US misused our intel to justify Iraq War, says German ex-spy chief

August Hanning

August Hanning

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”. Read more of this post

Advertisements

News you may have missed #477 (Germany edition)

  • German ex-foreign minister in spat with ex-CIA director. Former CIA Director, George Tenet, claims that he discovered “too damn late” that Curveball –the Iraqi defector who became a key source for the CIA and the German secret service (BND)– was a fabricator. But Germany’s former foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, has told journalists that the BND did in fact share its doubts about Curveball with the CIA.
  • German spy chief claims Mubarak to stay in Egypt [unconfirmed]. According to German newspaper Die Welt, Ernst Uhrlau, director of Germany’s BND federal intelligence agency, says he has “no evidence that former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak wants to leave the country, and that his comment that he intends to stay and be buried in Egypt “is credible”.
  • Austrian on trial in Germany on charges of spying for Russia. An Austrian soldier is on trial in Germany, accused of spying for Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) and passing on sensitive information about European helicopter prototypes. Prosecutors at the Munich court allege that the unnamed 54-year-old Austrian army mechanic spied from 1997 to 2002.

Israel offers settlement freeze in exchange for US spy’s release

Jonathan Pollard

Jonathan Pollard

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Israeli government officials are considering extending a settlement freeze in Israeli-occupied territories in exchange for the release of an American citizen serving a life sentence for spying on the US for Israel. Laura Rozen over at Politico reports that a representative of the embassy of Israel in Washington DC has denied knowledge of the rumored deal. But according to Israel Army Radio, an envoy of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already “unofficially” passed the proposal along to US government officials. If accepted by the White House, the deal would involve the freezing of all new construction of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, in exchange for the release of Jonathan Jay Pollard, a US Navy intelligence analyst who in 1987 was sentenced to life imprisonment for spying on the US on behalf of Israel. Pollard, who has since been awarded honorary Israeli citizenship, and is considered a hero in Israel, has so far served 25 years in prison. Read more of this post

Silence over sudden death of Jordan’s ex-spy chief in Vienna

Imperial Hotel, Vienna

Imperial Hotel

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
There is widespread silence in Jordan about the sudden death of the country’s former intelligence chief, at his luxury Vienna hotel room, on Wednesday. The country’s tightly controlled press barely mentioned the news of the death of Field Marshal Said Bashir Saad Kheir, 56, whose body was reportedly discovered in bed by a maid in Vienna’s Imperial Hotel. Austrian police representatives have ruled out foul play in Kheir’s death, which they attributed to heart failure. But there is conflicting information about the purpose of the former spy chief’s visit to the Austrian capital, which is considered the world’s largest espionage hub, with the highest density of foreign intelligence agents on Earth. Read more of this post

Lawsuit exposes rumored CIA-NRO turf war

NRO logo

NRO logo

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
After the CIA’s ongoing turf wars with the FBI and the office of the Director of National Intelligence (DCI), a new federal lawsuit appears to substantiate rumors of another turf war, this time between the CIA and the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). Eric Feldman was recently removed from his position as inspector general of the super-secretive NRO, the agency that builds and operates the US government’s spy satellites, after he was found to have filed for the same travel expenses on two separate reimbursement accounts. But he now claims that his removal was part of a conspiracy by “senior officials in the CIA” to get rid of him. In his lawsuit, Feldman names former CIA inspector general John Helgerson and CIA agent Anthony Cipparone, who Feldman says “had a personal vendetta against him [because he] had passed him over for his deputy assistant position”. The former NRO inspector general claims Cipparone and Helgerson, along with other CIA officials, managed to terminate his position by illegally leaking information from the internal investigation into his reimbursement filings, in an attempt “to hurt his reputation”. Read more of this post

Judge accuses CIA of fraud in 15-year court case

Judge Lamberth

Judge Lamberth

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A 15-year old lawsuit against the CIA unexpectedly resurfaced yesterday, after a US federal judge accused the CIA attorneys of fraud and warned the former and current CIA leadership of serious legal sanctions. US District Judge Royce Lamberth said the CIA misled him on several occasions by falsely claiming that the “state secrets” clause applied to the case, which three consecutive US administrations have tried to bury. The case was filed in 1994 by retired Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officer Richard A. Horn, who claimed that CIA agents illegally wiretapped his conversations while he was stationed in Burma. It appears that, at the time, the US diplomatic representation in Burma and the CIA station in Rangoon were at loggerheads with the DEA. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0021

  • US Vice President refuses comment on CIA-DNI dispute. Speaking to ABC’s This Week, Biden refused to take sides on the ongoing turf battle between CIA director Leon Panetta and Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, over who should have a say in appointing CIA station chiefs around the world. Biden simply said he preferred to “comment on that next week”.
  • Lebanese officer suspected of spying flees to Israel. A Lebanese army colonel, who was about to join the nearly 40 individuals who have been arrested in southern Lebanon in connection to an alleged Israeli spy ring, managed to escape to Israel last week, sources say. 
  • Did former CIA director George Tenet get drunk at the palatial house of Prince Bandar, former Saudi ambassador to the US? Tenet is apparently disputing it, but he is not disputing that he spent the night there. 
  • Analysis: The history of CIA-ISI relations. In this well-researched article, Mark Mazzetti argues that US-Pakistani intelligence interactions show there is no such thing as a friendly intelligence service.

Bookmark and Share