Monday, March 29, 2004

The Iraqi "Curveball"

A LA Times investigation has revealed that:

The Bush administration's prewar claims that Saddam Hussein had built a fleet of trucks and railroad cars to produce anthrax and other deadly germs were based chiefly on information from a now-discredited Iraqi defector code-named "Curveball," according to current and former intelligence officials.

U.S. officials never had direct access to the defector and didn't even know his real name until after the war. Instead, his story was provided by German agents, and his file was so thick with details that American officials thought it confirmed long-standing suspicions that the Iraqis had developed mobile germ factories to evade arms inspections.
In actuality, "Curveball," the brother of a top aide to Ahmed Chalabi, spewed lies which led the CIA and UN on a wild goose chase for a "phantom weapons system," which, crucially, could not be proven to not exist. That sounds awkward and Orwellian now, but it was the insane logic deployed by the Bush administration during the run-up to war.

Proving that Iraq didn't have weapons was a virtual impossibility since the administration contended that the "lack of evidence" was proof in itself that Hussein was hiding something and being deceptive.