Interview with Curveball

At long last, newshounds have tracked down and interviewed Rafid Ahmed Alwan, the Iraqi refugee and German intelligence source code-named Curveball (some say to signify his unreliability). Curveball was the source of the US claim that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destructions.

John Goetz and Bob Drogin reported from Nuremberg, Germany:

Alwan's fanciful accounts to BND officers were echoed in his tall tales to friends and co-workers. In early 2002, a year before the war, he told co-workers at the Burger King that he spied for Iraqi intelligence and would report any fellow Iraqi worker who criticized Hussein's regime.

They couldn't decide if he was dangerous or crazy.

"During breaks, he told stories about what a big man he was in Baghdad," said Hamza Hamad Rashid, who remembered an odd scene with the pudgy Alwan in his too-tight Burger King uniform praising Hussein in the home of der Whopper. "But he always lied. We never believed anything he said."

Another Iraqi friend, Ghazwan Adnan, remembers laughing when he applied for a job at a local Princess Garden Chinese Restaurant and discovered Alwan washing dishes in the back while claiming to be "a big deal" in Iraq. "How could America believe such a person?"

But an unrepentant Alwan is unfazed. "Everything I said was true," he said. "And everything that's been written about me is wrong. It's all wrong. The main thing is, I'm an honest man."

Link (Photo: Der Spiegel)


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If it becomes heavily publicized? IF??? The Curveball story (albeit not a personal interview, but the exposure of him as a con-man) has been in constant discussion for years now. Hundreds of articles, op-ed pieces, blog posts, and most recent books on the Iraq War mention the story, if not make political hay out of it.

It only seems like a revelation to those of you who don't read enough, at least not at a level commensurate with your anger. If you had bothered to do some basic research, you'd understand that the cat has been out of the bag on this one for some time.

At any rate, there are a million opportunistic Rafid Alwan's ready to step forward in any situation. Directing enmity towards this pathetic character is a waste of your breathe. It is the role of intelligence agencies to vet sources, and the role of political leadership to exercise judgment in reviewing those results. Both the Bush administration and the CIA failed with respect to Curveball.

Yet the Bush administration's assertions about WMD in Iraq were not solely dependent on Curveball's testimony. This source was used to make the case for the "immanency" of a WMD threat from Iraq before the public and international community. Yet in addition, mountains of pre-war and post-war evidence attest that Saddam was determined to acquire WMDs following the lift of sanctions(see the Duelfer Report), though contra the conclusion of American leadership (including Sens. Clinton & Kerry), there were no stockpiles, no immanent threat. The role of Curveball in all of this? Seems little more than noise, the fog of war, a two-bit con-man. Without him, the case for war would have been framed differently, but the outcome, I believe, would have been the same.
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Ted: 5 looks like an S, and doesn't trip bad language filters. Not that the word ass does either.

Anyway, its about time someone tracked this sleazeball down and talked to him. Nothing he's ever said or done has been honest, and now he's partly responsible for the deaths of 4000+ Americans, and around 100,000 Iraqis. Hope he's proud. Maybe, just maybe, some news outlet will keep this story alive long enough that America will know how it came to be that their sons and daughters have died.
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