George Sada, an air force officer under Saddam, told the independent Al-Qabas daily that the former Iraqi dictator's house "was centrally air conditioned" and he was reading newspapers and watching television.
"They prepare two kinds of food for him every day, Eastern and Western, and he eats what he chooses," Sada said in the interview conducted a week ago in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. It is being published in a series.
Saddam's menu includes Qouzi, which is sheep stuffed with rice, and Masqouf, Iraqi-style grilled fish, Sada said, adding that the former dictator is living "like any king, better than the way he lived at the Republican Palace".
Sada declined to elaborate on where Saddam was being held, but he has been in US custody since December 13 when he was captured by American troops in a hole near his hometown of Tikrit. He is believed to be detained in an American-guarded facility near Baghdad International Airport.
Saddam faces trial on at least seven charges, including killing rival politicians, gassing the Kurds in 1988, invading Kuwait in 1990 and suppressing Kurdish and Shiite uprisings in 1991. No date for the tribunal has been announced.
Sada said Saddam's top aides in US detention were also living very well.
Although the Iraqi interim government has taken legal custody of Saddam and his aides, US forces have been holding them until Iraqis are ready to take control.
Sada told Al-Qabas that the Americans have "said they were going to live like this until they are delivered to you (the Iraqis), then you can do what you want with them".
If Saddam, who was toppled in April 2003 by a US-led coalition, "was handed to Iraqis, they would have eaten him (alive) a long time ago," he added. - Sapa-AP