How Did U.S. Assess Iraqi Bioweapon Production?

One of the most vivid allegations made by the U.S. government regarding Iraqi weapons of mass destruction was the claim that Iraqi had developed mobile laboratories for the production of biological weapons. The allegation, based on reports from a source known as “Curveball,” proved to be false.

But the U.S. intelligence assessment of the supposed mobile BW labs, though erroneous, raised questions that still remain unanswered, wrote (pdf) bioweapons expert Milton Leitenberg of the University of Maryland.

According to a cryptic reference spotted by Leitenberg in the Silberman-Robb WMD Commission report, U.S. contractors performed a “replication” of the Iraqi design and found that “it works.”

The exact nature of this “replication” and whether it led to the production of actual BW agents are among several lingering questions he posed.

See “Unresolved Questions Regarding US Government Attribution of a Mobile Biological Production Capacity by Iraq” by Milton Leitenberg, June 2006.

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