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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Sunday, November 20, 2005

Dodging a curveball

Los Angeles Times, November 20:

"The German intelligence officials responsible for one of the most important informants on Saddam Hussein's suspected weapons of mass destruction say that the Bush administration and the CIA repeatedly exaggerated his claims during the run-up to the war in Iraq.

"Five senior officials from Germany's Federal Intelligence Service, or BND, said in interviews with The Times that they warned U.S. intelligence authorities that the source, an Iraqi defector code-named Curveball, never claimed to produce germ weapons and never saw anyone else do so.

"According to the Germans, President Bush mischaracterized Curveball's information when he warned before the war that Iraq had at least seven mobile factories brewing biological poisons. Then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell also misstated Curveball's accounts in his prewar presentation to the United Nations on Feb. 5, 2003, the Germans said.

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

The Bush administration and Blair and Howard governments didn't lie about intelligence before the Iraq war?

Read the whole article.


Blogger Pete's Blog said...

Leaders in the US, UK and more recently Australia love to legitimise their speeches and prejudiced policy pronouncements with "intelligence sources [or services] confirm".

Even if the actual source is an unreliable loser.

Monday, November 21, 2005 11:45:00 am  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

And the media usually runs with it, unquestioned.

Monday, November 21, 2005 12:01:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

This is a familiar tactic. By citing inetlligence sources from another country, it implies the intelligence has been vetted. It also makes it easier to hide it, citing classification.

Take the Niger uranium story for example. The US sited an alternative source from the UK, and Blair refuses to show what that source is. Thus the Bushies have an escape hatch by pointing the finger at the UK.

It's the intelligence equivalent of the echo chamber.

Monday, November 21, 2005 4:07:00 pm  

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