Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, codenamed “Curveball” by German and American intelligence officials, now admits he made up tales of mobile biological weapons trucks and clandestine weapons factories in Iraq, information that was used by the Bush White House to press the case for war. He also says he’d do it again.
“Maybe I was right, maybe I was not right,” Janabi told The Guardian. “They gave me this chance. I had the chance to fabricate something to topple the regime. I and my sons are proud of that and we are proud that we were the reason to give Iraq the margin of democracy.”
In a series of meetings with the Guardian in Germany where he has been granted asylum, he said he had told a German official, who he identified as Dr Paul, about mobile bioweapons trucks throughout 2000. He said the BND had identified him as a Baghdad-trained chemical engineer and approached him shortly after 13 March of that year, looking for inside information about Saddam’s Iraq.
“I had a problem with the Saddam regime,” he said. “I wanted to get rid of him and now I had this chance.”
In his crucial speech to the U.N. in the run-up to the war in 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell quoted intelligence information supplied by Janabi as justification for the Bush administration’s case against Iraq. Years later, reports would show that many within the CIA were expressing serious doubts about Curveball’s credibility at the time.
Janabi, who fled Iraq in 1995, said he did what he did for the Iraqi people, and that he was satisfied with the fact that Hussein is no longer in power.
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Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com