Digging for the Story

…in search of Saddam

By H. Jay Burns

Paul Blume ’98, reporter for NBC Channel 15 in Madison, Wis., traveled to Iraq in February to cover the work of the Wisconsin-based Army National Guard’s 229th Engineer Company.

Deployed in and around Tikrit, about 90 miles north of Baghdad, the company moved tons of dirt on various construction projects, but it was a tiny hole in the ground — Saddam Hussein’s spider hole in Tikrit — that snagged worldwide interest. Some of the soldiers, Blume reported, were miffed that they’d worked so close to the hiding dictator.

“We taped an entire story talking to soldiers about the possibility that they themselves had seen Saddam in the area and not realized it,” said Blume.