Friday, November 02, 2007
60 Minutes has identified the man whose fabricated story of Iraqi biological weapons drove the U.S. argument for invading Iraq. It has also obtained video of "Curve Ball," as he was known in intelligence circles, and discovered he was not only a liar, but also a thief and a poor student instead of the chemical engineering whiz he claimed to be. [...]
Curve Ball is an Iraqi defector named Rafid Ahmed Alwan, who arrived at a German refugee center in 1999. To bolster his asylum case and increase his importance, he told officials he was a star chemical engineer who had been in charge of a facility at Djerf al Nadaf that was making mobile biological weapons.
60 Minutes has learned that Alwan’s university records indicate he did study chemical engineering but earned nearly all low marks, mostly 50s. Simon’s investigation also uncovered an arrest warrant for theft from the Babel television production company in Baghdad where he once worked. [...]
Tenet gave the information [from Alwan] to Powell despite a letter - a copy of which 60 Minutes obtained - addressed to him by the head of German intelligence stating that Alwan appeared to be believable, but there was no evidence to verify his story.
Through a spokesman, Tenet denies ever seeing the letter. "[Tenet] needs to talk to his special assistants if he didn’t see it," says Tyler Drumheller, a former CIA senior official. "I am sure they showed it to him and I am sure ... it wasn’t what they wanted to see," he tells Simon.
Other CIA officials doubted Curve Ball’s authenticity, including former Central Group Chief Margaret Henoch, who speaks publicly for the first time, telling Simon she openly refuted Alwan’s story. "And it was like 'Whack a Mole.' He just popped right back up. It was unbelievable."
Heckuva job George(s).(hat tip to Laura Rozen)