View Full Version : U.S. Network Names Iraqi Who Pushed U.S. Case For War

11-01-2007, 08:35 PM
US network names Iraqi who pushed US case for war


Published: Thursday November 1, 2007

US television network CBS said Thursday it had identified a man known to intelligence agents as "curve ball," whose fake story of biological weapons drove the US argument for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The network's 60 Minutes program identified the man as an Iraqi defector named Rafid Ahmed Alwan who arrived at a German refugee center in 1999.

The program said that after a two-year investigation it had found that Alwan had lied about being a chemical engineer in charge of a facility making mobile biological weapons in order to bolster his case for asylum in Germany.

60 Minutes had learned that Alwan did study chemical engineering but that he was far from a star pupil who later went on to work at a Baghdad television production company where he was accused of theft, it added.

Alwan eventually ended up in the hands of German intelligence and was able to provide credible descriptions of the Djerf al-Nadaf plant because he had actually worked there, albeit not as head of a biological weapons program.

According to 60 Minutes, Alwan embellished his account by saying 12 workers had been killed by biological agents in an accident at the plant.

Summaries of his debriefings were sent to the CIA and then became a pillar for the US decision to invade Iraq, according to 60 Minutes, which said the information was passed to then secretary of state Colin Powell to use at the United Nations in a major speech justifying military action against Iraq.

The program said it had also obtained a copy of a letter from the head of German intelligence to former CIA chief George Tenet saying that Alwan appeared to be believable but that there was no evidence to verify his accounts.

A spokesman for the former director told 60 Minutes that Tenet had never seen the letter.

The program quotes CIA officials including former Central Group Chief Margaret Henoch as saying she doubted Alwan's authenticity all along.

Alwan's story unraveled when CIA interrogators confronted him with evidence that his story was false after weapons inspectors had examined the Djerf al-Nadaf plant and found no evidence of biological agents, 60 Minutes said.

Alwan is now believed to be living freely in Germany, probably under an assumed name, the program said.

"It was a guy trying to get his green card (residency permit) essentially, in Germany, and playing the system for what it was worth," the program quotes former CIA senior official Tyler Drumheller as saying.

The 60 Minutes program is due to be broadcast on Sunday.