Fact Check

Saddam's Capture

Published Jan 8, 2004



Urban Legends Reference Pages: Photo Gallery (Saddam's Capture)

Claim:   Photograph shows the capture of Saddam Hussein.

Status:   Undetermined.

Example:   [Collected on the Internet, 2004]


Origins:   The above photograph, purportedly showing former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein being dragged from his "spider hole" by U.S. forces, surfaced on the Internet on 7 January 2004. Hussein, who went into hiding after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003, was captured on the outskirts of his home town, Tikrit, on 13 December 2003.

We haven't come across any strong reasons to doubt the authenticity of this photograph. The appearance of Saddam in this picture matches how he looked when he was taken into custody, the photograph shows no obvious signs of manipulation (other than the deliberate blurring of the pictured soldier's face), and even Pentagon officials have admitted that "soldiers may have had a camera with them."

Update:   An unblurred version of this photo has since surfaced, as has a series of photographs depicting Saddam Hussein's capture:


We're leaving this one as "undetermined" for now in hopes of gleaning more information about the identities of the photographer(s) and the persons pictured.

Last updated:   13 January 2004

  Sources Sources:

    Martin, Paul.   "Web Site Depicts Saddam's Capture."

    The Washington Times.   9 January 2004.

    The Daily Telegraph.   "The Moment Saddam Was Dragged from His Hole."

    8 January 2004.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.