Much of the case for the Iraq War was based on the Bush administration’s claim that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. When the United States declared an end to the war late in 2011, more than 4,400 American military members had been killed and nearly 32,000 wounded. No weapons of mass destruction had been found.
It’s one of the most significant and catastrophic intelligence errors in U.S. history. A bipartisan commission found that U.S. intelligence “seriously misjudged” Iraq’s weapons program because of their “heavy reliance on a human source–codenamed ‘Curveball’–whose information later proved to be unreliable.” The commission wrote, “Even more misleading was the river of intelligence that flowed from the CIA to top policymakers over long periods of time–in the President’s Daily Brief (PDB)” and other reports that were “more alarmist” and “less nuanced.”