Lauderdale airport shooting?
Jorge: I was the special agent in charge of the Miami field office and specifically served as the on-scene commander during the horrific incident.
Linda: I hope to see you at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute on December 11, 2023 at 10 am
The presentation will take place in FAU’s Friedberg Auditorium in the Lifelong Learning Building located at 777 Glades Road in Boca Raton.
Cost: Member: $30, $100 for any combination of four events, Members Only, Non-Member: $35, Single Guest Pass, Member or Non-Member at the door: $35.
For more details about the program, call 561-297-3185 or visit olliboca.fau.edu