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CIA chief orders review of intel gaffe

CIA Director Porter Goss has ordered an internal review to determine why doubts about an informant code-named Curveball, a key source of prewar intelligence on Iraq, were not shared with policymakers, an official said on Friday.
/ Source: Reuters

CIA Director Porter Goss has ordered an internal review to determine why doubts about an informant code-named Curveball, a key source of prewar intelligence on Iraq, were not shared with policymakers, an official said on Friday.

Information from Curveball, an Iraqi chemical engineer who provided intelligence on biological weapons, bolstered U.S. claims that prewar Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and helped the Bush administration make its case for the 2003 invasion.

A presidential commission assigned to investigate U.S. intelligence on weapons of mass destruction reported last week that Curveball’s information was bogus and that internal CIA doubts about its veracity were never shared with White House policymakers.

Preventing a repeat
CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Millerwise said Goss, a former congressman who became director of central intelligence last year, learned about the controversy from the report and has asked senior officials to find out what went wrong.

“The director has asked the agency to look at what happened so we can insure nothing like this happens again,” Millerwise said. The review is expected to focus on the agency’s directorate of operations, which oversees clandestine activities.

After the commission’s report emerged, former CIA Director George Tenet and his former deputy, John McLaughlin, issued lengthy statements saying they were not aware of doubts about the informant’s veracity before the war.

But the former chief of the CIA’s European division told the Los Angeles Times in an interview last week that “everyone in the chain of command knew exactly what was happening” with Curveball.