CIA informer Curveball admits he lied to help Bush start Iraq war

weapons of mass destruction

Curveball's confession validated suspicions that the Bush administration cooked intelligence to justify the Iraq war. Image: CC PaulMorseMinsweeper@Wikimedia Commons

“Curveball,” the CIA informant who helped the Bush administration rationalize starting the Iraq War, has admitted he was lying. In the run-up to the war, Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, an Iraqi defector code-named Curveball by the CIA, said Iraq had secret biological weapons laboratories. Curveball now says he lied about weapons of mass destruction so the U.S. would invade Iraq and get rid of Saddam Hussein.

Cuveball’s lies repeated by Bush and Powell

Claims by Curveball that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction have long been discredited. Curveball has insisted for years that he told the truth. But on Feb. 16 he told The Guardian newspaper he made it all up. After escaping Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and fleeing to Germany, al-Janabi began telling German intelligence agents that Iraq had hidden mobile bioweapons laboratories throughout the country. Curveball’s claims were presented as the truth in a speech by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell to the United Nations and George W. Bush’s 2003 State of the Union address. The U.S. invaded Iraq in March 2003, and Bush was eventually forced to admit that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction.

CIA doubted Curveball from the beginning

From the moment al-Janabi showed up, German intelligence agents doubted him. Tyler Drumheller, former head of the CIA in Europe, suspected that al-Janabi’s false testimony about Iraqi bioweapons had to do with his asylum application. Drumheller never believed his inconsistent story and warned CIA Chief George Tenet that Curveball was unreliable. After al-Janabi fessed up, Drumheller told The Guardian that if Curveball lied to oust Saddam Hussein, then he is “one of the world’s greatest strategic planners.” Drumheller also said members of the Bush administration used Curveball’s story to justify the war to the public because it was the only evidence they had, regardless of the truth.

Curveball faces backlash for coming clean

The man called Curveball said he was proud of helping the Bush administration start the Iraq war, which has killed nearly 4,500 U.S. military personnel and more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians. But  in his adopted home of Germany, a German politician said al-Janabi violated a warmongering law that makes actions that lead to war a criminal offense. Germans also want to know why German intelligence paid al-Janabi $4,000 a month for five years after it was known he lied. In Iraq, politicians scorned his stated desire to return and called for his permanent exile.


The Guardian

New York Times

Los Angeles Times

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