Sept. 12, 2002 -- A woman who says she was Saddam Hussein's mistress describes a Viagra-fueled lover who enjoyed watching The Godfather and tapes of his enemies being tortured — but cried as the allies took Kuwait from Iraqi occupation during the Gulf War.
"He don't believe in his mother, he don't believe in God, he didn't believe in nobody," Parisoula Lampsos, 54, told ABCNEWS' Claire Shipman in an interview from a safe house in Lebanon.
"He believe only for Saddam," Lampsos added. "He look at the mirror, 'I am Saddam.' He went like that. He looks. 'I am Saddam. Heil Hitler!'"
Allegedly Helped Bin Laden
As U.S. officials look for current links between Saddam and al Qaeda, Lampsos said she was told the Iraqi leader has met and given money in the past to Osama bin Laden, according to one of several written excerpts from the Primetime Thursday broadcast.
Lampsos saw bin Laden at Saddam's palace in the 1980s, she said, and claimed Saddam's son Oday told her his father met with bin Laden again in the mid-1990s and gave him money.
"He give to Osama bin Laden," Lampsos said. "He give to Palestine."
Lampsos says she was Saddam's mistress on and off for 30 years, and at times saw him almost on a daily basis. But after fleeing Iraq a year ago, she fears Saddam will try to kill her, and she disguises herself by wearing a veil in public.
The Iraqi National Congress, the leading opposition group, helped Lampsos flee Iraq and supports her claim that she was Saddam's mistress. Western intelligence sources also say they believe her claim. Iraqi officials denounce it as ridiculous and declined to comment further.
Lampsos said she did not know whether Saddam has nuclear weapons. But she did say she overheard Saddam and his son Oday discussing plans to move chemical weapons around by night to avoid their detection by U.N. inspectors — something U.S. intelligence soruces say they always suspected.
U.S. intelligence agents have not yet debriefed Lampsos, but government sources told Primetime her apparent knowledge of Saddam's habits and behavoir could be critical to a U.S. effort to remove him from power.
‘You Are Afraid to Say No’
Early on, she loved Saddam, Lampsos said. He gave her a room in his palace stocked with clothes and gifts.
"He was tender," she said. "He was warm. He was nice. He was another person."But as Saddam grew older, he dyed his hair, used a relaxation mask to reduce wrinkles, and sometimes used Viagra to enhance their sexual encounters, she said.
"Saddam, he don't need to force anybody," she said. "You are afraid. You are afraid to say no. … I was with him because I was afraid of him."
Parisoula said she was part of what she calls Saddam's "collection" of women, which she said included three wives and over the years five other mistresses. She said she was his favorite mistress, and was friendly with his wives.
As she grew more disenchanted with Saddam, she said, she realized she would never be allowed to leave.
"I told him, 'Why? Let me go now,'" she recalled of the many times she said she tried to break off the relationship. "'I don't have anything to give you more. You can have any woman. What you need me?' He look at me very, very, very strong. He said, 'You belong to me. You are going to die here in Baghdad.'"
Role Seen in Son's Assassination Attempt
She knew Saddam was willing to go to extreme measures to get what he wanted. She says she saw first-hand examples of his ruthlessness — such as when she believes he ordered the assassination of Oday, his oldest son, because he viewed him as a troublemaker and a rival for power.
The assassination attempt failed, but Oday was left paralyzed.
"I didn't want in this way," Lampsos recalled Saddam saying afterwards. "I wanted him to die. It was better for him."
U.S. intelligence officials, who had suspected that Saddam was behind the assassination attempt but were unable to confirm it, told Primetime that Lampsos's account could be damaging to Saddam's regime, and potentially even destabilize it.
Whiskey and Torture
Even when relaxing, Saddam's brutal side could come out, she said. According to Lampsos, Saddam loved watching The Godfather, listening to "Strangers in the Night" by Frank Sinatra, or seeing videos of his enemies being tortured. He sometimes donned a cowboy hat, sipped whiskey on the rocks and puffed on a cigar as he watched the torture.
"He was happy, happy, happy," she said of the torture viewing. "Happiest day."
Saddam also raised gazelles, she said, because they were his favorite dinnertime meal, and when he was hungry he handpicked them to be slaughtered.
‘Thinks All the Time He Is Sick’
But Saddam also lived with fears, Lampsos said.
Saddam "thinks all the time he is sick," she said, and prefers that people kiss him on the shoulder instead of the cheek so he doesn't get infected with germs.
Several years ago, she added, Saddam summoned a doctor from Cuba because he suffered a stroke, something Western observers had suspected.
"If you see him in some photos, his mouth is not normal," Lampsos said. "It droops."
According to Lampsos, Saddam worried somewhat when George W. Bush was elected president, believing the younger Bush would come after him. But, she claimed, "He don't care."
‘Who’s America? … I Am Saddam’
Lampsos said Saddam was convinced that he would win the Gulf War a decade ago because, "He never lose. He always think that he will win."
Even after the United States stepped into the fray, she added, Saddam thought, "Who's America? Who are they? What [do] they think they are? I am Saddam."
But when the allies seized Kuwait, she sensed he had been crying, as his eyes appeared to be "with tears. His eye was red, red, red."
She said Saddam told her: "'I lose.' I said, 'What?' He said, 'Kuwait.' He said, 'They took Kuwait from me but I will took it again.'"