There’s something about Curveball.
It’s not too surprising that an Administration that treated a document entitled Bin Laden Determined to Strike In US like it was a four month-old copy of People magazine, would derive their war intelligence from a source with a codename of “Curveball“:
A bitter feud erupted Friday over claims by a presidential commission that top CIA officials apparently ignored warnings in late 2002 and early 2003 that an informant code-named “Curveball” â€” the chief source of prewar U.S. intelligence about Iraqi germ weapons â€” was unreliable.
Former CIA Director George J. Tenet and his chief deputy, John E. McLaughlin, furiously denied that they had been told not to trust Curveball, an Iraqi refugee in Germany who ultimately was proved a fraud.
But the CIA’s former operations chief and one of his top lieutenants insisted in interviews that debates had raged inside the CIA about Curveball’s credibility, even as then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell vouched for the defector’s claims in a crucial address to the United Nations Security Council on the eve of war.
“The fact is there was yelling and screaming about this guy,” said James L. Pavitt, deputy director of operations and head of the clandestine service until he retired last summer.
“My people were saying: ‘We think he’s a stinker,’ ” Pavitt said. But CIA bio-weapons analysts, he said, “were saying: ‘We still think he’s worthwhile.’ ” Pavitt said he didn’t convey his own doubts to Tenet because he didn’t know until after the March 2003 invasion of Iraq that Curveball was “of such import” in prewar CIA assessments provided to the president, Congress and the public.
“Later, I remember the guffaws by myself and others when we said, ‘How could they have put this much emphasis on this guy? … He wasn’t worth [anything] in our minds,” Pavitt said.
It’s just that “Curveball” seemed so much more trustworthy then the other Iraqi informants codenamed: “Forked Tongue”, “Fibber Ali”, “Fabulous Fabulist”, “Ahmad Chalabi”, “Prevaricator”, and “Lying Motherfucker”.