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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.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Well I Wouldn't Expect CIA to Learn Information (9+ / 0-)

    that was in published news reports of the time, till long after.

    The German response was in circulation before we invaded as I recall.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 04:50:19 PM PST

  •  may the avalanche (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stef, Th0rn

    begin, and the swarm envelop the perps. and we will make amends, somehow, for being rolled in 2000.

    The Addington perpwalk is the trailhead for accountability in this wound on our national psyche. [...you know: Dick Cheney's "top" lawyer.] --Sachem

    by greenbird on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 04:50:35 PM PST

  •  The is really old news (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stef, phrogge prince

    There's been at least one book about this.
    In 2011 the man admitted he made up the whole story.
    Don't hold your breath waiting for an investigation into Bush's starting a war on a complete lie, there won't be one.

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 05:09:26 PM PST

    •  Curveball or not, intelligence good or (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lepanto, Spoc42, sunbro, stef, Magnifico, Mathazar

      bad, it made no difference:  Bush/Cheney were going to go to war in Iraq.  Period.

    •  Hmmm... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      stef

      Old news that Tenet and the CIA were explicitly told Curveball wasn't to be trusted? From the foreign minister in a position to know? I don't think so.

      •  Have it your way (0+ / 0-)
        In response to public criticism, U.S. president Bush initiated an investigative commission who released their report on March 31, 2005. Bush's investigative commission came to many conclusions including:

        Curveball's German intelligence handlers saw him as "crazy ... out of control", his friends called him a "congenital liar", and a US physician working for the Defense Department who travelled to Germany to take blood samples seeking to discover if Anthrax spores were present was stunned to find the defector had shown up for medical tests with a "blistering hangover",[19] and he "might be an alcoholic".[20]
        .......The Bush administration ignored evidence from the UN weapons inspectors that Curveball's claims were false. Curveball had identified a particular Iraqi facility as a docking station for mobile labs. Satellite photography had showed a wall made such access impossible, but it was theorised that this wall was temporary. "When United Nations Monitoring Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) inspectors visited the site on February 9, 2003, they found that the wall was a permanent structure and could find nothing to corroborate Curveball's statements."[23] Instead, the inspectors found the warehouse to be used for seed processing.[24]

        This is what wiki had to say about it. So its been known that the CIA got info from the Germans about Curveball's unreliability for way more than 6 years. I would say thats really old news, Did they tell Tenet? I don't doubt it in the least and neither does the rest of the the large portion of the world that has known about it for years (I read the book Curveball 5 years ago) Its not exactly earth shaking news.
        If you think this is really important news, go with it, stay on it. But don't expect any investigation about this, if its not old news, its certainly ancient history

        Happy just to be alive

        by exlrrp on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 06:01:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Known knowns (0+ / 0-)

          Powell is just trying to deflect the attention away from him and other officials in the Bush administration and onto the nameless, faceless CIA and DIA. I think you're right that no investigation will result from this, not from the current Congress or White House.

        •  According to Tenet, CIA never had access to Curve (0+ / 0-)

          ...and only the DIA had access to CUrveball or the German intelligence, BND. In his autobiography, At The Center Of The Storm, Tenet claimed CIA was never closer to Curveball than 2 degrees and that Rumsfeld's DIA fed CIA everything they had from Curveball which was ever confirmed by the BND.

          Tenet basically made the stunning assertion that the Pentagon's DIA made the case for war.

          More unbelievable is that WH, State, CIA, and DoD didn't know the drunkard Curveball was a not a reliable source is because Germany refused to join the Coalition becasue there was no case for war. 1. How could the WH make a case for war based on German intelligence the Germans didn;t believe. 2. How could Merkel not have mentioned this to Bush as she was resisting the push to join the coalition?

          Nothing new. This was all reported in the Silverman-Robb Commission in March 2005 as well as Tenet's book.

      •  The Germans were saying it years (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Th0rn

        From a 2005 story from the LA Times about Curveball and the U.S.

        Curveball's German handlers for the last six years said his information was often vague, mostly secondhand and impossible to confirm.

        "This was not substantial evidence," said a senior German intelligence official. "We made clear we could not verify the things he said."

        ...

        The senior BND officer who supervised Curveball's case said he was aghast when he watched Powell misstate Curveball's claims as a justification for war.

        "We were shocked," the official said. "Mein Gott! We had always told them it was not proven.... It was not hard intelligence."

        ....

        David Kay, who read the Curveball file when he headed the CIA's search for hidden weapons in 2003, said Curveball's accounts were maddeningly murky.

        "He was not in charge of trucks or production," Kay said. "He had nothing to do with actual production of biological agent. He never saw them actually produce [an] agent."

        But the CIA and the White House overlooked the holes in the story.

        The Curveball story fit the war goals of the Bush administration too perfectly. Any questions of his story's credibility was not important in the goal of getting the war started. Rumsfeld and Cheney created the Office of Special Planning at the Pentagon to fix the intel to sell the war. It's not that they didn't know, it's that they had other goals. The Bush administration, including Powell, lied.

        •  I think that what's important (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Magnifico

          about this development is that names are being named and responsibility is being narrowed. This is no longer anonymous "German officials". This is the foreign minister himself saying the CIA had been told at the time that Curveball wasn't a trustworthy source - told directly by the head of German intelligence, and in writing. And they went and used what he was saying anyway.

        •  Right, Rummy & Cheney used Tenet and Powell (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Magnifico

          ...and they all knew it at the time.

  •  The Downing Street Memo: (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lepanto, stef, Magnifico, Th0rn
    "...the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

    -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

    by sunbro on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 05:40:46 PM PST

  •  But we believe the Bush/Cheney rationale for the (0+ / 0-)

    Afghan war.  Go figure.

    S.A.W. 2011 STOP ALL WARS "The Global War on Terror is a fabrication to justify imperialism."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 06:20:31 PM PST

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