Subsequent U.S. investigations into the intelligence failure around the claims found that German intelligence considered the defector “crazy” and “out of control,” while friends said he was a “liar.”
And, it turned out, the CIA not only never spoke with him, it never even saw transcripts of the German interviews, only the Germans’ analysis of the interviews.
I remember very vividly following the debate on the war and watching then-Secretary of State Colin Powell address the UN Security Council, to whom he showed some grainy aerial photos of some trucks. I concluded that if that was all they had to offer, there was no way that such a war could be justified. “Bad intelligence” barely begins to describe the flimsy foundations for the case that was presented for war. That the public debate was lost, and a foolish, optional, and terribly destructive war launched, tells us a lot about how well prepared the forces for peace must be the next time around.