When Daniel Fahey visited eastern Democratic Republic of Congo as coordinator of the U.N.’s Group of Experts, he found a charismatic charlatan known as “Mr. X” under the protection of the U.N. A star witness in a murder trial, Mr. X had convinced the U.N. of his tall tales. Fahey shows how Mr. X’s story sheds light on the emerging role of intelligence in peacekeeping operations and the unpredictable effects of its failures.
BENI, Democratic Republic of Congo—It was, by all accounts, a spectacle. Most murder trials take place in the stuffy confines of a courthouse, but this one was outside on a platform in the center of a sprawling town called Beni, in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Heavily armed soldiers surrounded the stage, upon which sat several military judges and the accused. Each day, hundreds of people gathered to watch the proceedings, which were broadcast from loudspeakers. Periodically the crowd would shout or applaud, adding to the theatrical atmosphere.
The victim in this case—Congolese army Colonel Mamadou Ndala—was a national hero. In November 2013, Ndala had led the beleaguered Congolese army to its greatest victory in years, against a powerful and widely despised rebel group called M23, which was backed by the Rwandan government. In the wake of that triumph, people chanted Ndala’s name when he appeared in public and wore T-shirts emblazoned with his image. A month after the victory, the army command reassigned Ndala to Beni to launch a military operation against an enigmatic, Islamist rebel group called the Allied Democratic Forces, or ADF.
On the morning of Jan. 2, 2014, as Ndala was traveling north from Beni, assailants lying in ambush fired rocket-propelled grenades and shot AK-47s at his jeep, instantly killing him. Government spokesmen first blamed bandits and then faulted corrupt army officers. But many people believed the government in Kinshasa had ordered Ndala’s assassination, because he had become too popular. When the trial began, the government shifted its story once again, claiming ADF rebels had killed Ndala in collaboration with a rogue army officer named Colonel Birotcho Nzanzu. The prosecution’s case was weak, but drama and politics drove this trial, not the pursuit of justice.
On a hot day in November 2014, one month into the murder trial, the prosecution summoned a surprise anonymous witness, whom they called “Mr. X.” Up walked a man, covered head to toe, to take the stand. He wore a flowing white djellaba, had a scarf wrapped around his head, and sported sunglasses. He took a seat and told the court his story.
Mr. X said until recently he had been a senior ADF commander and had inside knowledge of the plot to assassinate Ndala. He said ADF had paid an accomplice in the Congolese army more than $25,000 for the details of Ndala’s itinerary, which enabled ADF to plan the ambush. When asked to identify the abettor, he pointed to Nzanzu. Nzanzu protested and said he did not know the anonymous witness, but three days later, the court convicted the colonel of complicity in Ndala’s murder and sentenced him to death. He is currently in detention in the Congolese capital, Kinshasa.
Few people knew it at the time, but the mysterious Mr. X was under the protection of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in the DRC, known as MONUSCO. He had shown up at a MONUSCO base two months before the trial began and grabbed everyone’s attention by claiming that Taliban-trained terrorists were on their way from Afghanistan to the DRC to join ADF in attacks on MONUSCO bases and staff. Mr. X also brought up the assassination of Ndala, telling a convoluted story at odds with known facts, but MONUSCO’s analysts were less concerned about Ndala’s assassination than the incoming terrorists. In exchange for sharing this information, Mr. X wanted the U.N. to relocate him far from Congo.
In the following weeks, Mr. X kept talking to awestruck MONUSCO intelligence analysts. He described himself as a dashing special agent: negotiating arms deals with Europeans, leading commando raids in Uganda, and even driving a motorcycle loaded with land mines from Somalia to Congo. He said ADF was working with half a dozen terrorist groups including al-Qaida, al-Shabab, Hezbollah, and Boko Haram. When asked who was making ADF’s crude bombs, he first said Moroccan and Malian men, but later changed his story and claimed it was three white people, including a German woman.
To be sure, Mr. X was a creative storyteller, but even more fascinating than his tales of derring-do was the fact that MONUSCO’s analysts believed him. These analysts made Mr. X the prism through which they understood ADF and violence in the Beni area, and as a result the mission’s response to a series of brutal massacres around the time of the murder trial was passive and ineffective. Their misplaced faith in Mr. X also led them to make the naïve and ill-advised decision to provide Mr. X to the Congolese government for the Ndala murder trial. The strange story of Mr. X sheds light on the emerging role of intelligence in U.N. peacekeeping operations, but it is also a warning about the unpredictable effects of intelligence failures.
The ADF are one of the least understood rebel groups in eastern Congo. In early 1995, a few dozen Ugandan militants fled across the border to the DRC (then called Zaire) after losing a power struggle within Uganda’s Muslim community. Mobutu Sese Seko—the kleptocratic dictator of Zaire and long-standing bon ami of the U.S. government—quickly saw utility in helping this group become an army that could be a pawn in his regional chess game.
In late 1996, shortly after the Rwandan and Ugandan governments started the war that would finally topple Mobutu, ADF launched its first attack against a Ugandan border post. For the next five years, ADF and the Ugandan army regularly fought in the forests and mountains along the DRC-Uganda border. ADF always managed to survive and regroup, but was a local menace, never seriously threatening the stability of the Ugandan government.
ADF’s leader was a charismatic Ugandan imam named Jamil Mukulu. In the early 2000s, Mukulu transformed ADF from a rebel group seeking to take over Uganda into a movement attempting to create a utopian society based on Mukulu’s own interpretation of Islam. Under his guidance, ADF established a network of camps in the forests northeast of Beni, which were regularly supplied by agents living in nearby towns and cities. Within these camps, ADF had its own banking system, medical clinics, schools, and police force. Mukulu was chief judge of a court system that imposed punishments like stoning for adultery and having one’s mouth sewn shut for speaking during prayer. Mukulu kept telling his population that ADF’s ultimate objective was to take over Uganda, but he made no clear effort to do so and likely gave up that goal in order to preserve his forest fiefdom.
Around 2010, for reasons that remain unclear, ADF’s leaders became highly secretive and insular. In contrast to other rebel groups in the DRC, which promoted themselves on Twitter and Facebook, ADF stayed away from social media. To discourage people from escaping and providing information about the group’s activities, ADF beheaded or crucified people caught trying to flee. The Ugandan government occasionally stated that ADF was working with al-Qaida and al-Shabab, but with reliable information about ADF almost nonexistent, these claims appeared to have had more to do with Uganda’s interest in being part of the U.S.-led “war on terror” than with any actual links to terrorist groups. All anyone really knew was that around 2,000 men, women, and children were living in several fortified forest camps under Mukulu’s version of Sharia.
In mid-January 2014, the Congolese army launched the operation against ADF that Ndala had been planning when he was assassinated. As government soldiers pushed into the forest toward ADF’s camps, the fighting was intense and often at close range. Rebels shouted “Allahu Akhbar!” (“God is great!”) as they defended their terrain, and the advancing Congolese soldiers yelled back “We will make you eat pork!” and “We will rape your women!”
Hundreds died on both sides, but by late April, government troops had seized all of ADF’s bases. The rebel group’s leaders led around 1,000 survivors deeper into the forest, but once outside the tight control of the camps, people started to escape. Some were wounded, and some were starving to death, but all of them had stories to tell.
During 2014, I worked for the U.N. Security Council as the coordinator of the Group of Experts on DRC. The Group consisted of six expatriates—three Africans, two Europeans, and one American (me)—plus three Congolese staff, who investigated armed groups and human rights violations in eastern Congo. We tried to figure out how rebel groups financed their activities, where they got their guns and bullets, and what they were doing to civilian populations. We worked separately from MONUSCO, and often went down so-called “red roads” into dangerous areas to visit places where attacks had taken place, talk to witnesses, and, when we could, interview the rebels themselves.
In April 2014, government soldiers captured ADF’s headquarters, a camp called Madina, and we were eager to visit. When we arrived, we found dozens of mud and stick huts set on a ridgeline, beneath sprawling trees. As we walked around, I stuffed my backpack with papers and notebooks that were lying about. I collected proclamations from ADF’s leaders, medical record books, and religious texts. On some huts, we found drawings of flowers and phrases written in English like “Show me love” and “I (heart) you.” In a clearing that was used for Islamic instruction and prayer, we discovered a class schedule for ADF’s primary school that contained a quote, in English: “No man is rich enough to buy time past, use time present to plan time future.” I later figured out this was a variation of a phrase penned by the Irish poet Oscar Wilde.
Back in Beni, my colleagues and I interviewed dozens of people who had been with ADF. Most had been rebel soldiers, but we also talked to their wives and children as well as to people who had been held as slaves. The first thing we often did during an interview was show old photos of senior ADF commanders, including Mukulu. We would ask people to identify the leaders and then pose basic questions about life in the ADF camps.
We were practicing what intelligence analysts call asset validation. That is, by showing photos and asking fundamental questions, we were making sure these people were credible and had actually been with ADF. This process helped us weed out several people who lied about having been kidnapped by ADF, probably because they thought they were going to get some assistance from the U.N. Many of the ex-combatants also lied to us, most likely to conceal their own involvement in crimes, but with sustained contact over the course of several weeks, we earned the trust of a few key ex-rebels, and gained fresh insights into ADF.
We learned that Mukulu had disappeared in April with about 30 senior commanders and most of his family. The ex-rebels told us the names of the other commanders who were still in the forest, including the identities of the two men making ADF’s crude bombs. From the documents we analyzed, we discovered that people in London, England, had been sending money via Western Union to ADF agents in eastern Congo. What we did not find—from any of our interviews, documents, or visits to ADF camps—was evidence that ADF was working with any foreign terrorist organizations.
In August 2014, Mr. X appeared at a MONUSCO base 36 miles from Beni, carrying little besides stories about ADF and its terrorist links. MONUSCO analysts understandably got excited—talk of imminent attacks on MONUSCO by Taliban-trained jihadists could not be ignored—but their infatuation with Mr. X prevented them from seeing him for what he was: a charlatan. Thus began an intelligence failure that continues to reverberate two years later, limiting MONUSCO’s abilities to understand and address violence in the Beni area.
Intelligence is the end product of a process to collect, analyze, and disseminate information. Analysts organize and evaluate information collected from communications, documents, imagery, interviews, social media, and other sources in order to provide accurate insight and timely advice to decision makers, but sometimes analysts make mistakes. Intelligence derived from interviews called human intelligence, or HUMINT, is particularly challenging. Interrogators may have difficulty distinguishing true from false statements or use coercive techniques that produce faulty information. The person being interviewed may have an unreliable memory or intentionally provide misleading information. In addition, analysts reviewing HUMINT may misinterpret statements or make errors in judgment. A common problem is confirmation bias, in which analysts believe narratives that confirm pre-existing assumptions.
A famous example of an intelligence failure caused by HUMINT is the “Curveball” case. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, when the Bush administration started to build a case for invading Iraq, a key element in the administration’s argument was the claim by a man known as “Curveball,” an Iraqi defector seeking refugee status in Germany, that Iraq had mobile laboratories for making biological weapons. Some American and German analysts warned that Curveball was a fabricator, but others embraced him because his narrative fit pre-conceived notions about Iraq’s weapons. A U.S. government inquiry later determined that poor asset validation, confirmation bias by intelligence analysts, and inadequate leadership and management of those analysts enabled Curveball’s claims to influence U.S. policy and the rationale for war. The Curveball story was all the more remarkable because it highlighted shortcomings within the Central Intelligence Agency and Defense Intelligence Agency, two long-established and professional parts of the large, well-funded U.S. intelligence apparatus.
The United Nations does not have a dedicated intelligence agency, but its need for reliable analyses of political and military developments increased during the early 1990s, when the Security Council expanded the number and scope of its peacekeeping operations. In the early post-Cold War era, the Security Council charted an ambitious and aggressive course, but U.N. missions faced challenges in understanding dynamics in conflict areas in Africa and the Balkans. Many countries were reluctant to share their own intelligence with the U.N., and international resistance to creating U.N. “spies” made substantial organizational improvements unachievable. Extreme violence in places like Rwanda and Bosnia and Herzegovina showcased the U.N.’s intelligence shortcomings, but also led to reforms.
In 1994, the U.N. Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR) lacked its own unified intelligence capacity and received little information from the United States, France, and other governments about the unfolding genocide. In his book Shake Hands with the Devil, Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire, the former UNAMIR force commander, bemoaned “our lack of intelligence and basic operational information,” which led to a situation where the U.N. “always seemed to be behind the eight ball, reacting to, rather than anticipating, what was going to happen.”
The U.N.’s failures in Rwanda and elsewhere led to the realization, as expressed by Canadian scholar Walter Dorn, that “more resources must be devoted to strengthening the U.N.’s information/intelligence capacity if it is to engage in proactive peacekeeping and conflict resolution to prevent future wars, genocides, and other crimes against humanity.”
Yet change came slowly. After several years of planning, in 2006 the U.N.’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) formally established Joint Mission Analysis Cells, or JMACs, to provide intelligence to mission and DPKO leaders. As a new entity, the JMACs faced several challenges, including acquiring competent staff. In a 2008 article in International Peacekeeping, security academic Philip Shetler-Jones noted that JMAC personnel “may lack the skills and security of tenure required to gain the confidence of sources, and/or the experience to develop into top quality analysts.” He also identified lack of training among JMAC analysts as a problem that “limits the quality of JMAC’s output.”
MONUSCO was one of the first peacekeeping operations to have a JMAC, but the unit exemplified the problem of poorly trained staff. I saw this firsthand in 2013, when I debunked a JMAC report after a quick Google search. The report had claimed that the Rwandan government was the only possible source of a type of grenade found among rebel stockpiles, even though the Congolese army tends to be the biggest supplier of arms to rebels. I found several photos of Congolese soldiers with the same grenades online, and later that day saw Congolese soldiers carrying the grenades only a few hundred meters from the JMAC office.
The Rwandan government had often accused JMAC’s analysts of bias, and although I had discounted such accusations out of institutional loyalty, I had trouble understanding how JMAC had made such a controversial but easy-to-disprove claim about the grenades. While most of the analysts had no training in the ethics or methods of properly gathering and analyzing information, they still seemed quite confident in their work.
In addition to JMAC, MONUSCO had a military intelligence unit called the G2. The G2 typically consists of a few staff officers from North American and European countries who are trained intelligence operatives, as well as a mélange of officers from various countries with little or no intelligence training. In 2013, a military officer in the G2’s office confided in me that most of the officers assigned to the G2 had no experience in intelligence, no French or local language skills, and generally no prior knowledge of the DRC.
The individual shortcomings of MONUSCO’s intelligence analysts are compounded by organizational dynamics. The regular rotation of U.N. staff limits institutional knowledge and memory, and results in assemblages of analysts who often have only a superficial understanding of the conflict in the DRC. Indeed, Columbia University Professor Severine Autesserre, among others, has called attention to the ways in which the “lack of local knowledge and deficient data collection techniques” among analysts in MONUSCO (and other peacekeeping missions) leads to poor strategic and operational decision-making.
In 2014, the G2 and JMAC also faced another limitation with respect to understanding ADF: lack of a presence in Beni. In February 2014, an unknown assailant killed a Congolese man named Hamza Katsambya, who was working for MONUSCO in Beni. I had worked closely with Hamza in 2013, and found him to be an intelligent and skilled analyst, although the U.N. was paying him to be a translator.
Immediately after Hamza’s death, MONUSCO’s leadership pulled nearly all of their Congolese staff out of Beni, including the people who had extensive contacts within the Muslim community and knew the most about ADF. With few staff in Beni and security restrictions on movement outside MONUSCO’s base, the U.N. reports about ADF became little more than one-dimensional repetitions of claims made by Congolese army officers.
FANTASTIC MR. X
When Mr. X appeared at MONUSCO’s doorstep in August 2014, he was a deus ex machina for MONUSCO analysts and leaders desperate for information about ADF. Mr. X easily convinced analysts who wanted to believe his stories, however fantastic and implausible, because they knew little about ADF and were excited by the terrorist talk.
I first heard about Mr. X a few days after he showed up at a MONUSCO base in the town of Butembo, when an enthusiastic analyst from the G2’s office alerted me about “something big.” He said that a lieutenant colonel from ADF had surrendered, but this was the first sign something was amiss: ADF did not use ranks like lieutenant colonel—you were either a commander or a soldier. In the weeks that followed, I heard more about Mr. X’s stories, and incredible as they sounded to me, the fact that MONUSCO’s analysts believed them pushed me to interview him myself.
I visited Mr. X on Sept. 2, 2014, at a MONUSCO camp a few miles outside the city of Goma. After getting special permission to talk to him from MONUSCO’s chief of military intelligence, I was led to a door guarded by two Indian peacekeepers armed with rifles and wearing light blue helmets and flak jackets. I entered an apartment and greeted Mr. X, who was healthy and alert, around 40 years old, and eager to talk.
He started out by telling me that as head of recruitment for ADF, he had personally recruited more than 800 Ugandan men, all of whom had served in the Ugandan army, but that he did not recruit women or children, who were too difficult to transport to ADF’s forest camps. This contradicted the testimonies of the Ugandan ADF veterans I had interviewed—none of whom had prior military experience—but also failed to account for the women and children who told me they were recruited or forced to join ADF. I knew what Mr. X was telling me was untrue, but decided not to confront him, which, in retrospect, was probably a mistake.
When I showed him photos of seven ADF leaders—including Mukulu—and he could not identify anyone, I did not call him a fake. When he told me that no one knew what Mukulu really looked like because he constantly wore plastic masks to conceal his identity, I did not show him the Interpol wanted poster with Mukulu’s picture or play the videos of Mukulu on YouTube. When I asked him who made ADF’s explosives, and he said one man from Morocco and one from Mali, I did not tell him that half a dozen ex-combatants had told me the names of two Ugandan men who were the bombmakers. When he told me that he had recently negotiated an arms deal with a Bulgarian named Victor in a fancy hotel in Kampala, Uganda, I may have rolled my eyes, but I did not press him further.
I am pretty sure I did roll my eyes when he responded to my question about ADF’s links to foreign terrorist groups. “Al-Shabab, Boko Haram, and the Taliban,” he said. As I wrote down his response, he blurted out, “It is true what I am telling you!”
I asked about Mukulu’s whereabouts, so I could hear this story for myself. He told me that in early 2014, Mukulu had traveled to Pakistan to pick up 35 Ugandan ADF commanders, who had trained for three years in Iran, Sudan, and Afghanistan and were experts in attacking “NATO forces.” Mr. X went on to say that Mukulu was bringing these men back to Congo in September 2014, and would use them to attack MONUSCO. There was not then, and is not now, any evidence to suggest this story was remotely true; in fact, Mukulu was arrested in March 2015 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where he had been living with his family since mid-2014.
I asked Mr. X about his future plans, and he said he wanted the U.N. to relocate him and his family to a safe country. He told me the Congolese and Ugandan governments and ADF all wanted to kill him, so he wanted to leave the region.
After about an hour, I had heard enough. I thought again about challenging him, but decided against it; I regret that decision now, because it might have dispelled the aura of credibility that came to surround Mr. X and prevented him from testifying in the Ndala murder trial. As I packed up, Mr. X said he had something important he wanted to tell me: ADF is bringing people to the DRC from Boko Haram, Mali, and Afghanistan. ADF has a “new plan” to turn the DRC into “northern Mali.”
When I left the apartment, a man was standing next to the armed guards, waiting for me to leave so he could deliver Mr. X’s hot lunch.
After I interviewed Mr. X, I warned the G2 and JMAC that he was a liar, but by that time, his stories had settled into the minds of MONUSCO’s analysts, who had become personally invested in his claims. As groupthink took over, dissenting views were not welcome. They interpreted each new event—an attack on a village, people throwing stones at U.N. vehicles—as evidence of Mr. X’s credibility and as something he had predicted.
In late October 2014, as I prepared the Group of Experts’ final report, I asked JMAC for an intelligence assessment of ADF. To my surprise, the G2 and JMAC gave us a report that was almost entirely based on the testimony of Mr. X. Their report repeated the story about Mukulu going to Pakistan, but in a new twist, said that he was picking up 25 Nigerian Boko Haram fighters—not the 35 Ugandan ADF commanders Mr. X had told me about—and was bringing them back to the DRC to attack MONUSCO. Mr. X’s claims read like a screenplay for an action movie—one that was clearly a work in progress.
The MONUSCO assessment was produced a few weeks after a series of massacres began in the Beni area. Starting in early October 2014, armed men—and sometimes women—attacked villages, hacking people to death with machetes, and occasionally abducting villagers and looting goods. Based on descriptions of the incidents, ADF appeared to be responsible for some of the massacres, but others seemed to have been carried out by government soldiers and other militias active in the Beni area. In some cases attackers wore Congolese army uniforms and talked in languages not spoken by ADF fighters; they also sometimes killed children and raped women, which ADF did not typically do.
Congolese government officials blamed ADF for the carnage and soon implicated members of the political opposition as ADF supporters. They arrested dozens of people in the Beni area—including members of political parties that opposed the Joseph Kabila regime—and shut down five radio stations. MONUSCO’s chief, Martin Kobler, echoed government claims about ADF’s responsibility for the killings, but remained quiet about the ensuing political crackdown.
MONUSCO’s analysts began reporting that ADF and unnamed “allies” were responsible for the bloodshed in the Beni area. Local populations were less concerned about the killers’ associations than with the fact that no one was preventing the murders from happening or arresting the real perpetrators. Residents already had little faith in the Congolese army, but they initially had greater expectations of U.N. troops. Nonetheless, soon after the massacres began, there were rumors that U.N. soldiers were actually sponsoring some of the violence to cynically keep the war going, and as the killings continued, discontent with MONUSCO only grew. People attacked U.N. vehicles on several occasions, and in late October, a crowd of protesters broke through the gate at the main MONUCSO base near Beni, demanding action to protect local populations. MONUSCO increased its patrols, and Kobler talked tough, but mass killings continued through 2015 and into 2016.
In October 2015, I returned to Goma for a meeting about ADF and the situation in Beni. One year after the start of massacres that had by then killed more than 500 people, independent investigators established that ADF carried out some deadly attacks, but that many incidents—perhaps a majority of them—involved other armed groups and Congolese army soldiers. The causes of the violence included local power struggles, ethnic tensions, and criminal activity.
While I was back in Goma, I was disappointed, but not surprised, to learn that Mr. X’s stories still informed MONUSCO’s understanding of ADF and that MONUSCO’s analysts continue to view ADF as the puppet master behind all of the violence in Beni. I challenged the analysts in the way I should have addressed Mr. X a year ago—with direct questions about the flaws and contradictions in their analysis. They acknowledged that many of Mr. X’s prophecies had not come true, but could not admit they made a mistake by making Mr. X the centerpiece of their analysis and enabling him to be the star witness in the Ndala murder trial.
The story of Mr. X—like that of Curveball—demonstrates what can happen when a fabricator fools biased analysts, but it also shows how misguided or misinformed leaders use fabricators to deceive the public. Just as Curveball’s lies became a key element in the Bush administration’s argument for invading Iraq, Mr. X’s lies helped Kinshasa and MONUSCO mislead the Congolese people and the international community about the identities of those responsible for the massacres in Beni.
The shortcomings in MONUSCO’s intelligence units also confront other U.N. operations. Intelligence collection is now a regular part of all peacekeeping missions—of which there are currently 16—but the lack of a stable, professional intelligence agency within the DPKO leads to the creation of ad hoc units for each mission, populated and led by people with varying levels of skill, loyalty, and motivation. In such a context, the potential for intelligence failure is great, but because the quality of U.N. intelligence is poorly understood, its frequency and severity is unknown.
The creation of a permanent U.N. spy agency is unlikely, but the DPKO could address this problem by ensuring that only qualified professionals serve in intelligence positions. In 2013, DPKO established a large intelligence cell for the U.N. mission in Mali (MINUSMA) that includes dozens of experienced Scandinavian and Dutch intelligence operatives, but this is exceptional because of both the distinctive role of international terrorist groups in Mali and the unique willingness of some governments to release their assets for this peacekeeping mission.
In early 2016, independent investigators told me that Mr. X was in Kinshasa, living well and working for the Congolese army. The status of MONUSCO’s efforts to help him achieve refugee status abroad remains unclear. “No man is rich enough to buy back his past,” wrote Oscar Wilde, but Mr. X is proof that a man who can spin tales about his past may be able to buy a new future.
While Mr. X enjoys freedom, Nzanzu remains in custody. The DRC currently has a moratorium on the death penalty, so he remains in prison indefinitely. What is increasingly clear, however, is that both Mr. X and Nzanzu are small cogs in a larger struggle for power between parts of the Congolese government, opposition political forces, and local business interests in the Beni area. Kinshasa skillfully capitalized upon MONUSCO’s intelligence failure to blame ADF for Ndala’s murder and the Beni massacres—thereby diverting attention away from the Congolese army. A lingering question remains whether the government sent Mr. X to MONUSCO, hoping the U.N. would give his stories its imprimatur. In the DRC, anything is possible, but as Mr. X demonstrates, the truth can be hard to find, especially when people are told exactly what they want to hear.