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On Wednesday, November 28, 2007 The LBJ School hosted Los Angeles Times reporter Bob Drogin, author of Curveball: Spies, Lies, and the Con Man Who Caused a War, in a featured Brown Bag Speaker Series event. The event was presented as a conversation with LBJ School Dean, James Steinberg. The event concluded with a question and answer session and book-signing, where LBJ School students and visitors met with the author.
Los Angeles Times National Security Correspondent and award-winning investigative journalist Bob Drogin has won or shared multiple journalism awards, among them the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the George Polk Award, and the Pulitzer Prize. He has appeared on Nightline, CNN, BBC, PBS Newshour with Jim Lehrer, and NPR. He has worked for the Times since 1983.
Curveball tells the inside story of an Iraqi taxi driver whose false claims of Saddam Hussein’s weapons developments became an integral part of the United States’ case for war.
In 1999, a young Iraqi chemical engineer arrived in Munich, seeking political asylum. Sharing compelling testimony of Hussein’s secret program to build weapons of mass destruction, the man claimed that the dictator had constructed germ factories on trucks, creating a deadly hell on wheels. His grateful German hosts passed along his account to the CIA but denied the Americans access to their superstar informant, a man who would become known solely by the infamous code name “Curveball.”
The case lay dormant until after 9/11, when the Bush administration turned their attention to Iraq. Curveball quickly became a key part in the White House rationale for invading Iraq. Unable to verify Curveball’s information, the CIA conjured a weapons system that didn’t exist, ignored a flood of warnings, and stayed silent as the White House embarked on war.
Several of the events and conversations presented in Curveball have never been reported on until now. Some of these revelations include:
A real-life investigative thriller, Curveball is an inside story of intrigue and incompetence at the highest levels of government. Recreating the path to war via one man’s lies from Munich to Langley to Baghdad, Drogin finally provides answers to the questions that have plagued the U.S. since its invasion of Iraq.