The identity of the man who claimed former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had biological weapons, a key piece of information that helped lead the U.S. charge to invade Iraq, has been outed by CBS' "60 Minutes" news show.
Rafid Ahmed Alwan, known as "Curve Ball" in intelligence circles, is not a chemical engineering expert, according to the report, which instead characterized Alwan as a liar, a thief and poor student.
The CIA received hundreds of summaries of debriefings with Alwan, contributing to other intelligence reports that led the United States to bomb and invade Iraq. Former CIA Director George Tenet gave Alwan's allegations to Secretary of State Colin Powell for his report to the United Nations in the argument to take military action against Iraq, the news magazine reports.
The two-year investigation undertaken found that Alwan arrived in a refugee camp in Germany in 1999 and claimed to be a chemical engineer leading a facility at Djerf al Nadaf that was making mobile biological weapons. The news magazine reports that Alwan was looking for asylum and used his claims to bolster his case.
Alwan did study chemical engineering but he received poor grades. The investigation also found an arrest warrant for theft for Alwan.
Alwan led officials to believe Saddam possessed biological weapons, telling German intelligence officials about his insight with mostly accurate descriptions of a plant outside Baghdad. He told officials 12 workers were killed by biological agents at the plant.
A letter addressed to Tenet from the head of German intelligence states that Alwan's information appeared to be believable, but there was nothing to back up his allegations.
Tenet denies seeing the letter, a spokesman told "60 Minutes."
But CIA weapons inspectors visited the plant at Djerf al Nadaf before the invasion, finding no evidence of biological agents, CBS states in its report, adding that Alwan is likely in Germany today, living freely under an assumed name.