Author: Intel agencies morphed Iraqi defector's lies into something from Walt Disney
Los Angeles Times reporter Bob Drogin, who first broke the story of "Curveball," the Iraqi defector who provided much of the false information about WMD's that was used to justify the US invasion of Iraq, appeared on CNN Wednesday to discuss his new book on the subject.
Drogin explained to CNN that Curveball was merely an Iraqi engineer who went to Germany in 1999 and started spinning stories about Saddam Hussein's fleet of mobile biological weapons laboratories. His claims couldn't be verified, but "the Bush administration believed it, even though the CIA had never talked to him." According to Drogin, Curveball was lying to the Germans and inflating his own importance because "he was trying to get asylum" and wanted "to basically jump the line."
Drogin said the real problems arose not from anything Curveball did, but with what became of his stories after they reached the US. "It was analysis that was being passed from one agency to another agency and it kept changing, it kept morphing as it went. So he told one story and by the time Colin Powell is up at the United Nations ... it was like it had gone to Walt Disney or something."
Dorgin primarily blames the intelligence agencies -- and particularly George Tenet -- for the failure to detect Curveball's lies, writing in his book that "Time and again, bureaucratic rivalries, tawdry ambitions and spineless leadership proved more important than professional integrity."
"People who tried to raise warnings, tried to raise red flags, were pushed aside, were cast out, were treated like heretics," Dorgin told CNN. "It's really sort of bizarre. It's a cult over there."
The following video is from CNN's American Morning, broadcast on October 17, 2007.