Feb. 15, 2011 -- The Iraqi defector codenamed Curveball, who falsely claimed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, admitted to the lies today and said he is proud he was able to trick the U.S. and its allies into launching the Iraq War.
"They gave me this chance. I had the chance to fabricate something to topple the regime," Rafid al-Janabi told the British newspaper The Guardian in a report published today. "I and my sons are proud of that and we are proud that we were the reason to give Iraq the margin of democracy."
Al-Janabi had defected from Iraq to Germany in 1999 and told the German intelligence service, the BND, that Iraq possessed a mobile biological weapons program. That information was passed on to U.S. intelligence services and became the cornerstone of then-Secretary of State Colin Powell's infamous 2003 speech before the United Nations in which he made the case for going to war.
CLICK HERE to watch Colin Powell's address to the U.N. on Feb. 5, 2003.
Al-Janabi said he made up the bio-weapons program in hopes the U.S. would push Saddam out of power, according to The Guardian.
"I had a problem with the Saddam regime," he said. "I wanted to get rid of him and now I had this chance... Believe me, there was no other way to bring about freedom in Iraq. There were no other possibilities."
Al-Janabi said he was caught in his lie as early as mid-2000 when the BND met with al-Janabi's former boss at the Military Industries Commission in Iraq, the Guardian reported. Al-Janabi said he did not deny he had been caught in the lie.
"He says, 'There are no trucks,' and I say, 'OK, when [al-Janabi's former boss] says there [are] no trucks then [there are none]," he told the newspaper.
But still, his information was trusted.
The former chief of European operations at the CIA, Tyler Drumheller, said in 2007 he tried repeatedly to warn his superiors that Curveball's information was dubious -- even by specifically attempting to redact all mentions of Curveball's information in Powell's 2003 speech.
"We said, 'This is from Curveball. Don't use this,'" Drumheller said.
A month after the speech, then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld told ABC News, "We know where [the WMDs] are."
Rumsfeld writes in his new book "Known and Unknown" that he meant to say that U.S. intelligence agencies knew where "suspect sites" were, not that anyone knew definitively where the actual weapons were.
"My goodness, the intelligence was certainly wrong," he told ABC News' Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview earlier this month.
Defector Said He Had to Lie: 'Can You Give Me Another Solution?'
Powell said in 2007 that he never knew anyone had any doubts about Curveball's information and was "angry and disappointed" the Agency did not inform him.
"I spent four days at CIA headquarters," he told ABC News. "They told me they had this nailed."
In 2008, the deputy director of National Intelligence, Thomas Fingar, said the U.S. assessment of whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction was the "single worst product" he had seen in his 38 years in intelligence.
Despite the thousands of U.S., allied and Iraqi soldiers and civilians that have perished in the conflict, al-Janabi told The Guardian he did the right thing.
"I tell you something when I hear anybody -- not just in Iraq but in any war -- [is] killed, I am very sad. But give me another solution. Can you give me another solution?" he said.
Drumheller had a different take on al-Janabi's admitted deceit in 2007.
"People died because of this... All off this one little guy who all he wanted to do was stay in Germany."