US misused our intel to justify Iraq War, says German ex-spy chief
August 29, 2011 6 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The former Director of Germany’s foreign intelligence service has accused the Bush administration of consciously falsifying intelligence supplied by Germany in order to justify going to war in Iraq. August Hanning, who served as Director of Germany’s Bundesnachrichtendienst (known as BND) from 1998 to 2005, said that the BND had no part in the deception, and that “the responsibility for the war lies solely with the Americans”. In an interview to the Sunday edition of German national newspaper Die Welt, Hanning explained that the administration of US President George W. Bush was especially interested in intelligence collected by the BND from an Iraqi defector codenamed ‘Curveball’. The defector, whose real name is Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, arrived in Germany in 1999 and applied for political asylum, saying he had been employed as a senior scientist in Iraq’s biological weapons program. Among other things, he told his BND debriefing team that Saddam Hussein had built a fleet of biological weapons labs on wheels, in order to avoid detection from America and other countries. After consulting with biological weapons experts, the BND expressed serious doubts about Curveball’s reliability, but kept him in Germany nonetheless. Several years later, al-Janabi confirmed the BND’s suspicions, by admitting that he had invented his allegations in order to help bring down the regime of Saddam Hussein. He also admitted that he was in reality a taxi driver from Baghdad, who had used his undergraduate knowledge of engineering to get asylum in Germany. At the time, said Hanning, the BND strongly and repeatedly communicated to the CIA its doubts about Curveball’s claims, something which is known. What is not known, however, is that Hanning personally wrote to then CIA Director George Tenet and urged him to adopt a skeptical approach to the defector’s allegations. The former BND chief told Die Welt that he was “assured by the Americans that our intelligence would not be used in Powell’s speech”. He was referring to the February 5, 2003, speech by then US Secretary of State Colin Powell at the United Nations Security Council meeting, in which he urged the Council to approve Washington’s call to war against Iraq. Hanning told the paper he was amazed when he heard Powell refer to Iraq’s “mobile biological weapons laboratories” in his speech, citing intelligence from Germany. He said that he immediately issued a formal complaint to CIA Director George Tenet. He failed to explain, however, why the BND did not go public with the complaint, nor why Curveball was allowed to remain in Germany, and even offered a monthly stipend, provided by the German taxpayer, even after he admitted concocting his story about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. Die Welt contacted the CIA for a response to Hanning’s accusatios, but the Agency refused comment.