March 18, 2008 -- The failure of U.S. intelligence in assessing Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was like "a yearbook photo on your worst hair day ever," according to one of the country's top spy bosses, Thomas Fingar, deputy director of National Intelligence.
Fingar made the comment in defending the overall quality of U.S. intelligence during an appearance at the Council of Foreign Relations in New York, five years to the week after the 2003 start of the Iraq war.
At another point, Fingar called the U.S. assessment of whether Iraq had nuclear weapons "the single worst product" he had seen in his 38 years serving in various U.S. intelligence agencies.
Fingar, who was at the State Department in 2003, says he has since instituted a number of new procedures to prevent a repeat of the intelligence failure that led to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, costing more than 3,900 American lives and tens of thousands of Iraqi lives.
Fingar said the CIA and other intelligence gatherers are required to better "scrub" information from their sources, and that intelligence analysis better reflects dissenting views.
CIA estimates on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction relied heavily on an Iraqi informant code-named "Curveball," who was later found to have fabricated his claims.
A former CIA official, Tyler Drumheller, told ABC News he was ignored when he tried to warn his superiors that "Curveball," controlled by the German secret service, was an unreliable informant.