Colin Powell wants answers over fake Iraq intelligence
February 17, 2011 6 Comments
By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Regular readers of this blog will not be surprised by recent news that the Iraqi defector whose information helped build the Bush Administration’s case for invading Iraq in 2003, has admitted he lied about Saddam Hussein’s alleged weapons of mass destruction. Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, known in intelligence circles as ‘Curveball’, arrived in Germany in 1999, where he applied for asylum, saying he had been employed as a senior scientist in Iraq’s biological weapons program. Serious doubts about al-Janabi’s reliability were expressed at the time by Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service, the BND, and by some in the CIA. Yet his testimony became a major source of US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s February 2003 speech before the United Nations Security Council, in which he layed out Washington’s case for war. A year later, both the BND and the CIA concluded that al-Janabi had been lying about his alleged biological weapons role, and that he was in reality a taxi driver from Baghdad, who had used his undergraduate knowledge of engineering to fool Western intelligence. Now al-Janabi, who still lives in Germany, has spoken to British newspaper The Guardian, and openly admitted that his story was completely fabricated. He told the paper that he was an “opposition activist” and that he lied to his German and American intelligence handlers in order to help “topple” the regime of Saddam Hussein. The newspaper also contacted Colin Powell with news of al-Janabi’s admission, prompting the former US Secretary of State to publicly call on the CIA and the US Department of Defense “to explain why they failed to alert him to the unreliability of a key source behind the claims”. George Tenet, who in 2003 was the Director of the CIA, has also responded to al-Janabi’s admission through a statement, in which he describes the intelligence handling of ‘Curveball’ as “a textbook case of how not to deal with defector-provided material”. But he describes as “misinformation” all attempts to put the blame on the CIA for the erroneous intelligence about Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction.