The book lays out the defining story of the pre-intelligence failure in Iraq. It focuses on CURVE BALL, the American-issued code name for a young Iraqi chemical engineer who defected to Germany in 1999. During dozens of debriefings with German intelligence officers, he claimed that he had helped design and build sophisticated biological weapons for Saddam Hussein." The story was a hoax, yet the CIA used this evidence as its pretext for war despite numerous warnings about the validity of the claims. Only after its invasion of Iraq did the US formally acknowledge that CURVE BALL was a fraud.