Though NBC News' chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel has been at the network for over a decade, there was once a time when he could have had a very, very different job: serving as a human shield for former Iraqi despot Saddam Hussein.
During an interview with "Late Night" host Seth Meyers Wednesday night, Engel admitted that in the days leading up to the Iraq War he agreed to shackle himself to Iraqi oil facilities in protest of American military intervention in order to secure a visa into the country.
"Saddam Hussein, going back quite a few years now, was about to be invaded by the United States and thought a good way to prevent this invasion would be to invite a whole lot of Americans and have them hold signs and chain themselves to his facilities, [saying] 'Please don't bomb!" Engel recalled. "So I said, 'I'll take one of these visas, I'll volunteer to be a human shield' -- obviously I had no intention of being a human shield -- and I got the visa, I went in, and then I disappeared. I went underground and just sort of faded from the regime's radar."
"There's still a human resources guy in Iraq that's trying to find you," Meyers joked to laughter from the crowd. "Richard Engel has not shown up to work one time!"