Curveball - Spies, Lies, and the Con Man Who Caused a War
- United States
More informationCurveball answers the crucial question of the Iraq war: How and why was America's intelligence so catastrophically wrong? In this dramatic and explosive book, award-winning Los Angeles Times reporter Bob Drogin delivers a narrative that takes us to Europe, the Middle East, and deep inside the CIA to find the truth-the truth about the lies and self-deception that led us into a military and political nightmare.
In 1999, a mysterious Iraqi applies for political asylum in Munich. The young chemical engineer offers compelling testimony of Saddam Hussein's secret program to build weapons of mass destruction. He claims that the dictator has constructed germ factories on trucks, creating a deadly hell on wheels. His grateful German hosts pass his account to their CIA counterparts but deny the Americans access to their superstar informant. The Americans nevertheless give the defector his unforgettable code name: Curveball.
The case lies dormant until after 9/11, when the Bush administration turns its attention to Iraq. Determined to invade, Bush's people seize on Curveball's story about mobile germ labs-even though it has begun to unravel. Ignoring a flood of warnings about the informant's credibility, the CIA allows President Bush to cite Curveball's unconfirmed claims in a State of the Union speech. Finally, Secretary of State Colin Powell highlights the Iraqi's "eyewitness" account during his historic address to the U.N. Security Council. Yet the entire case is based on a fraud. America's vast intelligence apparatus conjured up demons that did not exist. And the proof was clear before the war.
Most of the events and conversations presented here have not been reported before. The portrayals-from an obdurate president to a bamboozled secretary of state to a bungling CIA director to case handlers conned by their snitch-are vivid and exciting. Curveball reads like an investigative spy thriller. Fast-paced and engrossing, it is an inside story of intrigue and incompetence at the highest levels of government. At a time wh