Wait–the Iraq WMD Stuff Was a Lie??

The Guardian published a piece yesterday (2/15/11) based on an interview with “Curveball,” the Iraqi exile whose fraudulent claims about Iraq’s WMDs helped the Bush administration sell the Iraq War. “I had the chance to fabricate something to topple the regime,” he explained.

The piece is pretty revealing–as Curveball watched Colin Powell’s UN address in February 2003,theGuardian reports that “he had not met a U.S. official, let alone been interviewed by one.”

One “flight of fantasy” Curveball deliveredwas the claim that Iraq was manufacturing mobile bio-weapons labs. These did not exist. But if you were watching U.S. television news during the war, you got to see them discovered by at least two networks:


On April 26, ABC‘s World News Tonight led with a major scoop. Anchor Claire Shipman announced at the top of the broadcast, “U.S. troops discover chemical agents, missiles, and what could be a mobile laboratory in Iraq. An ABC News exclusive.” But ABC‘s “exclusive,” as it turns out, appears to be false.

And on NBC (5/11/03):

May 11, 2003

â┚¬”NBC anchor John Seigenthaler introduces a story about trailers found in Iraq that some U.S. officials say are mobile biological warfare labs: “There is new evidence tonight that Saddam Hussein’s regime was capable of building weapons of mass destruction.” Reporter Jim Avila concludes the report by declaring that the findings present “a set of circumstances military sources contend is very close to that elusive smoking gun.”

May 12, 2003
â┚¬”In a follow-up report, NBC Nightly News correspondent Jim Avila declares that two trailers found by the U.S. military in northern Iraq “may be the most significant WMD findings of the war.” Former U.N. nuclear inspector David Kay performs an impromptu inspectionâ┚¬”armed with a pointer, he rattles off the trailer’s parts: “This is a compressor. You want to keep the fermentation process under pressure so it goes faster. This vessel is the fermenter….” Avila expresses little doubt about the discovery: “A mobile lab capable of manufacturing anthrax or botulism from the back of a truck, with equipment manufactured as late as 2003.”

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.