Chalabi: Curveball Not Our Fabricator

On Sunday, CBS’ 60 Minutes revealed the identity of Curveball, the Iraqi defector who falsely claimed first to German and then U.S. military intelligence that Iraq was producing mobile biological weapons labs. Rafid Ahmed Alwan, aka Curve Ball, made bogus claims — later repeated by Colin Powell — to the Germans from whom he was seeking asylum, which he has reportedly since received. In response to the CBS report, the Iraqi National Congress sent this statement today:

The release of the name of Iraqi defector known as Curveball by CBS News 60 Minutes is the final evidence that there is no link between this person and the Iraqi National Congress. The INC can state categorically that there has never been any person at any level of the INC who is related to anyone named Rafid Ahmed Alwan.

It’s worth noting that the Robb Silberman commission determined that one of the confirming sources for Curveball’s fabrications about mobile bio weapons labs was shepherded to the Defense Intelligence Agency by none other than the INC. As the commission reported:

Another source, associated with the Iraqi National Congress (INC) (hereinafter “the INC source”), was brought to the attention of DIA by Washington-based representatives of the INC. Like Curveball, his reporting was handled by Defense HUMINT. He provided one report that Iraq had decided in 1996 to establish mobile laboratories for BW agents to evade inspectors. Shortly after Defense HUMINT’s initial debriefing of the INC source in February 2002, however, a foreign liaison service and the CIA’s Directorate of Operations (DO) judged him to be a fabricator and recommended that Defense HUMINT issue a notice to that effect, which Defense HUMINT did in May 2002. Senior policymakers were informed that the INC source and his reporting were unreliable.

Furthermore, the Robb Silbermann commission determined that the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq

relied on reporting from two INC sources, both of whom were later deemed to be fabricators. One source…provided fabricated reporting on the existence of mobile [biological weapons] facilities in Iraq. The other source, whose information was provided in a text box in the NIE and sourced to a “defector,” reported on the possible construction of a new nuclear facility in Iraq. The CIA concluded that this source was being “directed” by the INC to provide information to the U.S. Intelligence Community.

(As summarized by David Corn here).

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has also compiled a report of the INC role in influencing pre-war intelligence deceptions and mistakes.