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Curveball: 'I Am Not To Blame' for U.S. War in Iraq

Report: Defector says he never claimed Iraq possessed WMDs.

ByABC News
March 24, 2008, 9:44 AM

March 24, 2008— -- The Iraqi defector known as "Curveball," whose fabricated stories about mobile biological weapons labs helped lead the U.S. to war in Iraq five years ago, says he is not to blame for the war and that he never said Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, according to a new report released this weekend in the German magazine Der Spiegel.

Curveball is still living in Germany under a new name and protection and money offered by German intelligence services.

"In all, Curveball is said to have been paid hundreds of thousands of euros. And the BND [German foreign intelligence agency] may now have to cough up once again. The intelligence service is considering giving Curveball yet another new identity, as well as one for his second wife from Morocco and for his son, who was born in Erlangen," write Der Spiegel investigative reporters Erich Follath, John Goetz, Marcel Rosenbach and Holger Stark.

Curveball's false tales became the centerpiece of then-Secretary of State Colin Powell's speech before the United Nations in February 2003, even though he was considered an "unstable, immature and unreliable" source by some senior officials in the CIA. The CIA has since issued an official "burn notice" formally retracting more than 100 intelligence reports based on his information.

Curveball told Der Spiegel that while he didn't tell German intelligence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, he did provide important information in exchange for which he thinks he should be "living like a king." And he said if he is offered more money, he'll tell his story all over again.

Curveball arrived in Germany in 1999 seeking asylum, and as Der Spiegel reports, quickly began talking to the German secret service about his experience working at the "Military Industrialization Commission," which was responsible for developing new weapons. By the beginning of 2003, shortly before Powell would give his now infamous speech at the U.N., the BND had passed on about 100 classified reports detailing the information they'd received from Curveball to Washington, D.C. That information later become the cornerstone of Powell's speech.