On Tuesday the Iraqi defector known as Curveball admitted he'd made up his claims about secret biological weapons in Iraq.
In response, Colin Powell has demanded to know why he was fed false information by the CIA and the DIA. Today George Tenet, who was director of the CIA at the time, claims he discovered "too damn late" that Curveball wasn't trustworthy, and that he only found out the truth in 2005.
Balderdash, says former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer:
Asked by the Guardian whether Tenet's claims were plausible, Fischer said: "No. I don't think so."
Fischer said the BND [the German secret service] realised some time before the war that Curveball was not a watertight source, and passed on his testimony to the CIA with warnings attached.
"Our position was always: [Curveball] might be right, but he might not be right. He could be a liar but he could be telling the truth," said Fischer at a press conference in Berlin to promote his memoir about the Iraq war....
At the time Germany was under a great deal of pressure to support the US push for war with Iraq, as well as to repair strained relations with the US.
Fischer said Germany was put in a "very difficult position" when the CIA asked whether they could "have" Curveball, or at least use his evidence to justify a war in Iraq. Germany's official position was that it would not join the coalition of the willing. Fischer himself famously told Donald Rumsfeld in February 2003 that he was "not convinced" about the case for war...
"On the one hand we didn't want to withhold from the US any bit of relevant information we had about possible WMD in Iraq. On the other hand, we did not want to take part in any propagandistic exploitation of material, which was far from proven, to justify a war....
"We decided, therefore, that we would do our duty by sending the Americans all the information we had, together with our assessment that that information came from a deserter and that we had not verified or substantiated it ourselves, and that it could be completely wrong."...
He said the then head of the BND, August Henning, wrote a letter to the CIA outlining the possible problems with Curveball.
Fischer also pointed out that it wouldn't be usual practice in intelligence circles to rely on the evidence of a single source. Three independent sources corroborating the same information would be standard practice.
Unless of course you really really need to justify a massive military buildup in the Persian Gulf and UN inspectors are saying Saddam has no weapons of mass destruction. Then apparently one single debunked source is entirely satisfactory.
Where are the investigations? The truth is slowing oozing out, one drop at a time. Refusing to look backward is not going to stop the truth from coming out. It will only stop justice from being done over it.