The German intelligence officials responsible for one of the most important informants on Saddam Hussein's suspected weapons of mass destruction say that the Bush administration and the CIA repeatedly exaggerated his claims during the run-up to the war in Iraq.
The senior BND officer who supervised Curveball's case said he was aghast when he watched Powell misstate Curveball's claims as a justification for war.
"We were shocked," the official said. "Mein Gott! We had always told them it was not proven…. It was not hard intelligence."
The Man Without Qualities suggests a motivation:
So why now? Why would the German government authorize its intelligence officers to speak up now - in a manner that can scarcely be expected to help relations between Berlin and Washington?
Could it have something to do with the fact that the person these "five senior officers" currently work for, departing Social Democratic Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, despises George Bush and is just about to leave office and the German government entirely? Could it have something to do with the fact that incoming Chancellor Angela Merkel, the leader of the conservative Christian Democratic Party, is known to be quite a bit more sympathetic to Mr. Bush than is Herr Schröder?