LA Times Chases The Curveball
Top story today is a whopping 13-page article from the Los Angeles Times:
Curveball was the chief source of inaccurate prewar U.S. accusations that Baghdad had biological weapons, a commission appointed by Bush reported this year. The commission did not interview Curveball, who still insists his story was true, or the German officials who handled his case.Here's Josh Marshall's analysis:
The German account emerges as the White House is lashing out at domestic critics, particularly Senate Democrats, over allegations the administration manipulated intelligence to go to war. Last week, Vice President Dick Cheney called such claims reprehensible and pernicious.
In Congress, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is resuming its long-stalled investigation of the administration's use of prewar intelligence. Committee members said last week that the Curveball case would be a key part of their review. House Democrats are calling for a similar inquiry.
An investigation by The Times based on interviews since May with about 30 current and former intelligence officials in the U.S., Germany, England, Iraq and the United Nations, as well as other experts, shows that U.S. bungling in the Curveball case was worse than official reports have disclosed.
So the Silbermann-Robb Commission hasn't spoken to Curveball or the German intelligence officials who handled his case and provided the conduit of information to US intelligence agencies. Almost certainly, the Senate intel committee investigation hasn't either...This article blows holes in Bush's two main arguments in defence of the war:
But the Times article suggests that many people in the stream of information passing back and forth between German and US intelligence and the White House were not spoken to either. And those people provided information which puts the whole matter in a rather more sinister light -- not just botched intelligence work and analysis but deliberate distortions of what evidence we had before the war and refusals to come clean about highly relevant contradictory information.
This speaks again to a point we and many others have made repeatedly: the highly circumscribed nature of these two investigations. The very structure and scope of these inquiries were designed to leave much of the story untold -- quite apart from the numerous intentionally misleading passages we've noted in the Senate intel report from last year.
1. Others had access to the same information we did.
2. We have already had enquiries which determined no wrong-doing.
Book 'em, Danno...