NOTE: Unedited

July 29-30, 1997

+ + +

Grand Ballroom
Buffalo Hilton Hotel
120 Church Street
Buffalo, NY 14202

Advisory Committee Members Present:

Agenda - Day Two

Call to Order

Intelligence review and assessment: Al Ukhaydir/Aukhader
Mr. Robert Walpole, Central Intelligence Agency

Intelligence review and assessments: 17 suspected chemical/biological weapon storage facilities
Mr. Robert Walpole, Central Intelligence Agency

Ongoing DOD investigations: Al Jaber and Tallil
Dr. Bernard Rostker
Ms. Anne Rathmell Davis
Ltc Dee Dodson Morris, USA, Department of Defense
accompanied by Mr. Jim Curren, Mr. Don Eckstein

Committee and staff discussion: next steps


DR. LASHOF: I think we are ready to convene this
morning's session. Welcome back. Let me welcome Mr. Robert
Walpole of the Central Intelligence Agency back with us again
this morning. Tell us more about Aukhaidir.
MR. WALPOLE: Okay, thank you. Yeah, I failed to
introduce myself yesterday. I am George Tennant's special
assistant on this issue and he had asked me to start up an
aggressive task force in February to address all the issues
related to Gulf War illnesses and how intelligence can help
out. So Dr. Lashof, members of the Committee, and staff, I am
pleased to appear this morning to continue to discuss our
support of U.S. government in this regard. As I indicated
yesterday, we're committed to continue to work this and the
director is committed to make public information that is
pertinent to this issue.
This morning we'll discuss the newly discovered
potential mustard agent release at the Aukhaidir ammunition
depot which is about 300 km of north of troop concentrations
near the city of Raffah. It has been targeted as a chemical
and biological weapons storage site because of the presence of
12-frame bunkers there, and we've discussed those before. CIA
and the Department of Defense now assess that there may have
been a release of chemical agent from this Aukhaidir depot as
Charley Duelfer indicated yesterday, known to the United States
as Karbalal, as the result of aerial bombing on the 14th of
February. Preliminary analysis of a few modeling runs suggest
that a potential chemical warfare agent released from Aukhaidir
probably did not reach coalition troops stationed in Saudi
Arabia but I'll discuss that more in a moment.
The assessment of the potential release is based on a
combined CIA-DoD investigation initiated after the UNSCOM
inspection that Charley briefed yesterday, that was in April
'97. In mid 1996, Iraq updated its declarations to munitions
to UNSCOM, indicating that 6,394 155-mm mustard rounds as well
as the 2,160 sarin-filled rockets that Charley mentioned
yesterday, have been deployed to the Aukhaidir depot in January
'91. In the April '91 inspection I mentioned earlier, the
Iraqis told, they were told by Iraq that munitions had been
stored on a part of the road that inspectors noted had
obviously been part of bomb damage and then later repaired.
If you would show the next slide, please. I think
Charley showed a smaller version of this picture, but the road
itself appeared to have been repaired and they found three,
what we believe to be mustard rounds in the rubble that was
pushed aside as they repaired the road. After learning about
this information in May, CIA and DoD began an investigation
that led to a conclusion that some mustard rounds probably were
damaged during that bombing on the 14th of February.
Information indicates that on that date, a stack of materiel
was located in open on that part of the road. Other similar
stacks were located in other various locations in the depot
but no other stacks were damaged. Assuming that these were
155-mm artillery shells and based on the information we have,
that's hard to tell but in concert with the UNSCOM information,
it's a good judgment.
But assuming that the various stacks correspond in
size to about 6,000 munitions which is the number that we would
be looking for, the stack on the damaged part of the road
corresponded to 700 155-mm shells. We estimate that at least a
104 of these were damaged during the bombing. This estimate is
based on the fact that UNSCOM inspectors found 104 damaged
rounds in September 1991.
If you could put the next slide up and this is the
last one. These are some of the damaged rounds that were
reported then and they were part of over 6,000 mustard shells
that UNSCOM found during the inspection. Although Iraq has not
declared that the rounds from Aukhaidir were moved to this
facility, this may well have been the case, as Charley briefed
yesterday in his scenarios. Iraq declares 6,394 rounds for the
Fallujah facility, the exact number that they declared at
Aukhaidir. In addition, other information indicates that the
rounds located at Fallujah arrived there about the same time
that the stacks of material we saw departed Aukhaidir. And as
shown in the UNSCOM photograph here, some of the rounds were
fractured and burned.
In mid-1996, Iraq also declared 550 damaged 155-mm
mustard rounds. While these were not declared to have been at
any specific site, they could have been in the stack of 700
thought to be at Aukhaidir. It is unlikely that all 700 in the
stack would have released all of their agent.
Now I mentioned before that I discussed the
preliminary modeling that we have done. We did runs on 104,
550, and 700. Now I need to underscore that this is
preliminary work, this is not the entire ensemble that we
talked with Khamissiyah. It's not even really complete runs
with our own modeler but we used two of the models that we had
applied to Khamisiyah. We used the new C-4 model, one of the
ones I mentioned yesterday, and we used SKIPUF.
Using assumptions consistent with the damaged rounds
found at Fallujah, the expect damage that aerial bombing would
have been expected to inflict based on our discussions with
DoD, and weather observations on that date, it appears that the
plume would fall short of 300 km distance where the troops
were. But I need to underscore how preliminary the work is
because a total release from all 700 gets very close and given
the uncertainties in the modeling with the preliminary runs,
that's something we're going to have to look at.
With the Khamisiyah modeling now complete, we'll be
able to apply the entire ensemble approach to this issue. What
we're going to need from UNSCOM -- in their briefing yesterday
they had added the 550 and the 104 for an upper bound which is
less than our 700 that we have for the whole stack so it's not
the size, it's the methodology of adding the two together.
UNSCOM knows exactly how many undamaged rounds were found at
Fallujah. That number subtracted from the number declared to
have been at Aukhaidir gives the number of unaccounted for or
missing rounds in this equation. That number then would be
added to the 104 that were damaged and you have a number that
really is meaningful for modeling purposes.
They indicated to us yesterday that the number of
Fallujah, while they didn't have the exact number with them,
was between 6,200 and 6,300 found at the site. If we use the
6,200 number which would be the smallest and the worst case of
the number and subtract that from the 6,394, you have 194
rounds. Then you add the 104 because they would have
presumably been part of the 6,200 number that we were quoted,
you get 294 rounds that are either unaccounted for or damaged
in part of the bombing. That's a very important number for
modeling purposes and we will be working with DoD and the
Department of State to make a formal request for that exact
As you recall from our briefing yesterday on
Khamisiyah, understanding every input we can on modeling for
source term is critical to getting an actual modeling plume
that means something. Once that effort is completed, we'll
released all the details of that as well. Aukhaidir is the
third facility at which coalition bombing damaged Iraqi
chemical munitions. As we briefed this Committee previously,
we've identified and modeled the releases at two other bomb
facilities at Muhammadiyat and Al-Muthanna. We were uncertain
about the date of both of those events for the bombing and so
in those cases, we didn't apply known weather conditions for
the date. Instead we released the agent and blew it as fast as
we could with the winds that were known to be prevailing in
that general time directly toward the troops to see if it would
reach the troops. It did not.
As we promised in the press conference last
week, we will in fact be applying the entire ensemble modeling
to both of those sites and in that case then we'll be able to
lay down a real plume and not just a plume to see if it does
reach the troops. DoD has committed that they will refine the
bomb damage assessments so we'll be able to get the exact dates
and the weather data necessary to run through that model, and
we'll keep of course this Committee and any other interested
parties apprised of the work at Aukhaidir as well as the other
DR. LASHOF: Thank you very much. Do you have a
sense of when you would be able to complete all the modeling
and give us your final estimate of whether troops were --
MR. WALPOLE: Yeah. I think we're talking about a
matter of weeks for Aukhaidir. There is a question of, we're
already looking at getting enhanced weather data because we
know the date of bombing so that's easy. Getting the number
from UNSCOM of how many were undamaged is another step. But
the models are prepared to run this type of event because this
is an open demolition. It is bombing rather than a demolition
with charges but many of the modeling parameters still work so
I really think we're talking weeks.
DR. LASHOF: All right, thank you.
DR. NISHIMI: There's a Committee meeting on
September 4th and 5th. Would it be ready by then? That's
weeks away.
MR. WALPOLE: I would expect it would be ready
before then, yes.
DR. LASHOF: Okay, we'll undoubtedly see you on the
4th and 5th.
MR. WALPOLE: Yeah, this is my 60-day task force.
It started in March.
DR. LASHOF: When was Aukhaidir first known to or
suspected of having munitions? Was it known during the war
that the --
MR. WALPOLE: It was suspected there because it had
a 12-frame bunker and as you, as we walked through the
Khamisiyah story, of course, we had multiple lists. There were
over 20 lists that were generated in the course of the, just
before the war or during the air campaign. And one of the
drivers was S-shaped bunkers and that drove lists that did not
include Khamisiyah. Another driver was 12-frame bunkers and
this was one of the sites that had the 12-frame bunker and
that's why the site was targeted for bombing purposes.
DR. NISHIMI: Thank you.
DR. LASHOF: Other questions?
DR. NISHIMI: You mentioned that in the testimony
that you had stacks that added up to approximately 6,000. And
you are absolutely confident that there are no other damaged
stacks. Is that correct?
MR. WALPOLE: We have stacks of material and by
linking stacks right on that part of the road that the Iraqis
said munitions were at, you then make somewhat of a judgment
that, all right, these are probably 155 mm rounds. We have
stacks around the area that sum total is about 6,000 rounds.
None of those other stacks were damaged.
DR. LASHOF: One more question. The rounds here at
Aukhaidir you believe are mustard. Is that correct?
MR. WALPOLE: That is correct.
DR. LASHOF: Not any sarin.
DR. LASHOF: And the modeling that you used for
Khamissiyah was around sarin.
MR. WALPOLE: That was sarin.
MR. WALPOLE: Well, it was actually a combination of
sarin and the cycloserine.
DR. LASHOF: Yeah. How different is it from
MR. WALPOLE: The models can handle different
agents. In fact, the harder thing for the modeling is a
combination of agents. Where you have a single agent, the
models are designed to handle that.
DR. BROWN: Okay. Can I just follow that up by, I
mean we know in general that mustard is, has more persistence
than sarin. It sits around in the environment longer. Will
the modeling be able to take account of that? I mean
presumably it might travel farther as a consequence because it
won't degrade as quickly.
MR. WALPOLE: The modeling will in fact take account
of that, and someone had asked me yesterday about the
persistence. Would that affect troops going in later? With
the bombing on the 14th, before anybody would have gotten
anywhere near there, of course, it would have, I am told that
it would have degraded, probably in about a day and a half.
MR. TURNER: I'm sorry. What was the last thing
you said, Mr. Walpole? It would have degraded how long?
MR. WALPOLE: It, that if, if there were some still
lying around that it probably would have degraded in about a
day and a half.
MR. TURNER: Day and a half?
MR. WALPOLE: But the modeling takes into account
all of that and . . .
DR. NISHIMI: One of the things that CIA did for
Khamissiyah, even when we had early pieces of the puzzle, we
never got the full picture until you went back and did the full
and comprehensive analysis and reported it out in your February
report, the entire intelligence history associated with
Khamissiyah. Have you started to do that Aukhaidir given that
there is now a known event here?
MR. WALPOLE: You know, there was an article in one
of the newspapers this morning that called this "another
Khamissiyah." This is another Muhammadiyat, another Al-Muthanna. It's not related to Khamissiyah at all. You've
already indicated it's a different agent but even beyond that,
this was not U.S. troop ground demolition. This was a bombing
event. And we did not go back to Muhammadiyat and Al-Muthanna
and do the type of work that we did on Khamissiyah. This
really falls into that same of effort, i.e., it was on the list
before the war. It was targeted because it was on such list.
There's no dispute now that there were weapons there. We've
got Iraqi confirmation, and they were bombed. This was not a
situation where someone went in and unknowingly destroyed
munitions. They were targeting the site because of munitions.
MR. TURNER: So what's the answer to the question?
Have you done the same kind of analysis you --
MR. TURNER: -- did for Khamissiyah here?
DR. LASHOF: But you see no reason to do so, is
what you are really telling us.
MR. WALPOLE: Yeah, right.
DR. LASHOF: Okay. The record.
MR. TURNER: The U.N. also reported yesterday to us
that the Iraqis told them there were a quantity of sarin,
cycloserine 122, soccer 18 rockets at Aukhaidir. What can you
tell the Committee about that side of the issue?
MR. WALPOLE: They had indicated, as was in the
declaration, that 2,160 122-mm sarin rockets were also deployed
to Aukhaidir. They then showed in their last map that they
seemed confident that those rounds had been moved up to Al-Muthanna for destruction. That was one of the arrows they had
shown on that map. We want to follow up with them and see that
we have the same confidence that those are all accounted for.
MR. TURNER: And will you commit to this Committee
that you will apply the resources of the, our intelligence
community to corroborate the actual movement of those --
MR. WALPOLE: Of the 21 --
MR. TURNER: -- out of there so that we are, can
say --
MR. TURNER: -- with a level of certainty that we
can today --
MR. WALPOLE: Absolutely.
MR. TURNER: -- that those are gone?
MR. WALPOLE: Absolutely. We've done that with the,
as I've described with the 6,394. Because there we were able
to track, and let's just say, you know, arrival somewhere else
and departure from somewhere else in stacks. And what we want
to do is see what we can do on the 2,160.
MR. TURNER: In your analysis of the, let's turn to
the mustard rounds that were on the road. In your analysis of
that, have you been able to fix a specific date or a range of
dates on which the aerial bombardment --
MR. WALPOLE: It was the 14th of February.
MR. TURNER: So you've got a specific date --
MR. TURNER: -- that you can work with?
MR. WALPOLE: Yeah, it's in the paper and I thought
I mentioned that in my presentation but it is in the paper.
MR. TURNER: And you also have a specific
observation of a quantity of mustard rounds that you can, or
what you think are mustard rounds with a fair degree of
certainty that were the subject of the aerial bombardment.
MR. WALPOLE: A specific number? We've done an
estimate --
MR. TURNER: Fair enough.
MR. WALPOLE: -- based on the size of the stack.
MR. TURNER: And that's 700.
MR. WALPOLE: And that's 700, about 700.
MR. TURNER: Are you, even if you do the analytics
that you described before of taking the various Iraqi
accountings and manipulating them, however different analysists
(sic) manipulate them to get to a number, are you ever going to
be able to categorically state that 700 munitions were not
MR. WALPOLE: If UNSCOM found 6,200 undamaged
rounds, then the answer to that is yes.
MR. TURNER: But that is predicated on believing
the Iraqi declarations, is it not?
MR. WALPOLE: That's more predicated on believing
that they moved to Fallujah. If we don't go with the
assumption they moved to Fallujah, 700 rounds is peanuts
compared to missing 6,400.
MR. TURNER: But you don't have any evidence that
the missing 6,400 were hit by aerial bombardment. You do have
evidence that this one site was hit. That's why I am focused
on that.
MR. WALPOLE: As we discovered yesterday, we just, I
mean recently got the evidence that any part of the 6,394 were
damaged by bombardment.
MR. TURNER: Yeah, the point that, you know, to the
line of questioning is if you are going to do a worst case
modeling, are you ever going to be able to move very far away
from the 700 as being your worst case assessment?
MR. WALPOLE: We will move, we will do the modeling
as we did with Khamissiyah, based on the best estimates of what
was damaged. That's exactly how we did the Khamissiyah
modeling with all the scientific rigor we put into that and the
same --
MR. TURNER: But this isn't Khamissiyah. This is
like Muhammadiyat and Al-Muthanna and there you did worst case
modeling like I described. You made the point it was like
Muthanna and Muhammadiyat and that's your justification for not
doing the kind of look back that's comprehensive that was done
at Khamissiyah. Now you can't have it both ways. Either you
are going to treat it like Muhammadiyat and Al-Muthanna and do
worst case modeling or you are going to treat it like
Khamissiyah and do absolutely comprehensive investigation back
to date 1. Which is it going to be?
MR. WALPOLE: We are going to model this with the
same ensemble that we applied to Khamissiyah. Multiple models,
best assessment of what occurred. What was done with Al-Muthanna and Muhammadiyat was worst case because we didn't even
have a date. This time we have the exact date of bombing. We
know the wind direction. And when UNSCOM gives us a number of
those that were not damaged, why would I model release from
munitions that were not damaged? That defies logic.
MR. TURNER: Because you don't know. What you do
know is that you have a site where there's a quantity that
you've estimated that got hit by a bomb. Those are the facts
that you know with a level of certainty.
MR. WALPOLE: I would not call --
MR. TURNER: Otherwise, can I --
MR. WALPOLE: -- my estimate of stack a fact.
MR. TURNER: Otherwise you are left with reliance
on Iraqi declarations which is something that you said you
shouldn't do.
MR. WALPOLE: A lot of what we do is based on Iraqi
declarations. We have to rely heavily on Iraqi declarations
and then try to corroborate that information. Where we can
corroborate the information in this case, we have a stack on
the open road at the time of bombing. So it tends to
corroborate what they said.
DR. NISHIMI: I think we can discuss this matter in
September when CIA has done it's modeling.
MR. WALPOLE: I didn't hear that.
DR. NISHIMI: I think we can discuss, you know,
subtleties and the actual number once you get your modeling and
present it to us in September.
MR. WALPOLE: Oh absolutely. And once we get a
handle from UNSCOM on how many rounds really were not destroyed
or damaged.
DR. LASHOF: Okay. Let's hold that and there will
be further discussion with staff in the September meeting.
DR. BROWN: Just one follow up question. I assume
that when you and DoD model potential exposure, that you'll be
using the general population limits are your target --
MR. WALPOLE: Oh yes, absolutely. The models are
designed to give the same two plumes that we described before.
DR. BROWN: Thank you.
DR. LASHOF: Any other questions? Okay, thank you
very much, we appreciate it and look forward to seeing you in
DR. NISHIMI: Well, you can see him right now too
because --
DR. LASHOF: Oh, that's right [inaudible] sorry.
You want to go right on and continue. I should have looked at
my agenda. Let me introduce Mr. Robert Walpole who will now
discuss the 17 suspected chemical biological weapon storage
facilities and what we know about those.
MR. WALPOLE: All right. My next remarks will
focus, as long as you don't hold me to this being September, so
you ask me about the Aukhaidir model, will focus on CIA- DoD
efforts related to the 17 sites mentioned in the 28 February
1991 CENTCOM cable. The cable indicates that these sites were
suspected to have possibly contained or biological weapons
prior to the ground war. You had asked that we review
intelligence related to these sites and to CENTCOM's indication
of suspected chemical or biological weapons storage.
Before I begin, I would like to put my remarks into
context. We are continuing to search for intelligence that
might help the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, as
well as others, determine possible causes of Gulf war veterans'
illnesses. Our effort includes searching for information on
any site that would indicate the presence of chemical or
biological weapons. So far, having looked carefully at
significant amounts of relevant intelligence reporting, and
having analyzed Iraq's deployment of chemical weapons, we
assess that Khamissiyah and An Nassiriyah are the only two
sites within the Theater of Operations, the Kuwaiti Theater of
Operations, at which chemical weapons were stored during Desert
Storm. We will continue to assess information on suspected
chemical and biological sites and will inform this Committee,
as well as other interested parties, if we find new information
changing this assessment.
Now the list of 17 sites; first, I would like to note
that a search of the Gulflink Internet site shows that during
the war there were many lists, and I mentioned some of those a
moment ago, of suspect chemical and biological sites. Each
list was a result of analytic efforts from available
information, none of the lists was based on definitive
information and it is unlikely that anyone putting together the
lists was certain that chemical weapons would be found at all
of the sites. Most often each site was suspected as a
potential storage location and as such, was included for
targeting purposes.
We are not certain what information ARCENT or CENTCOM
considered in formulating this pre-ground war list. Before
1990, however, intelligence analysts had identified structures
at 3 of the 17. That's the Tallil Airfield, and Nassiriyah and
Ash Shuaybah Northwest, that caused them to suspect the
presence of CW munitions. During Desert Shield, a combination
of features at Rumaylah Facility 1 raised suspicion among
community analysts that CW might be there as well. Information
on all four facilities was disseminated widely throughout the
military and policy communities. A fifth site on the list, one
that the Committee is very familiar with, is the Khamissiyah
storage site, including its bunkers and the pit.
In the case of Khamissiyah, the Intelligence
Community had information in 1986, indicating that Khamissiyah
stored chemical weapons during 1984 and '85, in support of
Iraqi efforts during the Iran-Iraq war. Based in part on
subsequent analysis and on reliable information in about the
1988 time frame, Khamissiyah was not included on intelligence
lists of suspect CW sites before the war began. However, using
new information from 1991, the Intelligence Community provided
warnings to the military in late February and early March
before the U.S. troops destroyed chemical munitions at the
site. These warnings unfortunately did not make their way to
the troops who performed the demolition.
Intelligence Community analysts identified nothing
prior to or during Desert Storm or Desert Shield that suggested
the presence of CW at the over 12 locations on this list.
However, in an effort to help on this question, I can suggest
plausible reasons for the inclusion of most of these additional
locations on the list. We believe that all the sites were
listed because of tenuous information available to CENTCOM, but
we have been unable to confirm this by locating the author
despite efforts on the part of those by IAD, Mitre contractors
under Walt Jajko and even staffers of your own committee.
Those officers whom we have contacted in the field tend to
believe that the list was made up of multiple assessments of
chemical locations, none of which was believed to be highly
We have recently contacted one of the persons listed
on the cable as having handled the request. He indicates that
the original request came from ARCENT. CENTCOM determined that
the request was important and tasked ARCENT to determine the
presence of special munitions at suspected sites in the
theater. This person indicates that list was generated by
ARCENT, probably in their operation intelligence planning
elements. He indicated that this list had existed prior to the
ground war. Our understanding is these planning elements had
hundreds of people. Our focus is now in finding personnel in
these elements, as well as continuing our search for associated
message traffic.
We have conducted both database searches and
systematic analyses in response to your request about the 17
sites. Interestingly, they fall into three categories and
that's what on the map up here. The colors don't show up real
well. Those in purple, which is the top list, are all the
large ground forces depots in the theater and that fact alone
may be the primary reason for their being included on the list.
Various intelligence reasons -- like special bunkers or other
reporting -- connect most of these to chemical or biological
concerns. We are unable to find any other information other
than size that would make us suspect that Al Jazair had
chemical weapons.
The sites in red are the primary field storage
locations for three heavy Republican Guard divisions defending
Iraq. As can be seen in numerous Gulflink documents on the
Internet, the Republic Guard forces were assessed to be the
most likely units to use chemical weapons based on superior
capabilities and Iran-Iraq war precedents. These sites may
have been placed on the list due to their association with the
Republican Guard. We found no other information to date that
these locations lead us to suspect that chemical weapons were
Now each of the last set of sites, and they are in
green, have possible other reasons:
- Tallil Airfield had special bunkers, as I
indicated before;
- Rumayulah I had decontamination trenches
and a Republican Guard association;
- What was listed on the cable as underground
bunkers possibly based on their unique
- Ash Shuaybah East based on heightened
security during the war effort; and
- The ammo area at Shaibah Airfield based on
the possibility that chemically armed
aircraft during the Iran-Iraq war were
deployed from that site.
The rest of the paper that I handed you walks through
each of the sites and I don't think I am going to bore you with
reading through all of these. But I'll hit a couple of
highlights as we go through it. Tallil Airfield, again, it was
on Community lists before the war because it had an S-shaped
bunker. It was also based on CW-related activities there in
the mid to late 1980s. At the, a bunch of the sites on the
list were not, the word "sites" is almost being too generous to
it. They were listed as ammo dump or a group of trucks or
things like this.
I've tried to stick with the words that were
originally in the cable and we've put the geo coordinates so
you can make them up, because so many times the words "ammo
dump" appear on the list. But the next two were associated
with Republican Guard units. They were built in 1990 as part
of the war effort. They were very temporary. The next one,
the same category, August 1990, Republican Guard units, and
each of these descriptions goes into detail of what was there.
The next one, this is where you have a group of trucks and some
of the other things. Again, November 1990, Republic Guard
The next one is Rumaylah Southwest. This was a large
storage area built in the early 1980s, may have been placed on
the list because it was one of the best secured and largest
munition storage areas in the theater. In addition, we had
Republican Guard infantry divisions immediately east. The
Rumaylah Storage Facility 1 was built during the Iran-Iraq war.
It has perimeter berm and earthworks that were built during the
war, as well. It was almost certainly placed on the list and
was of concern to the Intelligence Community and the military
for several reasons:
1. It was adjacent to a Republican Guard
infantry division and the association with
the Republican Guard unit increased
suspicion about the presence there. There
were BM-21 multiple rocket launcher units
attached there and that's an ideal
tactical system for firing CW munitions;
2. Nearby decontamination stations (used for
decontamination of equipment related to CW)
raised suspicion but of course you could
use that for defensive as well as offensive
purposes. We know of no other equipment
despite these points I brought up, or
structures or other features that would
indicate CW there.
At Ash Shuaybah Northwest, it was built prior to the
Iran-Iraq war but it was included on Intelligence Community
lists. It had an S-shaped bunker and a 12-frame bunker, and it
was targeted because of those capabilities.
The Al Jazair Storage Area, well secured, may have
been considered suspect because of proximity to a Republican
Guard unit. It had no equipment, structures or features that
would have indicated anything there. Again, it's a relatively
large facility and was established by at least 1987.
Underground Storage Bunkers I mentioned before.
There were 48 well-secured, uniquely constructed bunkers. They
are part of the Ash Shuaybah Naval Missile Storage facility and
may have been on the list because of the unique construction
but we know of no other reason to apply them there. This was
one of the reasons of course we want to talk to the people that
generated the list.
Ash Shuaybah East, well-secured facility, 9 km
southwest of Basrah, established prior to 1990 [text says
1980], relatively small. It only had a few bunkers. Don't
know why CENTCOM placed it on the list. We don't have, you
know, equipment structures there just like at the other sites.
Not changed since 1980 and it was 15 km northeast of the cease-fire demarcation line.
The next one that was listed as an ammo site happens
to be an ammo site at the Shaibah Airfield constructed by 1983,
associated with the storage of aircraft munitions. May have
been added to the list because it was suspected that air-deliverable CW could have been there.
Tall Al Lahm South -- this is not the Tall Al Lahm or
the Khamissiyah we are normally talking about. This is a
different one. This was a group of revetments. It may have
been on the list because of a potential association with
Republican Guard units again. No indication of structures,
equipment or otherwise that CW is there. No declarations of CW
being there by Iraq.
An Nassiriyah has been talked about many times
before. Built in the 1970s. It was on the Community list
because it had an S-shaped bunker and Charley Duelfer indicated
some of the information yesterday about An Nassiriyah. In the
declaration in 1991, Iraq declared that over 6,000 mustard
rounds were stored at Khamissiyah (An Nassiriyah) and that
helped foster or continued some confusion on the site. In mid
'96 they clarified the declaration indicating that 6,000 155-mm
mustard rounds stored in the open outside of Khamissiyah had
originally been at An Nassiriyah. During the May '96
inspection of An Nassiriyah, the Iraqis declared that the
munitions had originally been stored in the bunker but moved
near Khamissiyah based on fear of contamination if the bunkers
were bombed. This bunker -- an S-shaped, not S-shaped --
Bunker 8, was destroyed by U.S. ground troops but shows no
signs of damaged chemical munitions. Inspectors during this
and a previous inspection in '92, found no indications in any
of the bunkers that they contained chemical munitions.
Finally is the Tall Al Lahm-Khamissiyah site that I'd
indicated before. As is well known, we had information in '96,
that indicated weapons were stored there in '84 and '85 -- I am
sorry, 1986 indicated munitions were stored there in '84 and
'85. Based on analysis in '88, it looked like that site was no
longer being used for that and it had fallen out of analytical
thinking. It was not on the list before the war.
However, by early 1991, new information came in that
indicated there was a CW association, at least at that time and
several indications were given to the, or were part of the
military's thinking. On the 23rd of February, CIA obtained and
passed geographic coordinates and mapped information to CENTCOM
elements indicating Khamissiyah as a CW storage site. On the
26th of February, an 18th Airborne Corps log indicated that it
was possibly that they had hit chemical weapons on objective
goal in which Khamissiyah is the largest storage site. The
Iraqis were fleeing the vicinity and that the U.S. troops
should enter the area with detection vehicles leading.
On the 28th of February, DIA indicated that it was
possible that Iraqis could store CW munitions in 12-frame
bunkers. I'd mentioned those earlier. The information from
the warnings was not passed to the troops that actually did the
destruction. It is unclear whether the warnings that either
predated or were the same day as the CENTCOM list were part of
the thinking in generating the list. That's another question
we have to try to sort out. Now, complete details on the
Khamissiyah issue, of course, are in the two papers that you
have copies of. One is the original Khamissiyah paper from
April, and the next was a highlights paper put together based
on a briefing that we had done. So that's the 17.
DR. LASHOF: Okay. Thank you. Further questions
about 17?
DR. PORTER: I have a couple of questions for you.
You had given us a list of other suspected chemical munition
storage sites, one that was generated on the same day as the
list that went to ARCENT. And that was a list from ARCENT.
Can you tell how this information was uncovered?
MR. WALPOLE: I don't know what other list you are
talking about.
DR. PORTER: There is a list of sites for ARCENT
and a list of sites for MARCEN, which CENTCOM sent out on the
same day and actually CIA provided us with that list.
MR. WALPOLE: Oh. I am sure that we're aware of the
list. I don't have the list in front of me. I don't what
sites are different from these. I was focusing on the 17 that
were on the list that you specifically requested.
DR. PORTER: You have explained that there were
many, many lists --
DR. PORTER: -- many sources and combinations and
permutations of all sorts of sites. Do you have any plans for
assembling all of these lists and addressing some of the sites
that were not on the list of 17?
MR. WALPOLE: Yeah. The, we're doing, Khamissiyah
was only one CW paper that we are putting together. We are
putting a biological weapons paper together, a chemical weapons
paper together, and in general won't have the detail on
Khamissiyah for obvious reasons, and then a radiological paper.
And in the combination of all those, they will incorporate
those lists and any of those sites that, because of
declarations or whatever, would be included in that. So the
answer to that is yes.
DR. PORTER: And on these 17 sites you intend to
continue analysis of how they were assembled and what happened
to them when? Is that correct?
MR. WALPOLE: Yeah. As we, if we're able to find
the author that generated the list or those that are familiar
with how the list came together, then of course we will release
that information as we find it. The, I imagine that the
military IG efforts are going on, particularly given the issue
of the warnings on Khamissiyah are going to want to know
whether or not that information played into the generation of
lists like this.
DR. PORTER: Of all of these sites which you've
outlined on this particular graphic from the list of the 17,
which would you think are the most likely to have had chemical
MR. WALPOLE: Well, that was easy. I set up, the
only ones that we have information that chemical weapons were
at were on Al Nassiriyah and Khamissiyah.
DR. PORTER: But if you had to prioritize in
looking more closely at any of these sites, which would you
MR. WALPOLE: That's so easy with hindsight.
Obviously I'd say Khamissiyah and An Nassiriyah because I know
I'd be right.
DR. PORTER: Other than those two?
MR. WALPOLE: Other than those two . . . you know,
the really, as I went through each of the sites here, there
really isn't a basis for that. We laid out S-shaped bunkers,
could have driven some of these on the sites. We didn't
discover chemical weapons in any of the S-shaped bunkers.
Twelve-frame bunkers was an issue. Republican Guard
association -- we're trying to come up with reasons why they
might have been on the list. That's certainly our only basis
for prioritizing them now because we find out that some of
those, some of that thinking wasn't, just wasn't accurate.
DR. PORTER: Rumaylah Storage Facility 1 though,
had equipment in place that is associated with launching CW
munitions however. That's --
MR. WALPOLE: Well, it's associated with a whole lot
of other things. Again, we're trying --
DR. PORTER: I understand.
MR. WALPOLE: -- to theorize why.
DR. PORTER: But you do have intelligence that
places launchers which is not intelligence that is associated
with any of the other sites, near as I can tell. That's
MR. WALPOLE: That's correct. This is the only one
where we highlighted the M-21 --
DR. PORTER: So might not that be something that
distinguishes that site from other sites?
MR. WALPOLE: Distinguishes for CW use or
distinguishes it just in terms of general --
DR. PORTER: Priority to examine. Priority to
conduct a review of activity associated with that site.
MR. WALPOLE: Well, as I indicated before, as we
look at all the CW sites for our CW paper, we're not dropping
certain ones off because we're just not interested. We're
going to cover the whole waterfront, and that will be included
in that effort.
DR. PORTER: Let me move slightly off that but
still stay at that site. UNSCOM has not inspected that site,
MR. WALPOLE: I think that's correct, yeah.
DR. PORTER: And coalition troops did inspect that
site. Is that --
DR. PORTER: Right. Were there demolition
activities at that site?
MR. WALPOLE: Not to my knowledge.
DR. PORTER: There was an inspection but not a, no
subsequent postwar demolitions?
MR. WALPOLE: Yeah. In fac, the cable that's
driving the whole look at the 17 was the cable that asked
ARCENT to look at each one of the sites. And then there was a
response cable coming back that they had looked at all but just
a few of the sites that are at the bottom of that other cable
and said that they had found no chemicals there.
DR. PORTER: Right. But they said that about
Khamissiyah, too. But were there demolition activities or were
these inspection activities, we didn't see anything, and we
also didn't blow them up?
MR. WALPOLE: Which part of that was the question?
DR. PORTER: The statement is made in your paper
that ammo storage facility 1 was inspected by coalition forces.
MR. WALPOLE: Um hmm.
DR. PORTER: I am trying to get at what the word
"inspected" means. Does it mean --
MR. WALPOLE: Oh, it's simply drawn from that cable
where they said that, you know, 7th Corps had gone to the site
and --
DR. PORTER: So it's DoD of whom we need to ask the
question whether or not ground troops performed demolition
DR. PORTER: Ok, we can ask DoD.
MR. WALPOLE: Demolition that none of us are aware
of at this point. Yeah.
DR. PORTER: We can ask that of DoD now.
DR. NISHIMI: Does your analysis indicate that how
many sites were not inspected by coalition forces or by UNSCOM
subsequently? Can you summarize what was not looked at?
MR. WALPOLE: How many sites are --
DR. NISHIMI: How many sites of these 17 --
MR. WALPOLE: Of these 17? I honestly don't know
the number. I didn't go through a tabulation of the number
there. It's listed in here if it is, and if it isn't that
we're aware of --
MAJ CROSS: Just ask that differently. One think
I was going to ask you. I don't know if you have it available
but maybe additional graphics that might show which sites were
inspected by coalition forces, which sites were --
MAJ CROSS: -- destroyed?
MR. WALPOLE: Yeah. I don't have a graphic on that.
You've got the cable that will say which ones were inspected by
coalition forces. What we're going to do as a result of this
list and other lists and some of the discussions that came up
yesterday --
MAJ CROSS: Thank you.
MR. WALPOLE: -- and some of the discussions that
came up yesterday is ask through formal mechanisms jointly with
DoD through the Department of State, UNSCOM to inspect certain
sites that just did not get an inspection. And the GAO report
that came out a little while back mentioned the site, was not
listed by name for classification reasons. They reviewed it.
We called them and asked them which site it was they were
talking about and counted down on the page and that is the site
that we are going to, it was -- we had assessed that it was the
site that they were interested in was Ash Shuaybah and in fact,
that's what it was. And we will make sure that a request is
made on that site and other sites that we find come up as
interest to have inspections performed on.
MR. TURNER: Have you identified any others besides
Ash Shuaybah at this point that you are going to make that
request for, Mr. Walpole?
MR. WALPOLE: The answer to that is probably yes.
We'll probably have more on the list than just the one site.
And, but, I don't know which all the sites are.
DR. LASHOF: What additional kind of work are you
planning on all of these lists to try to decide which ones
might possibly have been involved? At this point you are
giving us the impression that you don't think any of them are
really significant ones where we had any danger of a release of
chemicals. Is that correct?
MR. WALPOLE: That's correct. But as part of the
overall chemical weapons paper that we will put together, we'll
look at all the sites that came from various generated lists.
As you see, half of this list is sites that were built simply
for the war effort. They lasted, you know, from August or
November 1990, until the end of the war. So it's not, we don't
have to go back real far to learn about those specific sites.
Some of the other ones have been around since the 70s or the
80s, and that takes a little more time to go back at and look
at, as we had done with Khamissiyah.
As we discovered the S-shaped bunker connection that
we thought was a big indicator, ended up not being an
indicator, so if we see something show up on a list because of
that, it's fairly easy to assume that that is not an accurate
indicator but we will look for any other evidence of CW having
been there.
DR. LASHOF: But the important issue is whether CW
is there or not, is whether there was either bombing of it --
DR. LASHOF: -- or destruction afterwards and do we
have evidence of bombing or destruction of any of these sites
that are on the list at this point?
MR. WALPOLE: Other than ones that I've mentioned
within the report, we don't. But as we look at these lists and
other lists that we've mentioned before in our CW paper, we'll
make an effort to sort that out as well. If we don't know the
answers, that information will be passed to DoD and they'll
look at that.
DR. LASHOF: How long do you consider this process
will take?
MR. WALPOLE: Oh, this, those papers are well in
draft, the biological, radiological and chemical papers are
already well in draft. So we're talking, you know, a number of
weeks. I don't that that will all be ready by September but it
sure would be nice.
DR. LASHOF: It certainly would be nice. As you
know, we are hoping September is our last meeting.
MR. WALPOLE: Yeah well, I am with you on that one!
DR. LASHOF: We'd love to be able to wrap all this
up at that meeting.
MAJ KNOX: Yeah, we could invite you back in
DR. LASHOF: I don't know before whom!
MR. TURNER: Just so the committee understands,
this list is of sites that were of interest to our military
targeters for a number of reasons and those are logical sites
for aerial bombardment -- many of them on the list -- Tallil
Airfield, Khamissiyah itself. You know, there are many sites
that were bombed and there are other sites that were subject to
demolition. That's my understanding. Is that correct, Mr.
MR. WALPOLE: That is correct. I assumed that the
reason that you asked me to look at this was not, it was a
targeting list but because of the phrase that said, "Suspected
to contain chemical or biological weapons prior to the ground
MR. TURNER: Yeah, it was both components. I just
wanted to be sure --
MR. TURNER: -- that we have that.
MR. WALPOLE: That's critical. Thank you.
DR. LASHOF: Any others?
DR. PORTER: No, just a comment. I believe
yesterday Mr. Mitrokhin from UNSCOM did tell us that the site,
the underground storage bunkers were in fact inspected by
UNSCOM at some subsequent point.
DR. LASHOF: Okay, thank you very much.
MR. WALPOLE: Thank you.
DR. LASHOF: We're ahead of schedule but let's move
right on to the DoD.
DR. NISHIMI: We are significantly ahead of
schedule so are you prepared to go now? Ok.
DR. ROSTKER: Madam Chairman, I just, before we get
started with the, responding to the formal requests of the
Committee, and the responses will be handled by LTC Morris and
Ms. Davis, let me add a few remarks on the 17 sites if I might.

We have carried through further analysis on the 17
sites, particularly in reviewing the logs of the demolition
units to see if any of the demolition experts which led in all
of the demolitions were at any of the sites. And they were
not, as best we can tell. We've done key word searches on the
classified and unclassified database to see if we could
identify any activities or any reports relating to any of the
We do have a story which we've shared with the
Committee on the FRAG order that relates to the inspection of
Khamissiyah, which was the second inspection of Khamissiyah and
we can talk to that. It turns out it was not an independent
inspection but relied on the observations of the 82nd Division
earlier, and so while it was a report tracing back that report,
it does not give an independent corroboration. It was just a
repeat of a previous report.
So that as we put the information together, we rely
on obviously UNSCOM and the CIA and then the expertise that we
can provide by looking at the operational records, both
classified and unclassified, and then sorting through the
specific units that may have been. It's our judgment at this
point that chemical weapons were not present except at the
places that UNSCOM has indicated and we have no corroboration
of them being forward of those places or any of the other
sites. We will continue to look as more information is made
available. And I would also point out that the conclusions
that the CIA has drawn are consistent with Mr. Jajko's inquiry
of the intelligence databases, including extensive review of
intercepts and debriefs. And to the best of our understanding
at this point they are also consistent with the Army IG's
inquiry, although we don't have full access to that given the
normal IG standards.
We are carrying full case narratives on Khamissiyah
and additional narratives on An Nassiriyah and Tallil. The
reason for Tallil is that it was the subject of some troop
reports and some rumors and that's a further indication of why
we would go forward. We don't even have troop reports or
rumors to investigate in these other cases. So in terms of
incident investigation, we have no specific time, we have no
specific place, we have no specific unit. We can't find any of
the reports that went back, with the exception of the FRAG
order and the subsequent report on Khamissiyah. So it's a
little difficult to even know where to start the investigation.
We have frankly no leads except the fact that these units,
these locations appear on a list. With that let me thank the
Committee and we are prepared to review with the Committee a
number of cases.
First slide please, next slide please. You will note
that on the list is the Marine Breaching Operation because it
was on the list to report today and because the Marine
Breaching Operation was substantially finished, in fact, was
originally scheduled for release last Thursday, I made the
decision to release it yesterday or concurrently with the
panel's meeting so that we would not only provide an update
but, and then a projection of when it would released, but it is
now in the public domain. Two reports were released yesterday,
an information paper on the FOX vehicles and the full report on
the Marine Breaching. We are prepared to discuss that in
detail. With that, I would turn the microphone over to LTC
LTC MORRIS: Thank you, Dr. Rostker. Dr. Lashof,
members of the committee and committee staff. I am LTC Dee
Dodson Morris, the Deputy Director of the Investigations and
Analysis Director with the Office of the Special Assistant for
Gulf War Illnesses, and I am here today to provide you with a
report on two cases that we have not previously reported upon.
And those cases are the Al Jaber Airbase and Tallil Airbase.
Next slide please.
Al Jaber Airbase is located in Kuwait and was part of
the effort of the Marines in taking back Kuwait from the
Iraqis. This particular case centers around seven chemical
alerts which occurred around the Al Jaber Airbase from 24 to 25
February. And in specific, about a FOX vehicle alert for
mustard at 1908 hours on the 25th of February.
This particular investigation was initiated by the
Persian Gulf Investigation Team, our predecessor organization,
and augmented by testimony of GySGT Grass of the United States
Marine Corps. Next slide please. This particular case has
also been mentioned during previous PAC and Congressional
testimonies by the Marines involved and is the subject of
several operational unit logs.
During the course of this particular investigation,
we interviewed not only the FOX vehicle commander and crew but
the commander of Task Force Ripper, the various NBC officers
involved in the vicinity, the commander of Task Force Grizzly
which was adjacent and did in fact receive reports of this
particular incident, and EOD teams that cleared Al Jaber.
Specifically because there were reports of chemical munitions
and we wanted to find out what those folks had found. Next
slide please.
As I indicated, we had interviewed the operational
command, the various NBC personnel and the EOD personnel.
Operational commanders are interviewed because in most cases
such as this, they should have been aware of reports of
detections. This is something that was very important to the
people on the ground and the commanders should have known that
this occurred. In the absence of operational commanders
knowing about this, NBC personnel would be the people who would
be conducting the tests and who would most likely be the first
people who would be informed. They would also be making on the
ground assessments as to a variety of evidence contemporaneous
to the event, so that they could make decisions about what to
report and what not to report. And finally, as I indicated,
the EOD personnel who cleared the area subsequent to this
incident were interviewed to find out what evidence, if any,
they might have found of the presence of chemical weapons.
The detection equipment involved in this particular
incident was a FOX reconnaissance vehicle and it had an initial
alert for mustard. Unfortunately, the full spectrum from this
particular test is not available. There were also M-256
detector kits used during this particular event and there were
no positive reports as a result of those tests. The FOX tape
from this particular event cannot be located and we believe
that it has been destroyed either at the time or shortly
thereafter, or having been filed and then subsequently
destroyed when the records were no longer deemed to be of use.
We are continuing to seek additional personnel who
were involved in the adjacent task forces, specifically
Grizzly, Papa Bear and the Tiger Brigade and the NBC officers
of those particular organizations because these were lateral
units and they should have received reports of any detections
or might have conducted detections on their own. Next slide
Evidence today indicates that 6 of the 7 alerts were
from units within the 1st Marine Division. Again, the 1st
Marine Division had several task forces and Ripper was just one
of those. This seventh alert was from Task Force Ripper and
was from a FOX vehicle at 1908 hours on the 25th of February.
Because we do not have a tape and we are relying on the six-year-old memories of the people involved, we cannot determine
definitively whether or not a full spectrum was in fact
performed by the FOX. But we do know again that the
recollections of the people involved were that the M-256 kit
tests that were done contemporaneously by the members of Task
Force Ripper were negative.
We also know that Task Force Ripper personnel took
the appropriate precaution. In other words, they did increase
their protective level to MOPP 4 while they were performing the
M-256 kit tests. There were no substantive evidence of
chemical weapons subsequently found at Al Jaber. Specifically,
there were no CW weapons or anything identified as such found
on or near Al Jaber and based on the indication that the
preference of the Iraqis for use of mustard was the 155-mm
artillery shell, we specifically asked if any of those were
found. And we have not found any indication and we are dealing
with both the CIA and the UN in this particular regard. There
were no 155-mm rounds found on or near Al Jaber. This case is
continuing under investigation. We are still trying to contact
remaining personnel and we are currently preparing an interim
report for review and release.
The next case concerns the Tallil Airbase. Tallil
Airbase is located northwest of Khamissiyah and was described
by Mr. Walpole earlier. This particular case focused on the
potential storage of chemical weapons at Tallil Airbase and
specifically on a single bunker at Tallil that had a CW
association that took a direct hit during the air war. This
case was initiated by the Persian Gulf investigation team, and
the investigation covered this specific bunker although we did
look at the fact that there were other bunkers at Tallil that
were used to store conventional munitions. Next slide please.
There are a variety of reports of this incident. It
shows up repeatedly in unit histories, operational reports and
messages and in intelligence reporting. Again, we interviewed
some of the same people who I described to you why we
interviewed those types of people at the Al Jaber case, for
this case, such as the NBC personnel, EOD people, combat
engineers, infantry personnel and the unit commanders. Now,
the reason that there are additional folks on this one,
specifically the combat engineers and the infantry personnel
was that the combat engineers were called into assist in the
demolition. This is not something that they would normally do,
but due to the huge amount that had to be destroyed, they were
pressed into service to assist the EOD personnel in destroying
this particular facility as they were pressed to do this for
other facilities. Infantry personnel were used to guard this
facility. And some of these folks did in fact see things and
so we have called as many of those that we can find to find out
what they did in fact see. Next slide please.
There have been a substantial number of people
interviewed for this particular case. As of early June, the
count was up to about 98. Our emphasis, however, based on a
lot of rumors that were floating around about this particular
site was to find people who had firsthand observation of what
they were describing. When pressed, many of the people who we
interviewed who had claimed to have seen CW munitions or things
that they thought were CW munitions, it turned out that they
were repeating something that they had been told second, third,
fourth hand. And so we continued to try and push through the
various leads, ask those people who they had gotten their
information from so that we could talk to the people who had in
fact seen what was being reported about. We stuck to the units
who were located at Tallil and followed any lead that an
interview person told us about. Next slide please.
One of the problems that we had in this particular
investigation is there were numerous arms caches in this
particular area, and unfortunately we had not been able to find
any inventories of any discovered or destroyed munitions. We
continue to conduct additional interviews with NBC, EOD and the
engineering personnel and we are continuing to also look for
additional official reports, message traffic, and unit history.
Next slide please.
Based on what we've discovered so far, Tallil
contained large variety of munitions from many countries. It
had been checked by a FOX vehicle but there were no chemical
warfare agents detected by this system and there were no CW
emissions found in any of the Tallil munitions bunkers. And
our interim report for this particular case is being coordinate
for release.
DR. ROSTKER: Do you want to take questions now --
DR. LASHOF: Yeah, I think we'll take questions
first. Mark?
DR. BROWN: Ok, I'll start. I have a question
about the Al Jaber Airport report. I was wondering if you are
familiar, I assume you are familiar with a document that's
called "Ordnance Destroyed in Southwest Asia," that looked at
some of the, reported on some of the ordnance that was found
and found after the war? And in that document, doesn't that
document conclude that some of the records about what munitions
were present and what was destroyed are missing or lost?
LTC MORRIS: Unfortunately that's one of the
problems we have in most of our cases.
DR. BROWN: Sure.
LTC MORRIS: And that's why we've had to rely upon
interviews with people who were there and what they can in fact
DR. BROWN: Um hmm, because of the records of what
was actually present are not necessarily always complete.
Wasn't there some intelligence too, I understand, prior to the
war that the, and I guess this is one of the concerns why Al
Jaber might have been a chemical weapons site is that there was
some intelligence indicating that there were some 155-rounds,
possibly mustard, at the site.
LTC MORRIS: I believe that that is correct.
However, upon searching the site subsequent to that, that was
found not to be the case.
DR. BROWN: But I guess my point is, doesn't all
this information if you put it together, the uncertainty about
what was actually there, doesn't it suggest at least that it
was plausible that there could have been mustard rounds at this
site that could have, at least a few, perhaps even a single 155
round containing mustard that could have caused the detection
that Grass reported?
LTC MORRIS: There's always that possibility. We
also know that during a portion of this attack, there were some
artillery bombardments and it is possible that there were units
that were capable of firing 155-mm rounds that were within
range of Al Jaber.
LTC MORRIS: Basically what we have to do is, we
have to go with what we've found. And to date we haven't found
anything, although the possibility that there was something
there still exists.
DR. BROWN: Are you investi --
DR. ROSTKER: Say Mark, that's exactly why we do the
case narrative. There was sufficient information on Al Jaber
to warrant a full case narrative because of the reports that
you site.
DR. BROWN: Are you investigating the possibility
that there could have been Iraqi units with 155 mustard rounds
within range, within the range of a 155 round? Is that --?
LTC MORRIS: We've asked for that information.
DR. BROWN: Ok. One other point, we've, this
point that in subsequent to the ground war, subsequent to the
Gulf war, civilian construction, civilian engineering units
went in and looked for weapons and destroyed munitions, cleaned
up these sites in Kuwait. And we've had the opportunity to
speak to some of the civilians who had that job, had the
contract for destroying over a period of three years tons and
tons of munitions that were left in the Gulf. And they say, as
you point out in this narrative, that no chemical weapons were
even detected. But when you ask them, "Well, how do you know
that there weren't small lots of chemical weapons?" Basically
their operation was to round up tons and tons of munitions, put
them into open pits largely and then use ordnance, use
explosives to blow them up.
How do you know that there weren't in those
operations small lots of chemical weapons, 155 mustard rounds
or whatever, that weren't just overlooked? And it's not a far-fetched scenario because that is basically what happened at
Khamissiyah not once actually, but twice. It happened twice at
Khamissiyah where lots of chemical weapons were not correctly
identified and overlooked. And their answer is that they
agree. That it's possible that, you know, they can't be
certain what everything that they destroyed was.
So I guess I have some, there's some question in my
mind about relying too much on the observation that no, no
chemical weapons were found at Al Jaber Airfield. I mean, I
understand that that's true but that's, that you can be certain
that therefore that there weren't any is --
DR. ROSTKER: I don't think we can be ever certain
of anything. You are asking to prove a negative. We heard
some compelling information on the accounting of mustard rounds
yesterday, and the UN indicated that they do not believe
mustard rounds were ever sent south of Khamissiyah. Again,
this is just another piece of information. And as you know, it
goes in a scale of, from absolute to unlikely to possible to
definite. And we have to weigh all of the information when you
are finally, when we are finally finished with this.
DR. BROWN: Well, I guess my final comment would
be, I hope that the case narrative reflects the uncertainty
about what might have really happened there.
LTC MORRIS: It does.
MR. TURNER: You know, questions about the weight
that you'd give any particular piece of evidence are always
very difficult, and I think what Dr. Brown has just tried to do
is to lay out the level of uncertainty that all of us have to
deal with in looking at these events that happened several, is
it now six years ago --
MR. TURNER: -- for the events at Al Jaber. Can I
just walk through a couple of other kind of specific points,
COL Morris? There is a report in the 7th Marine Command
chronology and also in the 1st Combat Engineers' report that
there was a gas attack between 1800 and 1830 at Al Jaber on
February 25th. Could you talk to the Committee about that,
LTC MORRIS: Yes. There were a variety of alerts
as I indicated at the beginning of this report. Specifically
there were seven of them, and we really only concentrated on
the FOX. One of the things that we found over time is that for
one reason or another, soldiers perceive that something has
happened to them, and that they have been gassed. And this
can, in fact, make it into the logs. In the six events that I
did not describe, 256 kit tests were performed, unmasking
procedures were performed when appropriate and they were
subsequently determined not to, that there was nothing present
at the time.
Again, like the FOX detection and the fact that we
cannot definitively say that nothing was there, we are
basically dealing with the report at the time and the fact that
someone chose to document it. There may have been other
incidences that were not documented.
MR. TURNER: Have you, and by you I mean the IAD,
been able to ascertain the source of those specific reports
that appeared in the command chronology? Have you found the
person who entered the log and interviewed them? Have you been
able to go behind that log entry before making the decision
that it's something that doesn't add to the case?
LTC MORRIS: For those that we have not been able
to behind, we continue to look for those. We have found some.
MR. TURNER: But on, but specifically on those two
command log . . .[inaudible comments by male voice.]
DR. LASHOF: If you want someone else to answer the
questions, please feel free to introduce any other staff that
you would like to call upon to assist you in this. We have,
you know, protocol. No problem.
LTC MORRIS: As you had requested, we did in fact
bring the analysts who have done these particular cases and at
this time I'd like to introduce Mr. Jim Curren, who can answer
that question.
MR. CURREN: On the 1800 hours alert, we have
identified, we, in discussions with the Ripper NBC officer, he
identified that it, his best recollection was that this alert
happened approximately 25 km to his rear in a logistics train.
In fact, one of the logs states it happens in the logistics
train. We have been unable to find the source of who reported
it or shouted it out over the net at that time. We are still
trying to search. We have discussed this with several NBC
officers who were traveling in the logistics train, who have no
knowledge of this alert.
MR. TURNER: So it's fair to say it's a lead that
you are still tracking down --
MR. CURREN: Correct.
MR. TURNER: -- at this point. Ok. How soon after
Gunny Grass' report, I think it was at 1908, of mustard a
mustard agent detection at Al Jaber, did the 256 kit actual
test get run? Can you give the Committee some idea of what the
delay, how promptly it was done?
MR. CURREN: It was within two minutes. Everyone
within Task Force Ripper was at MOPP 4 within two minutes and
they started to run the 256 kits.
MR. TURNER: When did they start running the 256
MR. CURREN: Immediately but --
MR. TURNER: Immediately.
MR. CURREN: -- the logs show that at 1908, the FOX
reported it and at 1910, that Ripper went to MOPP 4.
MR. TURNER: And what is your basis? Did you
interview guys that said, "Yeah, we immediately started doing --"
MR. TURNER: "-- 256 kits." Ok. Just wanted to
walk through what the predicate is for those conclusions. Have
IAD staff now interviewed all the individuals who were involved
in running 256 kits responsive to these alerts or are there
still guys that you need to talk to?
MR. CURREN: We have interviewed the NBC officers
from 3rd Tank Battalion where Gunny Grass was located at the
time, and also the NBC officer of 7th Marine Regiment or Task
Force Ripper.
MR. TURNER: Right. Are those the only people who
were involved in running the 256 --
MR. CURREN: No. They would have delegated it all
the way down to company level. And they would have had each
company report back to them the results. When they would get
back sufficient results, then the would ask for them to do
selective unmasking. Then they would declare all clear.
DR. LASHOF: Elaine?
DR. LARSON: Just so understand a little bit better
how these interviews are being conducted and how many more you
have to do, have you identified the people that you need to
see? This investigation isn't closed. How many more do you
need to see and what's your time frame for finishing these
MR. CURREN: I would have hoped that discussing it
with one NBC officer, he could wrap the whole thing up nice and
neatly. But of course, one interview leads to a second
interview, leads to a third. I would hope to find the source
of the 1800 hours alert and I will continue to make interviews
and try to progress down that line. I currently have one lead
that I am pursuing on that.
DR. LARSON: Ok. So you are doing the interviews
yourself. Is that correct? By phone or in person? I am just
trying to get sense of --
MR. CURREN: By phone.
DR. LARSON: By phone. Okay. Yesterday we heard
testimony that it was very helpful in reconstructing what
actually happened by bringing groups together so that
recollections and, you know, recall was improved and I wondered
if you had used that technique at all where a group who were at
the same event were able to help each other's recall.
MR. CURREN: No we haven't.
DR. LASHOF: One of the concerns throughout all of
these have been the question of whether we had the FOX tapes
and what solid documentation we had on all these analyses.
What was the general protocol during the war? What were they
supposed to be doing with tapes and with confirmations? What
was supposed to be entered in the logs? Can you shed on that
for us?
LTC MORRIS: What we've found is that printing of a
FOX tape required an additional action by the operator.
Occasionally that did not occur and in many cases the people in
the NBC chain who would get tapes when operators who did, in
fact, believe that it was appropriate to document repeatedly,
would pass their tapes up. They would look at them, they would
make an assessment based on the training that they had. And if
they didn't see anything that appeared to substantiate a
detection and I'd like to remind the Committee that it's a two-step process. It's the alert and the spectrum which confirms
the detection. If an NBC officer in the chain decided that it
was not a positive detection based on his review of what he had
in front of him at the time, in many cases these things were
not kept.
In hindsight, this is very unfortunate because it
would be extremely helpful. However, what they were trying to
do at the time was fight a war and they figured that if they
didn't have anything, they didn't need to keep it.
DR. ROSTKER: I would remind the Committee that this
was a new piece of equipment. I believe the Marines had it
less than two weeks actually in theater, so that they were
still developing procedures. It's very clear if you review the
material that there was an impression that there could be no
false positives on the alert. And what we're looking at in
many of these reports are reports simply on the alert. It is
quite clear in going back and working with the manufacturer and
understanding the capability of the MM1 mass spectrometer, that
the only proof is through a full spectrum analysis. And that
was not performed in many cases, and certainly not fully
In cases where there was a positive alert and they
went back later and did the work, at the same time did a mass
spectrometer, if it didn't produce, they didn't save it and we
are left with a positive alert and no confirmation. Certainly
we will have recommendations on, to the services on the
documentation that needs to be kept, including the
corroboration of any alert in the positive or a negative way.
And that was just not done across the board.
DR. LASHOF: Yeah, sure.
DR. BROWN: Make sure it's clear what you just
said here. What I think I heard you just say is that the alarm
of the MM1 FOX mass spectrometer can't, you can't be sure
whether it's a real detection or something else, or a false
positive. To prove it, you need the full spectrum tape, the
record from the full spectrum. And those cases which
unfortunately occurred, more often that we would have liked
perhaps --
DR. BROWN: -- where you don't have the full
spectrum tape, you can't prove it really one way or the other.
DR. ROSTKER: And that's correct. And even when
there is a full spectrum tape, sometimes it remains ambiguous.
I don't think anybody at the time expected that this was
anything more than alarming vehicle and that the issue of proof
later on, of both negative or positive, would become as
important as it has. And I think we have to make sure our
doctrine and procedures reflect that more intensely in the
I think as we get into the Marine Breaching
Operation, this will become almost painfully clear because of
the nature of the time delay in stopping and cooling the head,
and taking a mass spectrometer was noted at the time that this
was not possible in certain operations where the vehicle was on
the move, a highly desirable feature of the vehicle, but
creates the ambiguities that we're now trying to sort out.
DR. LASHOF: Yes, Elaine, continue.
DR. LARSON: Again, just to give the Committee a
sense of the due diligence with which these interviews have
been conducted and the procedure, with regard to Tallil, could
you tell us how many, you said the emphasis was on direct
firsthand observations by experts qualified to recognize CW
munitions. First of all, how did you define that and secondly,
how many firsthand observers have you actually interviewed, and
are you finished with that?
LTC MORRIS: At this time I'd like to introduce Don
Eckstein, who is the analyst who is, who has investigated this
case, and he will answer that question.
MR. ECKSTEIN: Good morning. We have not finished
with the interviews. The interviews are being conducted by
both members, a member of the VDM staff, Veterans Data
Management staff who I brief weekly on the status of my
investigation and what I am looking for and who I am trying to
contact. And in key situations where the people have key
knowledge or conducted key activities, I conduct the interview
myself. We are currently around approximately 130 people
interviewed as of today. The interviews are continuing. There
is an emphasis being placed on EOD personnel because of their
technical career field places a premium on expertise in
recognizing weapons. The features that go with certain types
of weapons and whether or not these weapons could be chemical
weapons. And that is one of the emphasis I am placing on my
DR. LARSON: Ok, and I am sorry to be so picky but
when you call them, it's all by phone. How do you introduce
yourself? What do you say is the purpose of this questioning?
And how do you conduct the interview? That's very important I
MR. ECKSTEIN: Yes. And if I may follow up on what
you've asked the previous analyst as far as conducting group
interviews or that type of activity. In fact, many if not most
of my interviews have been in fact, field trips. The one
interview that I conducted with the only individual to date
that I've located that has entered the S-shaped bunker was an
EOD technician that was assigned to the 60th EOD. I did
interview him a group situation. I was a member of the team
that was conducting the Khamissiyah interviews, so in that
interview situation, we had contractors providing technical
expertise. A CIA member was there. There were several members
of the Khamissiyah team, and myself were there.
Then after we went through that, during that day that
particular member that I interviewed did not participate
because again, the focus was on Khamissiyah. And then I
interviewed him after the Khamissiyah questioning was over, as
far as what what he specifically did at Tallil, and he
described in great detail -- I was very impressed with his
professionalism and recall -- what he did at Tallil, when and
where he visited, and what they had to deal with there.
DR. LARSON: That's helpful because I know I would
be extremely suspicious if somebody called me up on the phone
and ask, started asking me about something that happened in the
war six years ago.
MR. ECKSTEIN: Yes, and that's why we place an
emphasis on VDM making the initial contact and VDM, if I may
use the phrase, tries to do as much of a soup to nuts interview
as possible, going on all, going into all the different factors
that our organization is trying to investigate, which includes
not only chem-bio but environmental and medical. And then
during that interviewing process, if they mention certain key
words and in my case it would be, "I was at Tallil," then that
interviewer has a list of 20 questions that I provided him that
explores the depth of their knowledge and the depth of their
experience while they were at Tallil.
And then in addition to that, and that's provided by,
that's done by all the interviewers, I have a specific
interviewer that I work with that I provide specific names of
individuals and he invests in some cases quite an amount of his
time trying to contact these individuals who often work shift
work or are TDY or are out of the area, and he has to follow up
before he makes the initial con --
DR. ROSTKER: Let me, this is an important point.
Let me explain a little bit more. We get leads from a variety
of places. We have a team that is roughly 20 people who handle
the telephone interviews. And we've done that so that if there
are subsequent interviews, it's not a matter of referring the
same lead to different people where we have to start over
again. We're very cognizant of respecting the veteran and his
time. And so we assign a contact manager to husband the
interactions between our office and that veteran to build a
rapport with that veteran. And then the contact manager works
with the individual teams to make sure that they are fully
aware of what information they get in a lead or in a follow up
and to make sure that we are handling this in a most
professional manner, fully informing the veteran who we are,
what we are doing, making sure that there is follow up and
continuity in our contacts, in our relationship with the
The last thing we want to do is debrief a veteran on
an incident, and then have somebody call the next day and say,
"You know, I am from a different team. Would you start over
again and tell me who you are." So we're very cognizant of
building that relationship and husbanding it, husbanding the
time and managing time with the veteran, being respectful of
him or her, and what they can contribute.
DR. BROWN: Because Tallil is such a, in my view,
kind of high visibility --
DR. ROSTKER: Yes sir.
DR. BROWN: -- where you have a lot of rumors, at
least, circulating, I just want to ask this question. Is it
your intention to interview every individual who has come to
IAD or IAD has information about, saying, "I saw chemical
munitions at Tallil." That is your plan, Dr. Rostker?
DR. ROSTKER: As I, as the President said, "Leave no
stone unturned."
DR. BROWN: Thanks.
DR. ROSTKER: And I might say that that's why these
cases take so long when -- I wish we were finished with all of
these. Dee mentioned that this started with my predecessor
organization. We took over in November. I would have loved to
have all the cases finished by early, early spring. But when
you are dealing with interviewing 130 people and we still have
leads, as you have suggested, Mr. Turner, I, it just is almost
an open-ended commitment until we feel we have done a
professional job, can document it, and as you know, as we go
through these cases, we not only footnote it but we then link
it to the underlying document so you and anyone else can see
why we are drawing whatever conclusions we are drawing. It is
a very time consuming process.
DR. BROWN: All right. I had a question for Mr.
Curren who I guess is still in the room. That is, you've heard
about the general issue of uncertainty and how an analyst has
to deal with the lack of perfect information about events. You
have heard the uncertainty about whether or not there were 155
mustard rounds in the vicinity, and there is at least some
uncertainty about whether or not Iraqi artillery units could
have been within range with such weapons at their disposal and
could have fired at least a single mustard round.
In your opinion, is it at least possible that the
detection recorded by GySGT Grass was real?
MR. CURREN: It is, as the narrative will state,
unlikely but it is within the realm of possibility. It is,
however, highly unlikely in my opinion, very highly unlikely.
The only case we have been definitive about is Camp Monterey
case. Camp Monterey case where we had, where we had the 20
labs and a full tape and the like even the morning breaching
operation we've labeled as unlikely and that's as far as we've
been able or willing to go in terms of it even though the vast
amount of evidence suggests that this was not a chemical
release. We would say unlikely and that's our best judgment at
this time.
DR. ROSTKER: Just so the committee remembers the
Camp Monterey case, you were able to identify chemical agent as
MR. CURREN: That's correct.
DR. ROSTKER: With definitive certainty.
MR. CURREN: With definitive certainty three
independent labs, the physical mixture of the chemical. We
only had an alert and the physics of the MM1 in terms of its
setting and the ion counts showed that this was a high
probability for a false alarm on the alert. No question on the
full mask spectrometer. That's pretty definitive. We just
don't have that level of definitive in the cases we're working
so the extent to which we're willing to call it that it didn't
happen would be unlikely at this point.
DR. ROSTKER: Well, I would just to remind the
committee that we had the opportunity to look at the mass
spectra of these different agents and compare them ourselves
and basically come to essentially the same exact conclusion. MR. CURREN: Our experts --
MR. TURNER: It's always nice when they agree.
DR. LASHOF: I'm sure it's nice for you when they
agree with you. Let me ask some further questions about
Tallil. We bombed out during the war and we blew up the dumps
afterwards. Is that correct?
MR. ECKSTEIN: Yes, that is correct.
DR. LASHOF: And what do we really know about what
was there at Tallil? I mean how firm were we as to what kind
of shells, rockets, chemicals were there or not there?
MR. ECKSTEIN: As COL Morris mentioned, the primary
concern whenever I was investigating Tallil was there was a
bunker known as a S-shaped bunker.
DR. LASHOF: Right.
MR. ECKSTEIN: Or a S-type bunker that was located at
Tallil. There was a prior association of S-shaped bunkers with
chemical weapons or chemical warfare and because of that any
facility Tallil was one of 22 facilities that had an S-shaped
bunker located at it. So when I received the case, that was my
primary concern was to identify if anybody had visited the
inside of that bunker and who had done so and what did they see
and what else was located on base.
During the course of my investigation, I have
interviewed a number of chemical warfare type people a number
of EOD people, and I located one individual that described
accurately what the S-shaped bunker looked like as far as its
physical characteristics when he went into it. And when I say
physical characteristics, this particular bunker was hit by a
2,000 pound weapon during the air campaign that was designed to
penetrate concrete bunkers. The roof had partially collapsed
so it was possible for someone to enter this facility and he
described, I believe, the nature of the collapsed roof and he
described the contents inside of the bunker as being partially
collapsed. He saw scorching on the walls. He saw rubble and I
was asking him very directly multiple times did you see
anything in this bunker that was recognizable beyond rubble and
he denied seeing anything that looked either like a munition
shaped like a bomb or a crate that contains a weapon or a bomb.
That is the only person to date that I have found that has been
inside that bunker and I believe because of the conditions on
Tallil, that is probably the only person that was actually
inside that bunker.
DR. LASHOF: (Inaudible)
MR. ECKSTEIN: And you ask other, other things beyond
that. But I wanted --
DR. LASHOF: Yeah, but when he went in and saw this
rubble and so on, I guess I'm not clear enough as to what that
means as to what could have been there prior to blowing it up
if all we have is rubble, then what does that tell us about
what could have been there prior to our blowing it up?
MR. ECKSTEIN: Exactly and there's no way for me to
state with certainty what was in there prior to the bunker
getting hit. The testimony by the CIA representative, Mr.
Walpole this morning also covered Tallil and the nearby
Nassiriyah southwest ASP which also had an S-shaped bunker and
he stated during his testimony that the Iraqis were very
cognizant that we were going to attack these type of bunkers
and we're moving, if indeed they stored chemical munitions in
these bunkers, they were moved out by the time the air campaign
During the course of my investigation, I have not
uncovered anything that indicated chemical weapons were stored
in that bunker at the time of the air campaign and my interview
with that particular individual could not prove because you
don't know what might be located under rubble and this was a
fairly large bunker. But he did not see anything that looked
like any sort of a weapon shape whether it was conventional,
chemical, or if in fact there was anything stored in that
bunker at the time it was hit.
DR. ROSTKER: And UNSCOM I believe has to been to
Tallil also so they have inspected it further.
DR. LASHOF: Well, it must have been something in
the bunker when we hit it. No?
MR. ECKSTEIN: Well, I --
DR. LASHOF: Would we hit a bunker that has
MR. ECKSTEIN: Well, I would just again drove on what
the CIA representative stated this morning that the Iraqis were
cognizant. The air war started on the 17th of January and
very, very high on the list of targets that we struck
immediately was anything that was associated with either
chemical or biological production or storage.
DR. LASHOF: Right.
MR. ECKSTEIN: The bunker at Tallil was one of 22 S-shaped bunkers that were assessed to have that potential role
and Tallil was very high on the list to be struck. Because of
weather considerations, the pilots were not able to attack that
particular installation and that particular bunker at Tallil
until approximately two weeks into the air war.
DR. LASHOF: I see.
DR. LASHOF: In that two week period we believe
that the Iraqis moved them out of there because they knew we
were going in. Is that right?
MR. ECKSTEIN: I would say that I did not turn up
anything that was stored in there prior to the start of the air
campaign. That is certainly a possibility. There was evidence
on other cases that as soon as they saw the 17th of January
that we were striking chemical storage facilities that they
were highly motivated to move their munitions out of these
facilities into other areas.
And one particular example that was previously given
was the 6,000 plus 155 mustard rounds that were moved from the
Nassiriyah southwest ASP to a pit storage, not storage facility
but literally a pit dug in the ground five kilometers west of
the Khamissiyah depots.
DR. ROSTKER: But we have no indications that there
were chemicals at Tallil at all. I want to make that clear.
LTC MORRIS: And UNSCOM has not found any.
DR. LASHOF: Okay. I think I get the picture.
MR. ECKSTEIN: Other questions?
MR. KOWALOK: If I may ask a question, LTC Morris.
LTC Morris, I want to make sure I'm not missing something. A
particular word you used on the briefing slides, I'm not sure
of the slides that were presented this morning, but the ones
that you forwarded to us for our briefing. I understand the
nature of the case to be mostly driven by the presence of an S-shaped bunker.
But on the slides there's a reports of incident, an
incident is the word I was asking about. Is there some
particular incident other than the idea that a S-shaped bunker
was there or are you using that word generically?
LTC MORRIS: I think what you're talking about is
one of the headings that we picked up from your request where
we are asked to talk about things in a particular order and
certain things. And we used the reports of incident, reports
of case, more or less as a generic heading.
LTC MORRIS: We used it both Tallil and al Jaber.
MR. KOWALOK: Thanks. So it appears to me than the
nature of the case now and for the remaining efforts are
really, is really a matter of running down the rumors and that
there really isn't so far any one major uncertainty that you're
trying to track on but rather falling down each rumor or
possibility that someone has mentioned.
LTC MORRIS: Right. As we've indicated our charter
is to leave no stone unturned.
LTC MORRIS: And one of the things that we've run
into in a lot of these investigations was the perception on the
part of a number of people who were present at the time,
rightly or wrongly that chemical weapons were marked in a
certain way and we found that those indications actually differ
from group to group. And so to ensure that we're not ignoring
something or looking at something with a biased eye we follow
as many rumors as we can find so that we can, in fact, as best
we can get to the ground truth of what did in fact occur.
MR. KOWALOK: I understand. The last question is
also on the briefing slides you sent our way last week, but not
mentioned this morning, is about a munition that did have
markings at the time according to the slide was one munition
with yellow bans and other CW possible physical characteristics
was reported. I'm aware of a suspicious looking munition that
was found sort of blown up in the Nassiriyah area. I'm
wondering whether this was possibly the munition that you meant
here in this slide or no.
LTC MORRIS: If you've noticed, what we briefed
today did not, in fact, include that.
LTC MORRIS: And the determination we made is that
did, in fact, occur at the Nassiriyah southwest depots which is
not included in the case that we're currently dealing with. It
will be looked at in the future.
DR. NISHIMI: That is the same.
MR. KOWALOK: Shell. It's the same shell.
LTC MORRIS: Yes, that is the same shell.
MR. KOWALOK: You expect that to be part of your
Nassiriyah investigation.
MR. KOWOLOK: Thank you.
DR. NISHIMI: I just have a point of clarification.
We had conflicting information that BP101 was going to be part
of Tallil and then more recently the examination of BP101 was
not going to be part of the Tallil case narrative. So I would
just like to know what really is.
MS. DAVIS: BP101 is not part of the Tallil
DR. NISHIMI: So it's on a list of pending topics to
be discussed.
MS. DAVIS: That's correct. As I think we may
have discussed before.
MS. DAVIS: BP101 is an area that we specifically
asked the Army IG to take a look at in the context of the work
that they are doing in terms of Khamissiyah and other similar
situations. What we are going to do frankly is wait to see
what their report indicates to the extent that it answers any
questions about BP101, hopefully that will be dispositive of
the issues. If not, we will carry on from the work that they
have done.
DR. ROSTKER: This was a message that was uncovered
by Mr. Jajko's group and I made the determination that husband
resources that I would ask the Army to investigate 101 as part
of their very extensive field investigations of those units and
we'll see where, we expect that report within as part of their
IG report within a month and we'll see the month of August and
we'll see where that is. And if it's not adequately dealt
with, then we will carry on further.
DR. NISHIMI: So then the Tallil case narrative
really is just about the air base itself period.
DR. ROSTKER: That's correct.
DR. NISHIMI: None of these other sort of things --
DR. ROSTKER: No, because the BP101 was really the
issue of the subsequent an indication. 101 there are three
battle positions; 101, 102, and 103. 101 faces the Tallil air
base. 102 I believe faces Khamissiyah and that was the
objective in Khamissiyah. So there was some confusion when we
sorted that confusion out since it was a matter for the 24th
Division and they were, the Army was doing extensive interviews
within the 24th Division. We notified them of the Jajko
message and asked them to include it in their analysis and they
agreed to.
MR. TURNER: I just have kind of two areas that are
not on the two specific sites but -- can you give us some kind
of indication whether we can expect to get an update on BP101
and whatever the Nassiriyah munition work at the September
meeting with the committee?
DR. ROSTKER: I think 101 will depend upon the Army
IG. I will because I think it is very important and this is
your last meeting, I will ask the Army IG to with all deliver
speed see if he can report before that so that you will have a
chance to internalize that report and ask any questions. So,
we'll press them as hard as they will.
MR. TURNER: And the reason I raise the Nassiriyah
is again, Nassiriyah is a prominent site that has received a
lot of attention throughout the work this committee has done
and the work that's gone on in this issue.
MR. TURNER: And it would be I think desirable for
all of us to have whatever we can get out on the table in
September with respect to this particular munition.
DR. ROSTKER: Yes sir, we will.
MR. TURNER: Seventeen sites you touched on early
before the presentations on Tallil and al Jabber, your staff
briefed the committee's staff on work that was done to follow
up on the tasker that went out. As I understand it, the tasker
went to 7th Corps to conduct reconnaissance of sites at
Khamissiyah and what actually transpired was 7th Corps did not
in fact conduct those reconnaissances, if that's the right way
to say that word, but rather relied up earlier work that had
been done by the 18th Airborne Corps. Is that your
understanding, Dr. Rostker?
DR. ROSTKER: We've been able to identify one direct
FRAG order that resulted in the subsequent report on
Khamissiyah. Interestingly enough, the 17 report request was
much earlier than the FRAG order. The FRAG order comes several
weeks later so we're not sure whether they're related. But
there was a order to investigate and we have been able to
determine that while the log suggests that there was an
independent investigation by 7th Corps, that was not the case.
As we got down to it, the decision was made that this had been
investigated by the 82nd Division and that was good enough for
them and they simply repeated the conclusion drawn by the 82nd
MS. DAVIS: Jim, I'd also like to point out that
we found that with respect to the 2nd ACR, we've not yet been
able to go to that level of detail with either the 1st or the
3rd although we have found an indication of what the 3rd ACR
reported but not unlike the situation that we had with the 2nd
ACR. We don't know whether that was based on reconnaissance or
based on a separate inspection.
MS. PORTER: So you are following through to make
sure that the other sites on the FRAG order were in fact
inspected and not depending the report back from the FRAG order
wasn't depended on earlier inspections.
MS. DAVIS: We're trying to determine whether or
not that FRAG order just as we did with the 2nd ACR led to a
subsequent inspection. We're trying to find out what happened.
In the case of the 2nd ACR we have been able to find out that
the 2nd ACR specifically did not inspect the sites. They
relied on an earlier inspection by the 82nd Airborne. I don't
know at the moment whether that is similarly true with the 1st
and the 3rd ACR. We are looking to try to answer that same
question for those two units.
MS. PORTER: Was that a common practice to go back
to earlier reports of visits, inspections?
DR. ROSTKER: I would say it was not. It's my
impression but clearly as we peel this onion back, we were able
to ascertain that in this particular case that was the fact and
we're trying to do the same in the other cases to get to the
bottom of it.
MS. DAVIS: And, you know, we also in the course
of doing that discovered the reason and the basic reason was
that the inspection had been performed. The prior inspection
the 82nd Airborne inspection had been performed within the same
approximate time frame. I mean in other words, this was not
something that was two years old and that was a real concern
for unexploded ordinance for sending the troops in. So it
became a safety issue as much as anything else.
MR. TURNER: But I guess another way to put it is
you have these reports that came back in response to a tasker
saying there's no chemical found at whatever site it is. Is it
your current intention to try to ascertain the basis for each
of those conclusions that no chemical was found at Tallil. No
chemical was found at each of the Tall Al Lahm sites. No
chemical was found at the other sites that are on the FRAG
order and the underlying list of 17?
MS. DAVIS: With respect to the sites that were in
the FRAG order we are content with that one. We are continuing
to try to find out what the 1st and the 3rd ACR did with in
terms of inspections. As Dr. Rostker said and Mr. Walper said
this morning, on the other sites some of them we know some
things about. You've heard LTC Morris and Don talk about
Tallil and the inspections that were done of Tallil. We note
some things about Nassiriyah.
In the course of that case narrative, we're going to
walk it all the way through why did it show up on list and what
happened and where did it go and what do we know about mustard
rounds that ended up down at Khamissiyah and that entire story.
For the most part as Mr. Walper said this morning we don't have
any indication in many cases that there was any inspection done
at all. We don't have any indication that there was an
inspection not done. And we don't have, have not yet just by
looking and searching and talking to folks and talking to folks
in units have not found anything that would say hah, hah, they
looked, didn't look and found this, didn't find this. And I
say at the moment that that is going to lead to the kinds of
intensive effort that we did on the 2nd ACR where it took us a
month and we interviewed 25 people to find out that no, they
had not inspected the thing. I cannot promise that for every
site on the 17.
In terms of the FRAG order, I think that we will by
virtue of the effort that we have already started be able to
answer that pretty definitively for the FRAG order and expect
that information is going to be rolled into the updated
Khamissiyah narrative when that is published.
MR. TURNER: Thank you.
DR: LASHOF: Okay. If there are no further
questions at this point, I think we'll take a 15 minute break.
We'll come back and do the Marines Breaching. It's very likely
that we'll be able to finish my noon time or by lunch break.
DR. LASHOF: I guess we'll get started. We're
waiting for Robyn Nishimi. But okay. I guess she's been
delayed. So, we'll go ahead and start. Dr. Rostker, Davis,
welcome back again and we'll proceed onto an update on your
Marine breaching in the 11th Marines and the others that you
want to bring us up to date on.
MS. DAVIS: Dr. Lashof, members of the committee
and staff, as you know, I am Ann Racknel Davis, Director of
Investigations and Analysis within the Office of Special
Assistant. I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you
today and bring you up to date on where we are on a number of
cases. You requested updated status reports on are work
related to Marines Breaching, al Jaber, 11th Marines, the ASP
Orchard case and the Edgewood tapes. Additionally, you asked
us to discuss our plan to address the next set of case
investigations and I'm prepared to do all of those this
As we've testified before you in the past, the Marine
Breaching case covers the report of chemical detections which
occurred during the Marine mine field breaching operations on
February 24, 1991, the first day of the Ground War. You heard
a great deal of testimony both from us and from specific
marines involved at the hearing in Charleston and the events
focused on the first, the detection reported by GySGT Gras in
Task Force Ripper in the 1st Marine Division. And this is the
depiction of the 1st Marine Division operation through the mine
field on the 24th. There is also a detection that was reported
and that you heard testimony from MSG Bradford about in the 2nd
Marine Division again, on the first day of the war, the 24th of
February in '91.
Using the methodology we derived from the United
Nations verification protocols, we have researched the Marine
Corps historical records, operational reports and records,
prior testimony presented by marines who were present during
the breaching operation and technical data on the detection
equipment. We interviewed marines up and down the chain of
command to obtain the fullest account of what happened during
the operation and the specific detections.
As Dr. Rostker has already indicated, yesterday we
released the Marine Breaching Operation interim case narrative
and copies have been provided to all of you and to the staff.
We also released the FOX vehicle information paper which helps
put the Marine Breaching case into context because it explains
what the equipment can and cannot do on the battlefield.
Based on the review of all of the evidence available
to us at this time, we have assessed in each case for the
detections of both the 1st Marine Division and the 2nd Marine
Division that it is unlikely that chemical warfare agents were
present in either of their areas of the breach. The case
narrative walks through the basis for the assessment in each of
those cases.
In the case of the 1st Marine Division assessment,
essentially we ended up having a report of a trace amount of
agent as the FOX was moving through the battlefield. After
talking to all of the crew members as well as other people in
the area both who preceded the FOX vehicle through the breach
and then followed the FOX vehicle through the breach, we've
been unable to find any indication that, in fact, there were
chemical agents present and we do not have any indication in
that particular case of any injuries that were sustained
consistent with that detection.
For the 2nd Marine Division, we actually are in a
position of having had a FOX vehicle tape. We did have that
tape analyzed not only by CBDCOM but also by the National
Institute of Standards and Brooker, the manufacturer of the
vehicle. The results of those analyses are all contained in
the narrative along with hyperlinks to the actual reports
themselves. Based on the review of the actual tape that was
provided by MSG Bradford, the analyses all conclude that the
alerts in the 2nd Marine Division were consistent with false
positives due to interfering hydrocarbons on the battlefield.
With regard to the possible chemical injury that
occurred in the 2nd Marine Division area of operations while we
have initiated expert medical evaluations of the injury and
have done a number of interviews with our experts interviewing
both the marine who indicated that he had sustained the injury
as well as a lot of other people in his unit. That was a group
probably one of the all time group interviews as a matter of
fact that we did for this particular narrative. We have not
yet received our medical experts final analysis and their delay
in providing it to us is that they still want to talk to both
the corps men who had looked at the injury at the time that it
occurred as well as the doctor who looked at the injury and
evaluated it at the time that it was not a chemical injury.
So in that regard, our current narrative has at least
one area that we know we have to update and that is to
incorporate that expert evaluation when we receive it.
However, it is noted our preliminary assessment based on the
other indications including the FOX tape and the interviews
with the folks in the unit around that particular FOX detection
is that it is unlikely that chemical warfare agents was present
at the time of the injury. Both Marine Breaching Operations
and the FOX vehicle information paper have been posted on Gulf
Link with full hypertext links to all of the resource materials
that were used in compiling the narrative.
DR. ROSTKER: May I suggest we take questions on
each of these cases?
DR. LASHOF: Yes, I think that's probably a very
good idea. I was just going to ask that as to what you're
going to next. So let us deal with Marine Breaching first.
Let me ask some questions because we went through some of this
in the Charleston meeting and I want to clarify it again. You
made the statement that the analysis of the tape was consistent
with a false positive. Was it also consistent with a true
MS. DAVIS: No, ma'am. I'm sorry if that led to
that. All three experts that we had looked at and as I said it
was CBDCOM, National Institute of Standards, and Brooker, all
concluded based on the tape and the way it was the vehicle was
operating and the sampling mode that it was in, that the
spectrum that was run on the tape indicated that, in fact, the
reading was a false positive due to hydrocarbons.
DR. ROSTKER: The alarming was.
DR. BROWN: Can I just jump in here? We've spoken
to all three groups that you just mentioned and I really came
away with quite a different impression of what they said. I
mean, just for instance, your own analyst said as with the
CBDCOM reference that you mentioned they wrote back, I'll just
quote from their own analysis, they say "We cannot with great
certainty conclude that chemical warfare compounds were not
present". I think it gets to the basic issue what we were
talking about earlier.
Looking at tapes just showing an alarm in the absence
of a full spectra you can't be sure. And so I don't think it's
quite accurate to say that the tapes I think are trim and
really hit it on the head. The tapes are consistent with a
false positive but they're also consistent with a real
detection. You can't by looking at the tapes alone be certain.
DR. LASHOF: Are we in a position where you're
telling us that your experts are telling you one thing and
they're telling us something else or we both looking at the
same document, the same report from your experts?
MS. DAVIS: Well, the CBDCOM report says as I
remember without having it in front of me, that we can't say
with a degree of certainty but our opinion is that it was a
false positive.
DR. BROWN: That's a fair characterization of what
you just said. But they can't, you can't rule it out. You
can't be certain one way or the other.
MS. DAVIS: I think that's absolutely true and I
think that's consistent with the kinds of things that we have
said throughout that in many cases even with the FOX tape
unless there was a full spectrum run in every case, unless we
have all of the tape and the tape information that the fact
that we have a tape that shows an alert as well as fatty waxes
and oil as an example would indicate that it was picking up an
interferant. But you cannot know for absolutely positive for
sure based on looking at those two lines on a tape which it
was. You are correct in that regard.
DR. NISHIMI: I would characterize however that
CBDCOM memo a little bit differently. They made the assertion
first that they believed it was a false positive and then they
said we cannot with great certainty conclude that chemicals
were not present. So we cannot conclude with great certainty
is highly ambiguous.
DR. ROSTKER: Well, that's why --
DR. NISHIMI: And that's not even in the narrative.
It's not even presented as a fact that they said that in the
DR. ROSTKER: And that's why we drew an ultimate
conclusion of unlikely rather then a conclusion of similar to
the one we drew in the Camp Monterey case of positively was not
MS. DAVIS: I guess --
DR. NISHIMI: I'm sorry. Immediate response to
that, I don't understand why that's not a conclusion of
indeterminate rather than unlikely.
DR. ROSTKER: Because we're putting all of the
pieces of evidence together and it is our judgment that it is
unlikely because it's not just a single piece of evidence. It
is the evidence from the other people who were exposed in MOPP
2 at a point where the alarm was sounded. It was the fact that
there was no delivery vehicle, the suspicion that there was a
chemical mine that no one has ever seen. All of that gives us
the assessment that it was unlikely. So it's not one piece of
information that is driving any of our conclusions.
DR. NISHIMI: I understand that it's not one piece
of information but this particular piece of information wasn't
even present in the narrative for others to draw their own
DR. ROSTKER: We have the entire report hyperlinked
for you or anybody else to draw any conclusions you choose to
draw from it.
DR. BROWN: Well, I can just jump in here again?
It just struck me, I just have the case, the opportunity to
read the case narrative just this morning actually.
DR. ROSTKER: You've had the case narrative since
the 10th of July.
DR. BROWN: You're right. You're absolutely
right. But I mean, the version that you released finally, I
had the case to read this morning. You're right. We had a
earlier version of it available to our staff. But what struck
me about it is sort of slightly odd is it seemed to imply great
certainty about the conclusions. Yet when you look at the data
that supported that such as the NIST analysis, CBDCOM analysis,
even Brooker's analysis, that's not, they are not providing
that type of certainty.
You're characterizing the narrative their statements
as NIST analyzed the tapes and said these were false positives
to oil well and smoke and that's not really what they said.
They said basically, what we agreed to this morning that from
looking at the tape by itself you really can't be certain one
way or the other. You know you can have your biases. You can
look at other information, the type that you mentioned to come
to a conclusion.
But looking at the tapes alone does not allow you to
be certain about whether a detection was real or not. And I
guess what troubles me is in the case narrative you seem to
imply that the NIST analysis for instance is somehow
conclusive. Am I making myself clear?
MR. TURNER: I think what we have been trying to do
in the narratives is indicate that we followed all the leads
that we can, that we have tried to get the analysis of the
tapes done by recognized experts --
DR. BROWN: Sure.
MR. TURNER: -- so that we aren't relying on my
opinion I guess is the best way to say it because I will not
pretend that I could do an analysis like that of the tape. In
each case you're right. They are indicating that they've
analyzed it. This is what they see and based on the range of
possible's, this is what they think it probably is and that's
what we've characterized in the narrative. Had they
characterized it the other way, that's what we would have
presented in the narrative.
DR. BROWN: Well, I guess what troubles me is I
think your approach is impeccable to go to experts such as NIST
analysts and get them to talk about this is a great approach.
I guess where I have some problem is how you characterize what
they said in this report.
DR. ROSTKER: Once again, this is a tricky area
because it deals with the weight that you lend a particular
pieces of evidence and when you're relying on an expert opinion
whether it's from NIST or from the manufacturer for credibility
purposes, it's incumbent to put in the caveat up front that
show the limitations on what that expert can tell you.
I think that's what Dr. Brown and Dr. Nishimi both
have been trying to lay out that the degree of certainty that
these experts can give you is not nearly as high as we would
like to have to be able to reach a conclusion that this event
was unlikely. But let me repeat. It is not a single piece of
information that drives us to that conclusion.
DR. BROWN: I wasn't trying to suggest that.
MR. TURNER: I'm not trying to say we're talking
about just single. But this is one example, you know. There
can be other examples within the narrative and unless all the
facts are laid out individually and then collated whole. I'm
not talking about unlikely for the whole narrative.
DR. ROSTKER: These as with any case narrative what
we have produced it is tentative. I accept your comments. I
understand what you're saying.
DR. LASHOF: Okay. One last thing I want to ask.
One of the commitments you made to us before was that in the
case narrative you would lay out all the evidence that you
made. You would draw your conclusion but it would be up to the
reader to be able to draw their conclusion.
MS. DAVIS: Absolutely.
DR. LASHOF: And in that spirit, we think it is
incumbent that if the report of the experts has some caveats
those caveats should be in there so that each of us can weigh
these ourselves.
DR. ROSTKER: They are in there in the sense that
we've hyperlinked all of the documents so that you can see it.
But I accept your admonition.
DR. BROWN: I think it's clear that ain't enough.
DR. ROSTKER: I accept your admonition.
DR. LASHOF: Yeah, okay. Yeah, okay.
DR. ROSTKER: I understand.
DR. LASHOF: Let me ask just for my own
clarification on this I think we've accepted that. When the
experts had said that they read, they believe it is more likely
to be a false positive, I think that's what I'm hearing you're
saying the experts said that they can't rule it out but it's
more likely. Can you give me a sense of on what basis?
Because our previously discussion of the FOX was clearly that
we got this fight. That it could be due to a lot of things and
unless you stop, waited 20 minutes and cooled it and ran it
again, you couldn't do anything and everybody agrees that's not
possible. In our last meeting, we left it that there was no
way of leaning one way or the other. Now you're saying we can
lean one way or the other.
DR. ROSTKER: That's why we published the FOX paper
along with it to understand that.
DR. LASHOF: Yeah, which I haven't had a chance to
read yet. I just got that this morning.
DR. ROSTKER: But I think Mr. Turner asked last time
did that mean we were always going to question the FOX because
of -- and I think the particular answer, the answer here is we
had a particularly contaminated battlefield with a known
interferant that substantially polluted the readings that were
being taken at this time and place. I mean, the accounts of
the oil well fires, of the saturation of hydrocarbons of the
extent of those saturations that being the known interferant
that showing up as on all of these tapes makes in this
particular case, the FOX vehicle particularly suspect. That's
not true of other places where we did not have the substantial
hydrocarbon saturation.
DR. LASHOF: Can you elucidate for me though, I
mean I understand that. But what bothers me about that is one,
wouldn't the FOX have gone off a lot more? Because that
contamination was there over quite a period and yet if it's
background contamination was unique that contamination kicked
it off at this particular point and time rather than quite
frequently. I would have expected the FOX to go off an awful
lot because of that.
LTC MORRIS: Ma'am, we don't know that it didn't.
As I was explaining earlier, there were a lot of
contemporaneous evaluations of tapes that might have been
printed out and determinations made by people on the ground
that perhaps it wasn't what people initially thought. It's
highly likely that there were a number of false alerts for a
variety of things that FOX operators looked at. They took the
time to evaluate the capabilities of their equipment and the
other things that were going around them made determinations at
the time that it was, in fact, a false alert and it never got
reported. We've never heard about it because it never became
an incident.
DR. LASHOF: Do you have evidence of that? I mean,
have you talked to other FOX people and the marine that
testified here with his FOX. I mean he was going through and
he got this spike and it lasted a short period of time and went
on. And if it's this contamination I don't understand why he
wouldn't have had multiple spikes or why if you feel that
others did have them and discarded them why we shouldn't have
gotten a hold of some other people running FOXES through at the
same. Were there other FOX vehicles going through at the same
time the particular marine testified?
DR. LASHOF: And have you talked to those people in
those FOXES to find out what they thought was going on at the
same time?
LTC MORRIS: Actually, my recollection is that,
that we had one, basically one FOX in each area of the breach
going through and so.
DR. LASHOF: Please go ahead.
MR. CURREN: I can speak about 1st Marine Division.
There were two breaching elements, Task Force Ripper and Task
Force Papa Bear. They were both allocated FOX vehicles one
each. Task Force Papa Bear has not reported any alerts of any
type. It was only --
MAJ CROSS: Was the report false positives that
they didn't report up the chain but it might lend some weight
to this whole role analysis.
MR. CURREN: If I can speak to that point? Not
during the breach but during other points during the campaign.
On the night of 26 February this was several hours after GySGT
Gras's alert at al Jaber there was a FOX alert. It happened
outside of the 1st Marine Division forward command post. The
1st Marine Division NBC officer, a chief warrant officer, went
out to the FOX vehicle to try to understand what was going on.
He had a discussion with the MM1 operator. The MM1 operator
was kind of perplexed because he had an alert. He had
something come on the screen. It alerted to some element that
he doesn't remember. It may have been sadiron, it may have
been mustard. It went away. The MM1 operator recalled and
told the 1st Marine Division NBC officer that during training
in Germany, he had been trained in Germany, that he had seen a
demonstration of this. That if you got too close to a vehicle
and ingested some of their fumes or you got too close to a fire
and they were in a burning oil well fire, you could have, you
could draw in hydrocarbons through the tube and boom, get a
false alert. They agreed that was a false alert.
DR. BROWN: Can I just jump in again?
DR. LASHOF: Well, I think we all agreed that could
happen but we also seem to have agreed before that we had no
way of knowing whether that was the cause of it or not. But it
was certainly a logical and possible and clearly it unless you
did the second which wasn't practical. We didn't know. I
don't know where he gets this.
DR. BROWN: The other issue too, there were ten,
the 1st and 2nd Marine Division after all had ten FOX units and
apparently there's nothing more as far as we know have been a
handful of detections. But let me just jump in here again if
you don't mind.
DR. BROWN: I think when we looked at this issue
of the possibility of false positives from the oil well fires
because this has been come up again and again and I think that
this approach of false positives from some of their material
worked very, very well in the Camp Moderay incident that we
looked at earlier. In that case you could see, you could look,
other analysts could look and see that the spectrum from the CS
agent which you know Iraq had look could fool the FOX into
giving a false positive for I believe sarin.
Now in the case, my belief is that argument does not
work very well or at all really in the case of oil well fires
giving a false positives for chemical agents. We have a pretty
good idea about what was in that oil well smoke from analysts
from EPA and others who were actually over there doing air
sampling's and other data we have available but what's in your
basic Quieti crew. When you look at those, the mass spectra
from those types of chemicals, those types of hydrocarbons, we
can't get them to match. You can't do the same, you can't
through the same exercise that you can with the CS. It seems
to me therefore that argument, it's a speculation. You could
say well, it's possible. Maybe some mixture of hydrocarbons
might somehow give up false positives.
DR. ROSTKER: I don't think that's a speculation.
DR. BROWN: It's not. It's quite a different type
of argument than what worked with the Camp Moderay incidents
where you could look down, look at the spectra and make that
judgment that these look the same.
DR. ROSTKER: I don't that's correct because there's
a clear indication of fatty waxes and oils.
DR. BROWN: No, you missed my point. When we
looked at the actual components, the chemicals that are in that
air. We look at them mass spectra. We compared them to the
mass spectra of sarin and mustard, they do not look the same.
They do not overlap.
DR. ROSTKER: Then I would look to know why the
spectra shows fatty waxes and oils.
DR. BROWN: I agree to the fatty waxes and oils
were present. What I'm arguing is that fatty waxes and oils
hydrocarbon junk does not look to a mass spectrometer like
sarin, like mustard. They don't look the same.
DR. ROSTKER: That's not the point. The point is
that it's contaminating. We have the system and we have the
labs that you can add the caveat but draw the conclusion that
in their best judgment it was a false positive but they
couldn't be sure. So in this case, you want the couldn't be
sure but forget the fact that they've already said that in
their best judgment it was a false positive.
DR. BROWN: Let me try this. Make my, I don't
think I'm getting my point across here. When you look, we know
what was in that oil well, of course, fat oils and waxes. The
oil well fires were producing a plummet of smoke that the
Marine breaching individuals were involved with.
My point is when you look at what those chemicals
looked like to a mass spectrometer. They do not look like a
chemical warfare agents. That's different than the case, if
you look at CS their eye control agent, that looks like sarin.
But that argument does not work for fats, oils, and waxes is my
point. Okay? Is that clear? So when this says well, it's
consistent with, it's a speculation. They're speculating that
well maybe somehow the fats, oils and waxes fooled the machine.
I'm not arguing that's not possible. My point is, the point
I'm trying to make is that's a speculation on their part and it
doesn't really, it seems to me, lend itself to a certain --
DR. ROSTKER: We'll be happy to take any comments
you have and work it into a reassessment. But at this point,
this is still our best assessment and I would point out again
and again that it is not just the analyses of the FOX tapes
that a robust assessment requires other pieces of information
which were assessed in making this judgment and even at the end
of the judgment, what we said was unlikely. We did not make a
definitive statement. And if you have it a little bit more
towards, you know, center of unproven, at this point that's
your judgment, we would be happy to take any comments that you
have and reassess the cases as we will be happy to take
anybody's comments. That's why this cases are open and we
solicit people's comments. So this not a final determination.
DR. BROWN: Well, I'll be happy to share our data
with your analysts.
DR. ROSTKER: Absolutely.
DR. LASHOF: I think we will and let me just ask
one more question about that. If your position on the FOX was
that it is uncertain and we're not leaning one way or the
other. Right now your assessment is based on leaning towards
false positive. But if you took the position that we don't
know and it could be uncertain, what were the other, the most
compelling of the additional support that would lead you to
unlikely if you took the FOXES uncertain would you still come
out that it's unlikely based on the other and what would you
site for us as the key issues that brought you to that
MS. DAVIS: If you give me just a minute to flip
to the right page. I may end up doing it backwards. Okay.
For purposes of the 1st Marine Division, one of the things that
we looked at in addition to the FOX detection was that there
were no reports of chemical warfare agents at the time. There
were no injuries reported contemporaneous with the alert. And
we have looked for delivery means. We have found no delivery
means. And finally, and this gets back to in terms of the FOX
or samples at the time or anything like that, there was none of
that. But the key for purposes of 1st Marine Division is the
lack of contemporaneous reports of either chemical alerts or
injuries or anything else like that in the area.
DR. ROSTKER: I think we can go to page 13 of the
narrative should be placed in the record because it is our
complete assessment. For example, there's not a full agreement
within GySGT Gras's group. The senior NBC officer said there
was no reports of chemical warfare agents at the time and there
were no injuries reported despite the marine crossing the field
protected only by MOPP 2 levels vehicles before and after.
Commanders interviews remembered no reports of chemical
detections or chemical injuries during the time the troops
crossed the mine field at 1st Marine area of operations. No
means of delivery of a chemical warfare agent has been
uncovered. Finally, there's no physical evidence, no spectrum,
no samples.
So in each one of these cases the assessment is a
recounting of all of the elements in the narrative that brings
us to the conclusion and as we said in this case we believe the
conclusion is unlikely. I would add that we did not include
this and we will include it in the write-up and that is it's
the UN assessment that no chemicals were released south of
Nassariyah. I'm sorry of Khamisiyah. And so the extensive
work of the UN does not find any chemicals made its way this
far south in the theater. We haven't included that judgment in
this write-up but we will in a revision of it as we will
reassess the points you've made here.
MAJ CROSS: Well, don't forget those, you're
talking about artillery shells and rockets. The delivery of
vehicle here, delivery means may in fact be mines.
MAJ CROSS: And I'm not so sure that they really
discussed mines.
DR. ROSTKER: Yeah, let's about mines. The UN told
you yesterday that they knew of no chemical mines. They've
never seen a chemical mine. We've taken out over three hundred
mines in Kuwait. No one has ever found a chemical mine. It
was a speculation before the war but there's absolutely no
physical evidence. If that vehicle went over a mine, a
chemical mine, it would have had to have been the one mine that
existed in the theater.
So there is absolutely no corroboration on any source
of chemical mines. It's pure speculation. It's never been
declared by the UN to the UN. It's never been found by the UN.
It was never found by contractors after the fact. There is not
a single piece of information that would suggest a chemical
mine ever existed.
DR. LASHOF: Okay. Are there further questions or
remarks? Can we have the assessments on the second incident?
MS. DAVIS: Similarly this has been judged to be
unlikely. The alert was well documented and while for the
moment we'll set aside the review of the tape, in addition to
that review, we were unable to find again a delivery mechanism
for the suspected contamination. There was no artillery or
mortar fire and as Dr. Rostker just mentioned, we have not had
any indication that chemical mines were present.
The commander in AMTRAK that hit a mine in proximity
of the FOX vehicle left the vehicle in MOPP 2. No one suffered
from encountering a chemical warfare agent as they walked out
of the mine field area. Several vehicles carrying marines in
MOPP 2 passed through the mine fields ahead of the FOX
reconnaissance vehicle. Although hands and faces were exposed,
no one reported any chemical injuries. And the vehicles were
checked for contamination once they reached the other side of
the mine field breach and no chemical warfare agents were found
on or around the vehicles.
DR. ROSTKER: We would leave open the issue of the
one marine who reported blister agents under his watch.
Because there is still some things to go there. But I would
point out that was assessed by medical authorities at the time
and there was a full investigation which related to his claim
for a Purple Heart for an injury which was not awarded. So we
thing there's still again some information. But at this point
with the information we have, we would draw the conclusion of
unlikely even if we move the FOX as you suggested, madam
chairman, to a point of less certainty or of uncertainty and
said we just don't know.
DR. LASHOF: Was there a diagnosis made of his
injury of some other, did they come up with a definitive
MS. DAVIS: No, ma'am. There was no, basically
the reports at the time, some of them recognized blisters.
Some of them just said it was a red spot. Nobody could come up
with an explanation. The doctor essentially indicated that the
guy had a red itchy spot on his hand and was not injured and
get back to work.
DR. LASHOF: Are there further questions that
anyone has in this regard? Okay. Do you have others?
MS. DAVIS: Okay. To continue, turning now to al
Jabayl, as we testified before you last month, this case covers
a number of incidents reported to have occurred in this Saudi
Arabian industry city in January, February, and March of 1991.
The most difficult part of this case has been separating the
various accounts of significant events into discreet incidents
so that they can be analyzed. And actually as I remember our
discussion from last month, that led to a certain amount of
confusion with the committee and staff too. We are hoping that
as we get the case narrative ready to be published that we've
clarified a number of the points that were raised in our
testimony the last time so that there's no question in
anybody's mind as to what events we are talking about on what
particular day.
This slide displays the events we have identified.
Our investigation thus far indicates as we had noted the last
time that the loud noise on January 19th was a sonic boom
caused by two British tornados. That the noise and flashes of
light reported late on the 20th and early on the 21st were scud
interceptions. That the which landed in the al Jaber Harbor
on February 16th was found not to contain chemical agent and
that the fumes which turned the brown tee shirts purple was
most likely a release from a nearby fertilizer plant. We are
to continue the follow up leads. Actually, Dr. Rostker
mentioned the marine with a blister under his wristwatch and he
was confusing cases just a little bit.
Al Jaber we do have an injury of Marine Breaching.
But Al Jabayl is the case in which there was a report of
someone who had a blister under his wrist watch that he
associated with the 19 January event. We have been trying to
get in touch with him for some time after some 15 phone calls,
we finally got a hold of him last Thursday night and he
confirmed that he had sought medical attention at the time of
the event for the blister under his watch. And at the time he
was told that the blister was not the result of chemical agent.
He continues to be pretty sure it was the result of chemical
agents. So we didn't frankly get much further down the road
than we had been before with him.
We have completed external coordination of the
interim case narrative and we expect at this point to release
the document on the 14th of August. I'd be happy to answer any
questions on al Jabar.
DR. LASHOF: Dr. Porter?
DR. PORTER: I have a question. I'd like to hone
in on some of the details of January 20th and January 21st 1991
events. The indication is that scud intercepts account for
those events. But can you go over with me what time on the
January 20th series of events the scud alarms sounded and what
happened specifically?
MS. DAVIS: At this time I've asked Charlie Holmes
who was the lead analyst for this case to join us and I'll ask
him to respond to those detailed questions.
MR. HOLMES: Dr. Lashof, members of the committee
and staff, if I understand your question is you'd like to try
to recapture the events that took place on the 20th and 21st.
DR. PORTER: Yes. We put up what our understanding
of those sequence.
MR. HOLMES: Okay. On the 20th and 21st there were
scud alerts and air raid sirens that were sounded on or about
2140 or 2150 hours. As a result of that, then the units
upgraded their protective posture. Then and again the bottom
line out of all this is we think that there scuds that had been
launched toward Dhahran at that particular time and were most
likely intercepted by patriots again.
But as our narrative states, we have not been able to
find any indication of any impacts that resulted from that and
so on. But we know that we have spoken with individuals who
mentioned this and so on that occurred at that point but we
have not been able to determine to link any impacting in the al
Jabar area.
DR. PORTER: And then on the 21st at some later
time the alarms again sound and at shortly after midnight, the
logs reflect two explosions 15 and 20 minutes apart. What
would account for those two explosions? Are there scud
launches that would be contemporaneous with this time period?
MR. HOLMES: That is correct. These also were
prepares most likely intercepted.
DR. PORTER: So we have more than three scuds
fired. We have three scuds on the 20th and how many scuds on
the 21st?
MR. HOLMES: CENTCOM logs noted on the 20th and
21st that there were two scud missiles that were fired towards
al Jabar and Dhahran. Then I don't know that we can pin down
specifically how many missiles were launched. We know some of
the information that has been articulated in the narrative thus
far and on the slide that you see before you.
MS. DAVIS: I think that --
DR. LASHOF: I'm sorry. If I'm following this, do
you agree with these?
MS. DAVIS: Yes ma'am, we do. That is consistent
with the information that we have. That is correct.
MS. LASHOF: Then what we don't have explained yet
because we have scuds fired on the 20th and then on the 21st we
have alarms sounding and they adopt MOPP 4. But you don't have
any record of a scud being fired then.
MR. HOLMES: You can't say that it was or was not a
scud. We don't have any record of anything indicating that on
the 21st was a scud launch.
DR. LASHOF: Do we have anything to indicate what
might have caused those alarms to go off or is that the big
open question mark then?
MR. HOLMES: We have not identified anything at
this particular point and time that would explain those alarms
specifically on the 21st.
DR. LASHOF: And that's under investigation then
MR. HOLMES: That is correct.
MS. DAVIS: We are continuing to look for
information. The main thing as we said the alarms that were
sounded were scud alarms. They were like air raid alarms that
said scuds fired and based on those scud alarms, the units went
from MOPP 0 to MOPP 4 and assumed the protective posture.
Subsequently, the all clear was sounded.
DR. PORTER: It seems that the events on the 20th
follow to some degree but for the 21st there's no explanation
or no account for what might have caused those explosions to be
reported and those alarms to be sounded.
MS. DAVIS: Well, I'm not sure that we
necessarily, based on what we have found thus far, we do not
have an ability to separate out discreet explosions between the
late night hours of the 20th and the early morning hours of the
21st. In other words, there were reports of and this is to
some degree one of the confusions that we had to unravel as it
related to the loud noise, the sonic boom which actually was
the night before. But the reports that we had was loud boom,
bright lights all occurring on the same evening.
As we had testified the last time, we now believe
that in talking to people, reviewing the logs, we have actually
broken that into what I'll call two separate events because the
20th, the 21st occurring right around late in the evening and
early in the morning of the 21st is within a couple of hours
timeframe. We have, we do have conflicting events of how many
noises were heard, how many lights were seen. People talk
about multiple flashes of lights. Others talk about one flash
of light and a loud, a loud or more than one loud explosion.
Our indication at this point is that the events of
20, 21 do relate to scud interceptions. We feel pretty
comfortable with what we've seen from the scud data base in
tying the late hours on the 21st to the interceptions. The
early morning hours of, I'm sorry, the 20th. The early morning
hours of the 21st, it is unclear to us whether that was
associated with the earlier thing whether it was an alarm that
was given just because a report had been made up in effect
incoming or whether, in fact, something occurred, an
interception occurred.
DR. PORTER: Does the case narrative reflect the
uncertainty of the events on the 21st?
MS. DAVIS: What it does indicate is that at this
point we believe that the 20th, 21st incidents relate to scud
interceptions but we do not have the level of detail yes, it
MR. TURNER: It's my understanding that US was
tracking scud launches from Iraq. Is it possible that there
were launches of scuds that we have no accounting for that they
could have launched that we don't know.
MR. HOLMES: I have no indication of that from the
sources in the scud data base that. There's nothing that says
that we had launches which we did not track.
MR. TURNER: But for the 21st, if I understand it
correctly, your key evidence of that was related to a scud as a
fact that it was a scud alarm. You don't have some other
corroborating evidence that would say we got a track of a scud
or we have a Patriot launch. Is that correct?
MR. HOLMES: That is correct.
MS. DAVIS: That is correct.
DR. LASHOF: Any other questions in relation to
this? Nay. What else do you have for us?
MS. DAVIS: The 11th Marines case covers the
alerts reported in this artillery regiment which supported the
entire 1st Marine Division during the ground war. This case
which began or was initiated with a few isolated FOX and M-256
detection has grown to encompass some 22 alert incidents.
Because this was a supporting unit, it had liaison personnel
with all of the supported units. If something was reported in
the supported unit, the liaison generally would apprise the
11th Marines of the event.
As a result, our research has identified seven alerts
which were initiated by the 11th Marines based on preliminary
detections of chemical agents, six alerts which were initiated
by the 11th Marines although we do not yet know the basis of
the alert, and nine alerts which were initiated by a unit other
than the 11th Marines but were reported in the 11th Marines
logs. The questions that we're trying to answer in this case
are why did the 11th Marines report so many alerts. What'sthe
likelihood that chemical warfare agents were present in any of
these incidents. If there were chemical agents present, who
might have been exposed?
And then finally, and actually one of the things
that's been most critical for us in trying to scope this case
in a way that makes a degree of sense, what's the correlation
between these alerts, all of the alerts that we have found that
we can tie or reveal in some way in the 11th Marines logs and
records? And the alerts that we discussed in the context of
other cases such as al Jaber. We've identified over 30 people
we want to interview initially and we expect that discussions
with them will result in further leads as we've discussed
earlier today. That these are the threads that we pull and the
leads that we follow. We have begun to interview these people
by telephone. To date, we've talked to six of them. We have
attempted to get a hold of additional 15 or so. In many cases
trying to discover the whereabouts of folks particularly after
they've gotten off active duty it's difficult and so we are
continuing to follow that and frankly our investigation
The biggest major event for purposes of this case and
where we are right now is that compared to many of the other
cases that we have under investigation that are further along
in the context of case narratives is that the scope of this
case has expanded is putting it mildly. As I said we went from
basically three detections to 22 alerts and we're trying to
tell the story of those 22 alerts. I'd be happy to answer any
questions on 11th Marines.
MR. TURNER: Several of the detections involving
the 11th Marines were of multiple. They were more than one 256
kit that came back positive. Can you tell the committee what
progress you've made since our Memphis meeting investigating
those specific incidents?
MS. DAVIS: Why don't I ask Tom Stewart to come
up. Tom is the lead analyst on this case.
MR. STEWART: In terms of the multiple detection
incidents, they are a minority of those detected quite frankly.
Many of these alerts were simply a reflection and echo if you
will of someone else's detection. But in some cases they were
initiated by the 11th Marines and we want to figure out what
exactly happened.
In one of those cases and Jim, I know you and I have
talked about this, occurred early in the morning of the 26th of
February in which we had three separate incidents in relatively
short period of time starting slightly after 0200 and
continuing into the 0400 hour period with multiple positive
detections. The way we're handling the approach to this
particular case is that because we have so many different
incidents and so many of the same people have knowledge about
multiple incidents, we're taking these people as we can get a
hold of them and inquiring about those incidents that they may
have knowledge about. In some cases those people that we have
already contacted have already reflected some views and some
information on those events that involve multiple detections.
There are other people that we need to be in touch with.
What we want to be concerned about I think is going
back to the same veterans again and again getting this little
bit piece of information and that little piece of information
as opposed to doing it in a more comprehensive fashion. The
interviews that we've had so far because of the extent of the
number of incidents have generally been running an hour or
longer, in some cases, almost two hours. We don't want to go
back and do that again and again.
So I think it's incumbent upon us to be concerned
about the veterans time and their privacy and so forth and not
to just focus on a few incidents, a few incidents there and
then have to go back and ask the same kinds of questions about
other incidents.
So my answer to you, Jim, would be that we're
progressing on it. We do have some additional information that
we did not have the last time and we are more into the
testimony gathering stage of this case. It's still in its
early stages then we were last time. But we at least my
concern would be that we don't want to fragment this in such a
way that we end up trying to gather multiple evidence about
very similar things from the same veterans.
MR. TURNER: The reason obviously that I raise
incidents where there are multiple detections it as an analyst
for me that raises a much higher degree of suspicion that you
have something real there and that's why I have come back to
this now two, three, at least of our meetings where I've raised
this issue. Let me ask another question. What indications are
there that the 11th Marines detections coincided in time with
other detections like al Jaber or the GySGT Gras detections.
MR. STEWART: Some of them very definitely are the
same incidents.
MR. TURNER: Yeah, which are those?
MR. STEWART: Well, we can go through the 22.
MR. TURNER: I don't want to go through the 22.
Which are the ones that coincide with the other Marine
MR. STEWART: I don't have that information at hand
exactly. I know some of them do. I know that al Jaber
certainly was a case and even some of the scud incidents that
occurred before the ground campaign began also were reflected
in the 11th Marines. Now what we intend to do this in case is
we intend to focus on those that particularly meet two
Number one, that there were multiple detections.
There's some there and there. And secondly, those that were
initiated particularly by the 11th Marines. And so I know that
some of them are. I could do that analysis. I don't have that
right in front of me.
MR. TURNER: In the original slides that were
submitted, you indicated a projected narrative date on this and
that's now been pulled. Does that mean we're not going to see
the completion of this investigation while this committee still
-- what's your, give me a deadline.
MS. DAVIS: I didn't remember whether or not we
had a projected date on the original slides or not. At this
point our estimate, our current estimate is that this case
narrative will be published the end of October. We are moving
out as quickly as possible. As we talk to folks and discover
that the things that we currently have scoped within 11th
Marines are in fact detections or things that we have otherwise
covered, we may find that the scope shrinks again. In other
words, we can relate it to another case. That will have an
effect on our completion date. Right now we think frankly,
given where we are today, it's pretty aggressive to push to try
to get it done by the end of October.
MR. TURNER: We were told August before is why.
DR. LASHOF: Well I can see if you have multiple,
it gets pretty complex.
MS. DAVIS: Yes, ma'am.
DR. LASHOF: But if some of these coincide with
some of the others that we've already heard, are they apt to
influence to change any of the conclusions and reopen some of
the others that you've completed or thought you had completed?
MS. DAVIS: I think that there is always a
possibility of that. I mean, it's one of the reasons why
frankly we characterize our case narratives as interim
narratives because if we know one thing it is that we don't
know at all.
DR. LASHOF: You don't know everything.
MS. DAVIS: We don't have all the information. We
haven't talked to every person that was in the Gulf at least
not yet. And so there is a real possibility. It's one of the
reasons why at least for purposes of the 11th Marines we were
reluctant to at the outset focus so narrowing only on those
things that occurred in the 11th Marines because, and this goes
back to what I said earlier, it was, it was a supporting unit.
And so it's entirely possible and as such it was in a number of
different places in the battlefield.
As a result, there actually are some things that may
have occurred that we are looking at otherwise in other case
narratives that the folks in the 11th Marines that we're going
to be talking to may know something about that we didn't
anticipate, that we didn't see before.
DR. LASHOF: Are any of those ones that would
relate to the 1st and 2nd Marines breaching's that we have just
been discussing or are they more apt to be related to something
DR. ROSTKER: Not very likely because essentially
the 11th Marines cases. There are substantive involved things
that I think are other than a reflection of somebody else's
report did not occur during the breaching. Some of those
occurred earlier before the ground war began. Some of them
occurred as late as the 27th. But intended to be after they
were through the breach, after they got essentially as far as
al Jaber and were proceeding north to Kuwait International
DR. LASHOF: That's helpful to me anyway.
MR. TURNER: You know I'm not trying to second
guess resource allocation decisions that you make, Dr. Rostker,
but part of the frustration that I feel about this is that this
committee recommended public session in October and November a
year ago that 256 kits be tracked down. And we're now looking
at our sunset with some very substantial leads that are still
in the nascent stages of having been examined thoroughly.
DR. ROSTKER: I say that way. I don't know. You
need to comment on that.
MR. TURNER: But that's --
DR. ROSTKER: I understand I appreciate your
frustration and as I indicated at the last time, it is
unlikely. It is impossible for us to complete all of the
cases. This is very precise when you start the process of
opening up and following leads. It's very difficult for us to
say yes we'll have a case done on a given date and that commits
resources. We're doing the best we can. I have to tell you it
is much more important to me that when we publish a case it is
as thorough as we can make it even they are still tentative.
I cannot recoop from sloppy work.
MR. TURNER: No one wants you to.
DR. LASHOF: No, I don't think we're pushing. We
recognize that at this point you're not going to make it.
We're not pushing for that. I think our frustration was we
questioned before what priority you put on what order. We
thought you should have put more priority on these earlier.
You didn't. That's water over the dam. Let's move on and get
to wherever we can at this point.
DR. NISHIMI: I think just not to beat a dead horse,
but for the September 4th and 5th meeting if you could consider
putting a high degree of emphasis on these multiple M-256 kits
we could perhaps move this debate forward.
DR. ROSTKER: We'll try to honor that quite recent
DR. LASHOF: Next. What else have you got for us?
MS. DAVIS: Just a couple more things, ma'am. The
ASP Orchard case concerns detections of sulfur mustard, HT
mustard, and benzol bromide on 28 February 1991 at an
ammunition storage point located southwest of Kuwait City by a
FOX vehicle attached to the Marine Corps task force Ripper.
This was another event that was reported by GySGT Gras and
testimony before Congress and also before this committee. We
have completed interviews with all but one of the EOD team
members who inspected the ASP the day after the alert. We have
interviewed the NBC officer of the 1st Battalion 5th Marine
Regiment who also inspected the ASP at about the same time as
the FOX detection and I say about the same time largely because
he can't remember whether it was the same day, right before,
the day before, or the day after.
We have traced the reports of the EOD inspection
through the chain of command both through interviews and
through review of the unit logs. We have attempted to locate
the EOD call sheet for this particular inspection and a call
sheet is basically a report of the inspection that the EOD unit
does after they're called in to look at particular things as
they were in this case.
We had the unit records of Camp Pendleton of the
platoon that this team came out of searched but it was
apparently only retained for about two years and normal record
keeping purposes after the war. And so we no longer can find
that particular call sheet. We have reviewed unexploded
ordinance clean up procedures in Kuwait after the war and have
interviewed both the president of the company responsible for
the munitions clearing operation in this area and the
contractor employee who actually dismantled the ASP in late
1992 or early 1993 who incidentally also was the leader of the
EOD team who had done the inspection of the ASP the day after
the FOX detection.
Consistent with the testimony you received yesterday
from Mr. Duelfer of the UN, our investigation thus far reveals
that there were no chemical munitions present in the ASP based
on what we know and what we've been able to determine. The
interim narrative is undergoing review and we do expect to
release it the end of August. Any questions on Orchard?
DR. LASHOF: Questions? Jim?
MR. TURNER: One clarification on what Duelfer
said. And I think it's important always to bear in mind in
dealing with the UN, they make a conscious decision,
distinction, excuse me between information the Iraqis gave them
and information that is based on UN inspectors observations.
I do not believe the UN did any visits to the orchard
or to the other sites that, that you have indicated, Dr.
Rostker. You're going to amend reports to, to include the UN's
information. And again, I just, it's the caveat. You have to
be careful in treating what the UN says when it's reporting
Iraqi declarations because they change every six months.
DR. ROSTKER: Absolutely.
MR. TURNER: But the UN has been able to as part of
their supporting analysis traced the movement, done extensive
work in the records. So it's not just the pure declarations.
DR. ROSTKER: Fine, fine.
MR. TURNER: You know my point is that you just
have to be very careful to make the distinctions when you're
even proliferally relying upon what Iraq says.
DR. ROSTKER: Just another piece of information and
particularly in the movement the last chart that the UN shared
with us is I believe a lot more than just the declarations.
This has been a very frustrating case for me in the sense that
it is often cited that on the last day of February this case
was recorded in the CENTCOM chemical logs. What the press has
not often mentioned is that you can turn the page in the logs
and find that the all clear was given by the same chief warrant
officer who said we went into the bunkers and nothing was there
and that is recorded on the 1st of March.
So, we have a very contemporaneous accounting by the
very same person who phoned in the alarm to CENTCOM
headquarters one day later and everything we have learned from
the people who went into those bunkers, everything we have
learned from the clean up points to one, one conclusion. So
again we're left with some FOX vehicle reporting's on the 28th
that were immediately found to not be correct one day later and
everything we have demonstrated here extensive interviews and
the like support that later conclusion.
DR. LASHOF: All right.
DR. BROWN: At the risk of repeating something, a
point I made earlier. I'll say it again anyway. We know EOD
people can make mistakes when they go into bunkers because we
have evidence of that from Khamisiyah where they made mistakes
more than once. And we know from discussions with the
civilians, the president of the company that you mentioned that
did the clean up afterwards that he can't really rule out the,
he can't really verify the identity of every type of munition
that was removed from the Gulf War, the entire Gulf War
theater. You know they didn't take every single weapon apart.
It was just simply impossible.
It's not a question, just a comment. I hope that
your case narrative takes that type of uncertainty again, as it
were, into account, you know, just how much weight you give
that type of evidence.
MS. DAVIS: And this is largely us having brought
all our analysts. I want to make sure they all get a chance to
sit up here at the table. This is Margaret Graf. Margaret is
the lead analyst for this case and I wanted her because we have
had an opportunity to talk to almost all, I think all but one
of the EOD team who actually inspected the ASP, and that has
been one of the questions I think all of us have wrestled with
is what is it that they guys really do? What are they really
looking for when we have on the one hand at Khamisiyah where
folks looked, folks inspected and didn't find anything and
then we have this case where we're saying they looked, they
inspected and they didn't find anything and that seems
What I'd like Margaret to do is talk a little bit
about the interviews that we had with the EOD folks and the
kinds of procedures that they followed.
MS. GRAF: As Ms. Davis mentioned, we did talk with
four of the five members of the EOD team who went to the ASP.
The four that we spoke with were the four members who entered
the ASP and conducted the inspections. The fifth member was
communications specialist and he remained outside the ASP with
their truck. All of the interviews confirmed that they did not
find anything. They relied in doing their inspection, they
relied on visual recognition but they also used M-8 and M-9
paper and M18 A2 kits for chemical detection equipment. There was one suspicious incident that occurred while they
were there in the process of moving a shell that had been left
on top of some boxes a liquid that had collected on the bottom
of the shell kind of leaked down the arm of the EOD team member
who had picked it up. They were all in full protective gear
but obviously this caused some consternation. They did run
tests with the M-8, M-9 paper as well as with their detector
Based on those tests and based on visual inspection
of the ammunition, it was determined that liquid was water
condensation. This was not a, the munitions were in bunkers
but they were basically just dug into the ground. This was not
a well protected ASP. The munitions were left open to the
elements and, you know, anything that came through had
collected underneath. That was the only thing that they
MR. TURNER: Did they actually sample any of the
munitions and test what was in them or determine that their
high explosives and not some other kind of munition?
MS. GRAF: Based on their inspections they determined
that there were high explosive or has on their. I'm not
exactly sure I understand what you mean by testing an
MR. TURNER: Was that based on visual inspection?
They did not open the munitions and say we've got a high
MS. GRAF: That is correct, yes.
MS. DAVIS: It was based on visual inspections.
There are reports to the interview basically what was recounted
to us was that they were able to identify, there were a number
of different country munitions that were represented within the
ASP and they were able to actually tie that to particular types
of munitions given both the size and the markings.
MR. TURNER: Were any 155 rounds found there?
MS. GRAF: There are various recollections of whether
or not among the various people who did enter the ASP including
the members of the 1st of the 5th whether or not they saw any
155 rounds. Several people recall seeing 155 rounds. Several
people have no recollection of that.,
DR. NISHIMI: They're not required to inventory in
any way shape or form what they find.
MS. GRAF: They do not inventory, no. They recorded
the results of their inspection on the call sheet which Ms.
Davis said we did try to track down.
DR. NISHIMI: But my question was slightly
different. They were not required. I know that they didn't.
But there's no requirement for any --
DR. ROSTKER: No. This case is a little different
from Khamisiyah in the sense that Khamisiyah there was a
general precaution. We have the accounts for first troops
through. But the troops that really entered, set the charges
were not in MOPP gear at all. There was no expectation of
chemicals by that time. This is a site that on the 1st of
March is really hot in the sense that a lot of warnings the
night before -- the message on the 28th says off the area,
protective gear, won't go until the morning. Troops that went
in the morning were in MOPP gear with the appropriate testers.
So they were looking for chemicals as distinct from Khamisiyah
where they were not looking for chemicals.
MR. TURNER: And my line of questioning was just to
try to ascertain what they did precisely in their examination.
DR. ROSTKER: I understand, sir. But let me just
continue. There were reported readings on the 28th. So here
we have the ability to look for the same readings the next day
and they're not there. So that, I think in my mind makes it a
very different story than Khamisiyah. And the details of these
investigations will be in the case narrative of course.
MAJ CROSS: Just a personal note. On this
particular one, you might want to look at 2nd Marine Division
also because I personally remember this area and 3rd Battalion
23rd Marines was actually in this area also. And so you might
just kind of as a double-check there might be some reports
hidden in there. I know the dividing line between the two
divisions goes through there but as it turns out in the heat of
battle, the dividing lines is not on the ground. So I know 323
was over there. Okay. Take a look at them.
DR. ROSTKER: Thank you.
DR. LASHOF: What else have you got?
MS. DAVIS: Okay.
DR. LASHOF: Moving right along.
MS. DAVIS: The Edgewood tapes.
DR. LASHOF: Yes, the Edgewood tapes. We found the
MS. DAVIS: We have a set of seven FOX tapes sent
to CBDCOM for analysis by the Army Deputy Chief of Staff for
operations in 1993. While we were unable to determine much
about the tapes except for the results of that analysis
information recently provided by the pack staff may allow us to
make some breakthroughs in the investigation. In addition to
the latest slide is actually a little bit out of date.
In addition to the name of the person identified in
the Army transmittal letter as having knowledge of the tapes we
have also been given un-reenacted copies of the tapes which
have the names of the FOX vehicle commander and the MM1
We're aggressively attempting to contact these people
both by phone calls and by letter. The person identified in
the Army transmittal letter we have both called and written.
The other two people starting basically on Saturday. We have
called the count that I got this morning that between the two
calls we have left three messages and made about 30 phone
calls. Unfortunately we haven't been able to get through to
the people but we've spent a lot of time hitting redial.
Also, as noted up there, the folks at Edgewood
discovered a box of FOX related materials which made all of us
real excited and some of the staff real excited. We were
hoping that there would be actually some major breakthroughs on
all kinds of things to see if there were any additional leads
about these or any other FOX tapes. Unfortunately there were
And so at this point while we have as yet no
information to contradict the preliminary assessment that it's
likely that these were false alarms we are hopeful that
discussions with the FOX crew will really represent the leads
that the names that we've gotten will enable us to tell the
full story of the tapes. So we're continuing to work away at
DR. LASHOF: Okay. Any further questions or have
we discussed that one enough? Okay.
MS. DAVIS: Okay. Now I finally come to the
finale. You requested that we discuss our plans to address the
next set of case investigations we'll undertake. After your
last hearing, the investigation analysis directorate undertook
a complete review of all the information we currently have on
chemical incidents, issues, and units. The purpose of the
review was to be able to provide Dr. Rostker a comprehensive
assessment of where we are and what we think needs to be
characterized as a case for further investigation. The
main focus of our review is shown on this slide. We wanted to
determine what subject areas were consistent with our mission
and that mission basically is discovering what happened before,
during, and after the war. We wanted to look to see what
subject areas we thought were complimentary to our existing
investigations or interim case narratives. And finally, which
subjects will add to the overall knowledge base without
chemical incidents or issues. We approached the review in a
systematic fashion with conscious effort to identify both areas
that could be investigated in a timely fashion since frankly, I
know we know that's everybody's concern and to which we could
allocate resources as other cases neared completion. We wanted
to be able to set up the priorities in such a way that we
wouldn't have a five man case when we only had one person
available. We developed criteria which would allow us not only
to gauge the likeness of a particular subject but also to
prioritize it. Next slide.
Based on this review, we've identified these major
areas for further investigation. Within these areas there is,
of course, the potential as we've discussed today for multiple
individual cases. As you can see from the list, most of the
proposed areas contemplate elevation of case status of a number
of issues that we've been collecting information about for some
Within the next two weeks, this plan with a proposed
scope and case assignments will be presented to Dr. Rostker for
approval. I would anticipate that by the September meeting we
actually will be able to give you the list, the people, and a
time line frankly on those particular cases. This concludes my
DR. ROSTKER: I would just add one thing. We are in
an approval process in terms of surveying in general people who
may have knowledge about the FOX and the 256 kits. In some of
these areas we just know a unit. We really don't know very
much and we will be sending letters out in a general, in a
general way if you have any knowledge of a positive 256 kit
that occurred in your unit on such and such day, and we're
prepared to use that technique as broadly as possible. It does
get into a bit of government bureaucracy in terms of surveying
and the like. But initially, it's to candid the initial
letters will go to those who are still on active duty because
that is the shortest way through this, through the mind field
of -- and that will continue on in as we search for leads for
these particular incidents where we have very very little
information except an entry in a log that does not give us
names or very much specificity.
I would add one other thing. We've concentrated a
great deal on chemical exposures here. Ann's directorate also
has a environmental section and we're trying to get a better
handle on some of the environmental pollutants particularly
pesticides. Now here we're not talking about an incident.
We're talking about practices. We're talking about trying to
understand how pesticides were applied, what happened with the
Saudi when the Saudis had the contracts for applying
pesticides. It is a more general comment or analysis of our
doctrine and our procedures and not a specific incident that we
can hone in on. So it represents a very different approach but
in filling out the full sense of what happened in the Gulf, we
feel very strongly, I feel very strongly, that we have to look
at other environmental problems that we had in the Gulf and not
just the potential exposure to chemical weapons or biological
DR. LASHOF: I would agree with that. Any other
DR. NISHIMI: There's one other issue that I did
want to raise. It's sort of related to the Marines Breaching
but it has to do with the report that Miter is preparing for
the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and
DR. NISHIMI: Your office has reviewed and commented
on this before, right?
DR. ROSTKER: That's correct.
DR. NISHIMI: And your intention is to comment on,
your intention is to make account of that report in your work,
is that correct?
DR. ROSTKER: That's correct. And we already have
taken account of the material that they have uncovered. That's
DR. LASHOF: Jim, do you have any questions?
MR. TURNER: With respect to Chapter 11 of that
report, can you tell us what the status of that chapter is?
DR. ROSTKER: Yes. The charter for Mr. Jajko's
operation was to look at Khamissiyah and other related sites.
The report went off into other tangents. It was viewed by the
leadership that it was a incomplete exploration. We shared,
they shared material with us and Mr. Jajko asked them to
concentrate on their original charter and all of the material
that did not relate to Khamissiyah or related sites in Iraq
were turned over and incorporated in our analysis.
MR. TURNER: Do you intend to declassify and
release Chapter 11 now that it's in your control?
DR. ROSTKER: It's a working document and it's
incomplete. We'll be happy to share it with the committee.
MR. TURNER: We've had an opportunity to review it.
Part of the reason why we're troubled or is raising this is
that Chapter 11 examines other chemical release events and
reaches some conclusions or at least assessments that are
somewhat at odds with respect to the Marines towards your
office is assessing.
DR. ROSTKER: But, --
MR. TURNER: For transparency purposes which I
believe that was one of your earliest commitments to this
committee was that your operation was going to be transparent
and open to the public. It seems to us that there is almost an
affirmative obligation to put out even opinions that don't
coincide with yours.
DR. ROSTKER: It's not a matter of, it's not a
matter of opinions.
MR. TURNER: Or assessments, Dr. Rostker, I'm
DR. ROSTKER: The work was judged to be incomplete.
They did not carry forward a range of interviews and Mr. Jajko
drew the conclusion that he did not want, it did not represent
the material, did not represent a fair assessment and he
withdrew it.
DR. NISHIMI: But I have read both.
DR. ROSTKER: I'm prepared to share that with the
committee. But --
DR. NISHIMI: The point I want to make here is that
I have read both documents three times now. And Miter
conducted an independent analysis. It also conducted
independent fact gathering. What I don't see in OSAGWE's draft
narrative is some of the independent fact elements that are
present in the Chapter 11 of Miters independent work.
DR. ROSTKER: We would be happy if there is a fact,
we'll be happy to that is, isn't there, we would be happy to
make sure it appears in ours. But they had a very specific
charter and they went quite far afield of that charter in a
very incomplete way and the person who was their supervisor
upon reviewing it pulled it back and refocused them on the
material that they were chartered to do. Moreover, part of
their charter was to do an assessment even in the area of
Khamissiyah and it was, it needed additional work and that's
where they are today.
DR. NISHIMI: There are several unclassified
paragraphs in the Miter report. So are you're prepared to
remove all the classified material and make the entire chapter
with unclassified?
DR. ROSTKER: I'm prepared to incorporate all the
facts as you suggested I believe we have. But if there's any
disagreement here, we should discuss it. But the case
narrative should be fully complete and that is the vehicle by
which we are presenting our analysis, the Government's
analysis, and tentative conclusions about that material.
DR. NISHIMI: This is an independent analysis by
someone that doesn't have -- with either of us.
DR. ROSTKER: Yes, ma'am. It was our judgment and
Mr. Jajko's judgment that it was incomplete and drawing
conclusions on incomplete information it did not go into the
depth of the analysis that they should have in drawing their
DR. NISHIMI: I think it's important for the
committee, however, to have the opportunity to review the
unclassified material and judge whether they believe it is
DR. ROSTKER: The committee has the opportunity.
We've made that all available to the committee.
DR. NISHIMI: We have not had available to the
committee just the unclassified portions of Chapter 11. The
committee members themselves.
DR. ROSTKER: There are unclassified portions that
concluded, are concluded in the material that you have, we've
shared with you and we'll be happy to share again.
DR. LASHOF: The question is you've shared with
staff a document that's classified. There are some
unclassified material we would like, the whole committee to
have rather than just staff.
DR. ROSTKER: Oh, I'm sorry. Of course.
DR. LASHOF: That's the issue.
DR. ROSTKER: Anything we have is available to the
committee at all times and I didn't realize there was a problem
in sharing material between the staff and members.
DR. LASHOF: Well see, staff have, if it's
classified material, staff have a higher clearance. I have the
top secret, but not every member of the committee has.
DR. ROSTKER: No problem.
DR. LASHOF: We want all unclassified material made
available to the full committee so that when we meet with staff
to go over our final report, we have all the information.
DR. ROSTKER: Absolutely. No problem at all.
MR. TURNER: Dr. Rostker, the last thing anyone
wants to convey is an impression that information is being
withheld or suppressed and that's because your office was
involved in consultations with Jajko on the fate of Chapter 11
is why we raised it. The fact that there are, there is
language in there that concludes assesses that it's clearly
possible that Marines encountered chemical agents is something
you're going to have to deal with at some point and do it
openly and that's what we're trying to highlight to you.
DR. ROSTKER: And I would have to point out that
assessment was based almost strictly or strictly on the
observation talking to Bradford and Gras and not on the
observations and interviews that were followed up in terms of
the broad and with extent to which that was observed, Mr. Jajko
said it didn't constitute his, his assessment. But we'll have,
we'll have to deal with that.
MR. TURNER: It just has to be done openly.
DR. LASHOF: That's all our point is. We want to
deal with it. We don't want someone to come up with it
afterwards and say but you ignored this.
DR. ROSTKER: Absolutely.
DR. LASHOF: We would rather say we didn't ignore
it. We looked at it and we judged it and this is where we put
DR. ROSTKER: Absolutely. Absolutely.
DR. LASHOF: Okay. Joe?
DR. CASSELS: A clarification. On your last slide
today you said you're continuing to investigate possible
chemical injuries and you eluded to two in your presentation
this morning. And you footnoted the third in your Marine
Breaching narrative which occurred after the war.
MS. DAVIS: That is correct.
DR. CASSELS: Are there others?
MS. DAVIS: Not that we are aware of at this time.
DR. CASSELS: Those three.
MS. DAVIS: Other than the other, the mustard
incident that you're aware of, other than that one, that's
DR. CASSELS: Thank you.
DR. LASHOF: Any other questions? Any members of
the committee? If not, believe it or not, thank you very much.
We appreciate your service and we'll see you all in September
no doubt. Now the committee is not dismissed yet.
DR. NISHIMI: One second.
DR. LASHOF: I have a few things for the committee.
DR. NISHIMI: I want to remind the committee that
the next meeting is September 4th and 5th, the hotel is in the
Washington area, it's in Alexandria, Virginia I believe. I do
anticipate that it will be a full day committee meeting. What
my intent is that we will receive additional testimony related
to research related to Aukhaider modeling, related to obviously
the ongoing investigations and any narratives that may have
been fully completed and released at that point should there be
any changes between now and then. Then the committee will
review the staff's work on the matters underneath its charter
to move forward with its final recommendations and findings.
DR. LASHOF: You plan it as a two day meeting.
DR. NISHIMI: It's a two day meeting, yes, and it
will be a two full days.
DR. LASHOF: I think it will be two full days. We
are optimistic that will be our final meeting and the staff
will have to the committee prior to that meeting staff memos
indicating the direction in which they wish the final report to
go. So it will be important that everybody review that and
come prepared to hopefully come to some consensus as to the
kind of recommendations we'll be making.
Are there any other questions any committee member
has? Any other comments staff would like to make before we
adjourn? If not, we stand adjourned. Thank you all.