US 'ignored German warnings' over intelligence

22nd November 2005, Comments 0 comments

22 November 2005, WASHINGTON - German officials have accused the Bush administration of exaggerating intelligence provided by Berlin on Iraq's biological and chemical weapons in making the case for invading the country.

22 November 2005

WASHINGTON - German officials have accused the Bush administration of exaggerating intelligence provided by Berlin on Iraq's biological and chemical weapons in making the case for invading the country.

The officials also told the Los Angeles Times that Berlin warned the Americans that the evidence provided by the informant identified as "Curveball" was not substantive.

"This was not substantial evidence," a senior German intelligence official said. "We made clear we could not verify the things he said."

The German intelligence headquarters in Berlin could not be reached Monday for comment. The L.A. Times said it had interviewed five German intelligence agents, but did not name them.

A U.S. commission appointed by President George W. Bush to probe the intelligence failures leading up to the war said earlier this year that Curveball was the chief source of information used by the United States and that the CIA had failed to verify it.

The information was used repeatedly by Bush to get support for the war, and Curveball's information about alleged mobile labs featured prominently in then-secretary of state Colin Powell's February 5, 2003 presentation to the U.N. Security Council.

"We were shocked," the German official said. "We had always told them it was not proven."

In an interview for the Los Angeles Times story published Sunday and picked up the Washington Post on Monday, Powell said he was given assurances by then CIA director George Tenet that the information was "solid". Since, Powell said, the case has "totally blown up in our faces".

As public support for the war in Iraq falls in the U.S., debate has become more heated among U.S. legislators and public officials over allegations that the Bush administration manipulated the pre-war intelligence.

On Monday, Vice President Dick Cheney repeated his past charges that it was "dishonest and reprehensible" to suggest that Bush "purposely misled the American people on pre-war intelligence".

"Available intelligence indicated that the dictator of Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and this judgment was shared by the intelligence agencies of many other nations," Cheney said.

After the invasion in March 2003, the U.S. military found no evidence that ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had an unconventional weapons programme - which had been the major argument used by the White House to justify the invasion.

DPA

Subject: German news

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