'Curveball' speaks, and a reputation as a disinformation agent remains intact





Rafid Ahmed Alwan hoped for an easier life when he came here from Iraq nine years ago. He also hoped for a reward for his cooperation with German intelligence officers.

"For what I've done, I should be treated like a king," he said outside a cramped, low-rent apartment he shares with his family.

Instead, the Iraqi informant code-named Curveball has flipped burgers at McDonald's and Burger King, washed dishes in a Chinese restaurant and baked pretzels in an all-night bakery. He also has faced withering international scorn for peddling discredited intelligence that helped spur an invasion of his native country.

Now, in his first public comments, the 41-year-old engineer from Baghdad complains that the CIA and other spy agencies are blaming him for their mistakes.


I'm not guilty," Alwan said, insisting that he made no false claims. "Believe me, I'm not guilty."

It was intelligence attributed to Alwan -- as Curveball -- that the White House used in making its case that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. He described what turned out to be fictional mobile germ factories. The CIA belatedly branded him a liar.

After Curveball's role in the pre-invasion intelligence fiasco was disclosed by the Los Angeles Times four years ago, the con man behind the code name remained in the shadows. His security was protected and his identity concealed by the BND, Germany's Federal Intelligence Service.

But when a reporter knocked on his door one Sunday morning this year, Alwan seemed neither alarmed nor surprised. In a series of sometimes reluctant interviews that followed, he emerged as a defiant and pugnacious defender of his intelligence contributions and reputation.

"Everything that's been written about me isn't true," Alwan repeated.

Along with confirmation of Curveball's identity, however, have come fresh disclosures raising doubts about his honesty -- much of that new detail coming from friends, associates and past employers.




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