Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, the defector who had convinced the George W. Bush administration that Iraq had a secret biological weapons program, admitted to British news daily the Guardian that he fabricated his tales.
Janabi, codenamed Curveball by American intelligence officials working with him, concoted details about mobile bioweapons trucks and secret factories in order to bring down the Saddam Hussein regime from which he fled in 1995.
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Those claims were then used by former US secretary of state Colin Powell on Feb 5 2003, in a speech to the United Nation, to describe the real threat coming out of Baghdad.
Janabi explained that the BND, the German secret service, approached him March, 2000, after learning that he was a Baghdad-trained chemical engineer. According to Janabi, the BND was eager to extract information from him, providing him with a Perry's Chemical Engineering Handbook in order to aid his communication.
"Any engineers who studied in this field can explain or answer any questions they asked," he said, describing the BND as gullible.
"I had a problem with the Saddam regime. I wanted to get rid of him, and now I got the chance," Janabi related.
Later in 2000, BND officials reportedly met with Janabi's prior boss, Dr. Bassil Latif, in a Gulf city, speculated to be Dubai, where Latif told the secret service that Janabis stories were fabrications. When confronted again by the BND, Janabi said that if his former boss claims there were no trucks, then there were no trucks.
However, though Janabi's claims were proven false by Latif before Powell's made his speech at the UN, the BND continued to contact Janabi in 2002, when he became aware that a justification for war was being created. These meetings continued on through 2002 up until a month before the UN speech.
Afterward, Janabi had called his contact at the BND and accused the
German secret service of breaking agreements not to share Janabi's
testimonies with any other country. Instead, he was told to remain
silent and placed in confinement for 90 days.
Janabi holds few regrets on what he did, admitting that he is
comfortable despite the 100,000-person civilian death toll and thousands
of soldiers killed.
"Believe me," Janabi said, "there was no other way to bring about freedom to Iraq. There were no other possibilities."
Janabi's statement follows the recent release of former defense
secretary Donanld Rumsfeld's memoirs in which he admits that Iraq did
not have a WMD program.