"Curveball" is an Iraqi informant who claimed to know all about Saddam's mobile bioweapon laboratories, which Colin Powell used to try to convince the world to attack Iraq. It turns out that not only is "Curvegball" a mentally ill liar who made the whole thing up just so he cold get a German visa, but the Bush administration knew Curveball was a liar all along and presented his testimony as the gospel truth anyway. The Los Angeles Times has a 7000 word article about it.
An investigation by The Times based on interviews since May with about 30 current and former intelligence officials in the U.S., Germany, England, Iraq and the United Nations, as well as other experts, shows that U.S. bungling in the Curveball case was worse than official reports have disclosed.
The White House, for example, ignored evidence gathered by United Nations weapons inspectors shortly before the war that disproved Curveball's account. Bush and his aides issued increasingly dire warnings about Iraq's biological weapons before the war even though intelligence from Curveball had not changed in two years.
At the Central Intelligence Agency, officials embraced Curveball's account even though they could not confirm it or interview him until a year after the invasion. They ignored multiple warnings about his reliability before the war, punished in-house critics who provided proof that he had lied and refused to admit error until May 2004, 14 months after the invasion.
After the CIA vouched for Curveball's accounts, Bush declared in his 2003 State of the Union speech that Iraq had "mobile biological weapons labs" designed to produce "germ warfare agents." Bush cited the mobile germ factories in at least four prewar speeches and statements, and other world leaders repeated the charge.
Powell also highlighted Curveball's "eyewitness" account when he warned the United Nations Security Council on the eve of war that Iraq's mobile labs could brew enough weapons-grade microbes "in a single month to kill thousands upon thousands of people."
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."
In a telephone interview, Powell said that George J. Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, and his top deputies personally assured him before his U.N. speech that U.S. intelligence on the mobile labs was "solid." Since then, Powell said, the case "has totally blown up in our faces."