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Warnings on WMD 'Fabricator' Were Ignored, Ex-CIA Aide Says

"They said: 'This is it, Mr. Secretary. You can't doubt this one,' " Wilkerson said.

On the eve of the U.N. speech, Drumheller received a late-night phone call from Tenet, who said he was checking final details of the speech. Drumheller said he brought up the mobile labs.

"I said: 'Hey, boss, you're not going to use that stuff in the speech . . . ? There are real problems with that,' " Drumheller said, recalling the conversation.

Drumheller recalled that Tenet seemed distracted and tired and told him not to worry.

The following day, Tenet was seated directly behind Powell at the U.N. Security Council as the secretary of state presented a detailed lecture and slide show about an Iraqi mobile biological weapons program.

Tenet, responding to questions about Drumheller's accounts, provided to The Post a statement he had given in response to the Silberman-Robb Commission report in which he said he didn't learn of the problems with Curveball until much later. He did not recall talking to Drumheller about Curveball, and said it was "simply wrong" for anyone to imply that he knew about the problems with Curveball's credibility.

"Nobody came forward to say there is a serious problem with Curveball or that we have been told by the foreign representative of the service handling him that there are worries that he is a 'fabricator,' " Tenet said in his statement.

In late summer 2003, seven months after the U.N. speech, Tenet called Powell to say that the Curveball story had fallen apart, Wilkerson said. The call amounted to an admission that all of the CIA's claims Powell used in his speech about Iraqi weapons were wrong.

"They had hung on for a long time, but finally Tenet called Powell to say, 'We don't have that one, either,' " Wilkerson recalled. "The mobile labs were the last thing to go."

Staff researcher Alice Crites contributed to this report.


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