Bob Simon, a veteran foreign correspondent and 60 Minutes investigative reporter, died in a car crash last night (Feb. 11) after his livery cab crashed on Manhattan’s West Side Highway.
Taking stock of a career that spanned five decades, Simon told an interviewer for the Archive of American Television in 2013 that his most important reports were about the flawed intelligence that led up to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. His favorite one involved an Iraqi defector code-named “Curveball,” who, as Simon said in his 60 Minutes broadcast, ”spun a web of lies which convinced America’s top spies” and made the case for waging war in Iraq:
Here is Simon discussing his career highlights in the interview with the Archive of American Television (fast-forward to the 29:02 mark).
Another story about the Iraq war, broadcast before the invasion, was also high on his list of favorites. He explained, “Look, I knew from my sources, particularly Israeli sources, ’cause whatever you say about the Israelis, they’ve got great intelligence, they told me, they said there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.”
So, Simon said, he and his producer did a blistering segment on CBS called “Selling the Iraq War to the US.” The broadcast is no longer available from CBS (and does not seem to exist on Youtube), but you can read a summary here.
“That piece got a lot of attention,” Simon told the interviewer, “but of course Bush didn’t give a shit and invaded Iraq, as they had decided to do.”