Intelligence Related to Possible Sources of Biological Agent Exposure During the Persian Gulf War

August 2000

Introductory Note

During the past several years, much attention has been focused on chemical warfare agents--and to a lesser extent biological warfare (BW) agents--as a potential cause of, or contributor to, Gulf war illnesses (GWI). In the spring of 1995, the CIA initiated a comprehensive study of intelligence and other information to determine if US troops were exposed to any chemical, biological, or radiological agents and to examine intelligence for any potential causative factors of GWI. In February 1997, the Intelligence Community (IC) formed the Persian Gulf War Illnesses Task Force to study releases of nerve agents at the Khamisiyah Storage Depot and to continue research on agent exposure.

This report provides the IC's conclusions about biological agent exposure. In addition, this report provides a historical perspective on Iraq's BW program--what we knew prior to the Gulf war and what was learned subsequently through intelligence reports, United Nations Special Commission inspections, and Iraqi declarations--and whether possible links to GWI might exist. Efforts have been made to address and clarify potentially misleading statements or actions concerning the disposition of Iraq's BW facilities and weapons. Chemical and radiological agents will be addressed in separate reports.

Robert D Walpole
Special Assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence
for Persian Gulf War Illnesses

Key Findings

Information available as of July 2000 was used in this report.

The US Intelligence Community concludes that Iraq did not use biological weapons during the Gulf war. On the basis of a comprehensive review of intelligence information and information gleaned from the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq, we assess that no biological warfare (BW) agent was released from biological weapons or bulk biological agent as a result of Iraqi use, Coalition bombing, or Iraqi unilateral postwar destruction. We judge it very unlikely that any Coalition troops were exposed to Iraqi biological agents.


Introductory Note

Key Findings

Iraq's Biological Warfare Program

Iraq's BW Agents

Potential Sources of Release

No Iraqi Use

No Release at BW-Related Sites

Iraqi-Declared Biological Production Facilities

Biological Weapons at Deployment and Storage Sites

BW-Agent Storage

No Exposure Due to Former Weapons Tests


A. BW Agents Declared by Iraq

B. Fermentation Facilities Declared by Iraq in 1991

C. Iraqi-Declared BW Production Facilities

D. Biological Weapons

E. Destruction of Bulk BW Agents Remaining After the Gulf War

Iraq's Biological Warfare Program

Before the Gulf war, the US Intelligence Community(1) assessed that Iraq had the most extensive biological warfare (BW) program in the Middle East. We were confident that Iraq had produced anthrax and botulinum toxin and assessed that it had weaponized those agents, possibly into tactical munitions, aerial bombs, ballistic missile warheads, spray tanks, and submunitions. At the time of the conflict, we had no reliable intelligence information stating that Iraq had weaponized BW agents or deployed biological munitions. Multiple intelligence reports obtained after the war, however, supported our assessments, pointing to both Iraq's BW-agent production and weaponization efforts.For more than four years following the cease-fire, Iraq insisted that its BW program had never progressed beyond research. In July 1995, largely because of information about biological growth media procurement that had been uncovered by the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM), Iraq admitted that it had in fact had an offensive BW program and had produced thousands of liters of agents. Iraq still denied weaponization of the agents at that time.After the defection in August 1995 of Saddam Husayn's son-in-law, Husayn Kamil--the director of Iraq's weapons-of-mass-destruction programs, including its BW weapons--Iraq disclosed substantially more, albeit incomplete, information on its offensive BW program, including key personnel, facilities, types of agents, and munitions. Iraq subsequently claimed that, after an initial failed attempt in the mid-1970s, research for the BW program was reinitiated in 1985, and full-scale production of BW agents began in 1987. Although a number of facilities were utilized for agent research and development and small-scale production, a new dedicated site for biological weapons production was built at Al Hakam in 1988. Weapons trials of aerial bombs, drop tanks, and artillery shells filled with an anthrax simulant or one of several toxins were performed from 1988 through January 1991.Baghdad's amended declarations indicated that, after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, a "crash" program was started to produce and deploy biological weapons. Iraq claims that in December 1990 bombs and missile warheads were filled with Bacillus anthracis spores--the causative agent of anthrax--botulinum toxin, or aflatoxin and deployed to four locations for the duration of the war.Iraq claims that all biological agents and munitions were unilaterally destroyed in July 1991, although UNSCOM has been unable to verify most of the claims. Iraq has indicated that none of the weapons/agents were damaged or destroyed by Coalition forces during or after the Gulf war, and we assess, based on all sources, that no such damage or destruction occurred.

Iraq's BW Agents

The biological agents declared by Iraq have known, recognizable, and usually short-term symptoms, as described in appendix A. These symptoms are generally unlike the long-term symptoms most commonly associated with Gulf war illness (GWI), among which are fatigue, headache, muscle or joint pain, diarrhea, skin rashes, shortness of breath, and disturbed sleep. Iraq has declared that it researched a number of BW agents and produced, tested, and/or weaponized B. anthracis, botulinum toxin, aflatoxin, Clostridium perfringens, and ricin. Other agents were researched but not developed. The diseases caused by the various agents are described in appendix A. In cases where persons exposed to these agents survive, there are no known long-term effects, with the possible exception of liver cancer that may result from chronic exposure to aflatoxin. There is also no reason to suspect that any of these agents would be transmitted from person to person.Although there is information of varying reliability that before the Gulf war Iraq researched other agents, including genetically modified agents and mixed chemical warfare (CW) and BW agents (Iraq declared they researched mixes of tear gas with aflatoxin and mustard with trichothecene mycotoxin), we assess that none of those agents were mass produced or weaponized. We assess that agents such as mycoplasma species, the HIV virus, and other bacterial agents that have been discussed in the press are unlikely to have been developed as BW agents by Iraq. None of these agents would likely produce the long-term symptoms associated with GWI.

Potential Sources of Release

The following sections provide our systematic investigation of both the declared locations where Iraq produced, stored, or deployed biological agents and locations indicated by intelligence for the possibility of BW-agent release (see figure 1).

No Iraqi Use

We conclude that Iraq did not use biological agents during the Gulf war. During the years since the Gulf war, Iraq has consistently claimed that no biological weapons were used during the war. Iraq indicated that biological weapons were to be used as retaliation for a nuclear attack against Baghdad. While we believe many of Iraq's declarations are misleading or incomplete, we have no credible evidence to contradict the claims that biological weapons were not used during the Gulf war. In addition, the Department of Defense (DoD) indicates that there are no recorded illnesses from BW agents in US soldiers. Finally, DoD and British air sampling conducted during much of the Gulf war showed no confirmed detection of B. anthracis or botulinum toxin, the agents Iraq claims to have produced in the largest quantities.

No Release at BW-Related Sites

We assess that it is unlikely that Coalition action resulted in any significant releases of BW agents. Iraq has declared that none of its biological weapons or agents were destroyed through Coalition action. UNSCOM found that, although some of the large facilities used for production of biological agent were hit, none of the areas containing BW agents were damaged. Other sites bombed during Desert Storm because of suspected BW activities, including the Baby Milk Factory near Baghdad, have not been confirmed by UNSCOM to have had BW agents. As mentioned previously, US and UK air sampling in the areas of Coalition deployment resulted in no confirmed detection of B. anthracis or botulinum toxin, two of the key agents in Iraq's inventory. Although no biological agent releases were found, it is possible that very small quantities could have been released during the bombing of laboratories at two research facilities hundreds of kilometers from the location of Coalition forces. However, such small amounts would have been very unlikely to reach Coalition soldiers.

Iraqi-Declared Biological Production Facilities

On the basis of an examination of available information, we assess that it is very unlikely that coalition bombing caused the release of significant amounts of biological agents from Iraqi-declared production facilities. The general biological production sites first declared by Iraq in 1991 are shown in appendix B, and the locations, dates of production, and quantities of agents produced--all declared by Iraq in 1995--are shown in appendix C. Of the nine sites where biological agents were declared to have been produced, five were bombed during Desert Storm. In those locations, declared biological agent production areas were not damaged and had not produced agents for at least six months before the bombing. Any releases from damage to laboratory stocks of agent strains at Salman Pak or Al Kindi would probably have been extremely small and would not have posed a threat to Coalition forces located hundreds of kilometers away. Iraq claimed that munitions were filled at Al Muthanna, and the filled munitions were deployed to other locations. The remaining bulk agent was not stored at Al Muthanna.

Biological Weapons at Deployment and Storage Sites

We assess that no biological agent was released from Iraq's biological weapons by either Coalition bombing or Iraq's own destruction of these weapons. Iraq declared that none of the deployed bombs or missile warheads were damaged by Coalition actions. Iraq took special precautions to minimize the chance the weapons would be hit by Coalition bombing. Iraq claims it buried the weapons in open areas at three locations and stored them in an abandoned railroad tunnel at the fourth location. With one possible exception, reliable source reporting confirms Iraq's deployment of weapons to these locations and also confirms that the weapons were intact after the war.A release of biological agents due to Iraqi postwar destruction is also unlikely. Iraq declared that it neutralized the contents of the BW-agent-filled bombs prior to explosive destruction. Subsequent UNSCOM inspections of the remnants of destroyed munitions at the destruction site revealed no evidence of viable agent. However, UNSCOM sampling and analysis did provide evidence that some of the missile warheads and bombs had been filled with biological agents and also gave evidence of some of the chemicals used to neutralize the contents of the weapons. More details on the deployment and destruction of Iraq's biological weapons are discussed in appendix D.

Possibility of BW-Agent-Filled R-400 Bombs at Al Walid Airbase. Although we cannot rule out the possibility of a release of biological toxin from R-400 bombs reportedly damaged by Coalition bombing at Al Walid, we assess that such a release is unlikely. These bombs were most likely CW-related bombs, but the finding of two bombs marked to indicate they were filled with botulinum toxin side-by-side with several hundred CW bombs at a nearby airbase suggests the possibility that Iraq stored toxin-filled bombs with them. Examination of photographs of the damaged bombs is inconclusive in identifying their contents. Additional information is needed for a more definitive assessment.In late 1991, UNSCOM Team 20 inspected Al Walid Airbase, which is located in western Iraq about 60 km from the Jordanian border and more than 400 km from the location of US troop concentrations in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf war. The team found 337 intact R-400 bombs that were reported to be filled with alcohol for use as part of a binary CW bomb. All of the bombs were reportedly moved to Al Muthanna and destroyed under UNSCOM supervision. UNSCOM Team 35 inspected the airbase in 1992 and found remnants of bombs that were claimed by Iraq to have been damaged when a bunker was hit by Coalition bombing. In 1998, photographs from both of the inspections were examined by UNSCOM, and intact R-400A bombs marked with black stripes were seen during the UNSCOM 20 inspection at Al Tabaat Airfield near Al Walid (see figure 2). The bombs bear Iraqi markings that indicate that they were intended to be filled with botulinum toxin. At the time of the inspections the significance of the black stripes and agent markings was unknown and unnoticed. One photograph from the UNSCOM 35 inspection (see figure 3)shows a damaged bomb--though the containment portion appears intact--that may have a black stripe, but the markings are not clear. The damaged R-400 bomb observed by UNSCOM 35 may indicate the possibility of release of botulinum toxin, but, without further information, it is not possible for us to determine if a release did occur.

BW-Agent Storage

Suspected BW-Agent Storage Facilities: 12-Frame Bunkers. In the early 1980s, Iraq built four reinforced and compartmented bunkers, referred to as 12-frame because of their appearance, just west of the Salman Pak BW facility. The storage area was triple-fenced and access-controlled, and the bunkers were equipped with lightning arresters and possible air locks. At the start of the war, two of the four bunkers were equipped with refrigeration units. One of the refrigeration units had been added just before the war, increasing our questions about the function of the bunkers. Because these 12-frame storage bunkers were environmentally controlled and collocated with a confirmed BW facility, a connection was made between 12-frame bunkers and possible BW-agent storage.From 1990 to 1991, an additional 19 environmentally controlled 12-frame bunkers were identified in 11 ammunition storage depots located throughout Baghdad. We had no other information connecting these bunkers to BW storage. It should be noted that these bunkers would be ideally suited to store any heat-sensitive material such as fuel-air explosives and precision munitions, as well as CW and BW agents. Collectively, the bunkers had a capacity far in excess of what would be needed for storage of BW agents/munitions alone.Nineteen out of the 21 refrigerated bunkers were either destroyed (eight) or severely damaged (11). All were rendered inoperable. Two bunkers were located too late in the air campaign to be attacked. Several of the bunkers--notably one at Salman Pak, one at Qabatiyah, and one at Karbala--underwent secondary explosions possibly due to stored high explosives or fuel-air explosives.According to UNSCOM, their inspections performed after the war of some of these 12-frame bunkers revealed no evidence that any BW munitions or bulk agent were stored there during the bombing campaign. We now believe that these bunkers were not used to store BW agents or munitions when they were bombed.

Bulk Agents. According to Iraqi declarations, several thousand liters of bulk agent left over after they filled munitions were stored at Al Hakam. Al Hakam was not attacked by the Coalition during the Gulf war. Iraq claims to have destroyed the remaining stocks after the end of the Gulf war. The declared stocks and destruction methods are listed in appendix E. UNSCOM has not been able to verify the Iraqi declarations of bulk agent destruction.The procedures described to have been used for decontamination and destruction of the agents are likely to have been successful in destroying the agents and are unlikely to have resulted in significant releases of agents. No additional stocks of bulk agent have been discovered by UNSCOM.

No Exposure Due to Former Weapons Tests

Iraq admitted conducting open-air tests with agents and agent simulants. The amounts of agents used were quite small, and the tests with actual agents were concluded in 1989, more than a year before Operation Desert Storm. We judge that earlier BW weapons tests did not result in any exposure of Coalition forces to any BW agents.

Appendix A

BW Agents Declared by Iraq

In 1995, Iraq admitted that it researched, tested, and in some cases weaponized biological warfare (BW) agents. We have concerns about the veracity and completeness of Iraq's declarations and have information of varying reliability that Iraq may have worked with other agents. However, we assess that none of the agents would cause symptoms that are characteristic of Gulf war illness.

Agents Deployed in Weapons


Aflatoxins are a family of low molecular weight toxins produced by the fungus, Aspergillus flavus, when grown under the proper conditions. Chronic exposure of animals to aflatoxins can lead to weight loss; loss of muscle control; convulsions; liver damage, including liver cancer; and death. Chronic low-level exposure in humans is suspected to lead to liver cancer, occurring months to years after the exposure. However, in humans there are no known immediate or long-term effects of acute exposure to aflatoxin. There is also no reason to suspect person-to-person transmission of any effects of aflatoxin.

Bacillus anthracis

The disease anthrax is caused by the bacterium B. anthracis, either through cutaneous exposure, ingestion, or inhalation of spores of the organism. The most lethal type of anthrax is caused by inhalation of the spores. Symptoms of pulmonary anthrax include an upper respiratory infection, usually appearing in three to five days after exposure, that proceeds to severe respiratory distress, fever, shock, and death. There are no known incidences of person-to-person transmission of anthrax. Low-level exposure and recovery from the illness can lead to immunity, and there is a vaccine for anthrax that is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. B. anthracis spores are stable in nature and can contaminate soil for many years, making the area unsuitable for agricultural use.

Botulinum Toxin

Botulinum toxin refers to a family of potent toxins produced by the organism Clostridium botulinum. It is a neurotoxin that initially causes blurred vision, dry mouth, weakness, dizziness, fixed and dilated pupils, drooping eyelids, facial muscle weakness, and speech difficulties. Symptoms appear within a few hours of exposure. Depending on the amount of exposure, the disease can proceed to paralysis and death. People who are exposed sufficiently to experience paralysis but not death can recover, but full recovery from the nerve damage can take a year or more. There are no known incidences of person-to-person transmission.

Researched and Tested Agents

Clostridium perfringens

Clostridium perfringens is the causative agent of gas gangrene and food poisoning. There is an incubation period of six to 24 hours after exposure for disease development. Cutaneous infection causes severe tissue necrosis and can lead to septicemia and death, while gastric infection, which causes a type of food poisoning with the associated symptoms, is rarely fatal. Infected people can be treated successfully with penicillin, and there are no long term, recurrent symptoms nor are there any reports of person-to-person transmission.


Ricin is a toxic, water-soluble protein present in castor beans that can be extracted and concentrated for use as a BW agent. The toxicity is less than that of botulinum toxin, but it is still sufficient to allow for its consideration as a BW agent. Ingestion causes fever, nausea, epigastric pain, diarrhea, rapid respiration, and vomiting of blood clots. The onset of symptoms usually occurs several hours after exposure. Lethal doses result in collapse, convulsions, and cardiac failure.

BW Agents Developed and Tested in Munitions by Iraq
Agent LD50 (a)
Onset of Symptons in Humans Early Acute Symptoms Possible Long-Term Effects on Survivors of Sublethal Exposure
Aflatoxin >106 No acute symptoms None known Liver cancer
B. anthracis 8,000 spores One to six days Respiratory illness None--immunity
Botulinum toxin A 0.6 Several hours Neurological disorder, paralysis None--recovery can take months to years
C. perfringens 108 spores Six to 24 hours Gangrene or food poisoning None--beyond damage caused initially
Ricin Approximately 104 Several hours Nausea, vomiting None
(a) LD50--estimated lethal dose for 50 percent of the exposed population.

Ricin has been used experimentally as a cancer drug, with the most commonly reported side effects being fatigue, muscular pain, and minor gastrointestinal discomfort. The symptoms stopped upon termination of the treatment. There is no evidence of person-to-person transmission of ricin toxicity.

Trichothecene Mycotoxins (T-2)

Trichothecene mycotoxins are a family of low molecular weight compounds produced by species of the fungi Fusarium, Trichothecium, Trichoderma, and others. They are relatively easy to produce and are stable in long-term storage. These compounds are inhibitors of protein synthesis in mammalian cells. Symptoms of exposure include nausea, vomiting, skin inflammation, diarrhea, and, in cases of very high exposure, hemorrhaging, severe shock, and death. The T-2 toxin and others have been examined as possible cancer drugs, with the associated side effects usually being nausea and vomiting. The side effects ceased upon termination of the treatment, with no recurrent symptoms. There are no known incidences of person-to-person transmission.

Viral Agents Declared by Iraq

Iraq claims to have done a small amount of research on several viral agents that have potential as BW agents, but none of the viruses were mass produced or weaponized. Following are brief descriptions of the declared viruses.

Acute Hemorrhagic Conjunctivitis Virus. Infection by this virus results in a contagious ocular disease characterized by pain, swelling of the eyelids, and subconjunctival hemorrhages. The symptoms begin within a day of infection and usually last for about a week before spontaneous recovery. The virus is endemic in parts of Asia and Africa. After recovery, there are no long-term effects associated with the disease.

Camelpox Virus. This is a virus of the family that includes cowpox, vaccinia virus, smallpox (variola), and other similar viruses. Pox viruses other than variola usually do not cause infections in humans but give rise to antibodies that recognize other pox viruses (vaccinia is the virus used as the smallpox vaccine). Camelpox virus is not known to cause serious infections or disease in humans.

Rotavirus. This virus is one of the major causes of death among infants and children in developing countries. Infection is characterized by fever, vomiting, abdominal distress, diarrhea, and dehydration. In areas where medical treatment is minimal, the disease is often fatal to children. The disease appears within one to two days after exposure and lasts about one week. Immunity develops in children who have survived the infection. Rotavirus infections in adults are usually asymptomatic or mild.

Appendix B

Fermentation Facilities Declared by Iraq in 1991

In 1991, Iraq declared a number of biomedical, pharmaceutical, agricultural, and veterinary vaccine facilities in response to UN Security Council Resolution 687 requiring information on facilities that worked with microorganisms or contained fermentation capabilities. Because of their fermentation capacity, such facilities were thought to at least have the capability of producing biological warfare (BW) agents.

In September 1991, CIA presented assessments of these first Iraqi declarations. Of the nine facilities declared to be involved with microorganisms in either research or production, five were in BW work, according to intelligence. The three yeast production facilities were assessed to have the capability to conduct BW production for mycotoxins and bacteriological agents, but they had not been identified by intelligence reports. This assessment was based on the types of declared production equipment and similarities between yeast production and fungal (toxin) production. Al Hakam had also not been identified by intelligence sources.

Iraqi-Declared Facilities Having Fermentation Capacity (1991 Declaration)
Facility Location Iraqi-Declared Use CIA's September 1991 Assessment
Salman Paka Southeast of Baghdad Public health testing Premier BW facility for R&D and production
Al Hakam (b) Southwest of Baghdad Vaccine or biopesticide production Production of botulinum toxin, Clostridium perfringens, and anthrax
Dawrah Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Vaccine Facility Ad Dawrah, near Baghdad FMD vaccine production R&D of viruses for BW
Center for Agricultural Research and Water Resources Baghdad Claimed to be "discontinued" R&D and pilot scale production
Serum and Vaccine Institute Amiriyah Human vaccine production Possible underground BW facility
Ninevah Baker's Yeast Production Factory Mosul Yeast production 10,000-liter fermenter Possible production of mycotoxins and other agents
Misan Yeast Production Factory Al 'Amarah Yeast production, closed Possible production of mycotoxins and other agents
Suq ash (al) Shuyukh Yeast Production Factory An Nasiriyah Yeast production, closed Possible production of mycotoxins and other agents
Al Kindi Company (a) Abu Ghurayb Livestock vaccine production, equipment transferred to Al Hakam Possible production of botulinum toxin, C. perfringens, and anthrax

(a) Damaged or destroyed by Coalition bombing during Desert Storm.

(b) Destroyed in 1996 by UNSCOM.

The three yeast factories were inspected by the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) in 1991 and were dismissed as having any connection to CBW activities. On the basis of all the evidence to date, we conclude that the Suq ash (al) Shuyukh Yeast Production Factory in An Nasiriyah, the Misan Yeast Production Factory at Al 'Amarah, and the Ninevah Baker's Yeast Production Factory in Mosul had no involvement in BW-agent production.

On the basis of Iraqi declarations and other information obtained since 1991, we believe that the Dawrah Foot and Mouth Disease Factory was used for the production of botulinum toxin. The Amiriyah Serum and Vaccine Institute has not been identified as a location where BW agents were produced, and the Al Kindi Company may have been used for production of small amounts of C. perfringens. Equipment from Al Kindi was transferred to Al Hakam and used for BW-agent production.

Appendix C

Iraqi-Declared BW Production Facilities

Since 1995, Iraq has admitted to the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) that biological warfare agents were produced at several sites as listed in the following table. The amounts and locations are based on Iraqi declarations. UNSCOM attempted to verify the information provided, but no credible evidence was found to validate the Iraqi claims. Analysis of equipment and growth media available during the time of production indicates that the production amounts could have been several times higher than admitted.

Iraqi-Declared Locations of Biological Agent Production With Dates of Production and Quantities Produced
Location Anthrax Botulinum Toxin Aflatoxin Clostridium perfringens Ricin Comments
Dawrah FMD Vaccine Facility 5,400 liters (11/90-12/90) Research on acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis virus, rotavirus, camelpox
Al Hakam BW Production Facility 8,350 liters (6/90-12/90) 13,600 liters (1/89-8/90) 340 liters
Iraq claimed to be for Bacillus thuringiensis (biopesticide) production
Al Kindi Veterinary Vaccine Facility(b) (89) (a) Fermentation line moved to Al Hakam, production facility for veterinary vaccines
Al Muthanna (b) (85-87) (a) Research on agents, trichothecene mycotoxin testing
Al Fudhaliyah (Al Safa'ah) Facility 1,600 liters
Wheat cover smut research and storage, trichothecene mycotoxin research
At Taji Single Cell Protein Facility (b) 230 liters
Equipment moved to Al Hakam
Mosul Wheat cover smut production in 1988--5 tons
Salman Pak (b) 150 liters
(11/87-12/87) (a) 600 liters
(a) 300 grams
Live agent testing on animals
Fallujah III (Habbaniyah I) (b) (a) Castor oil plant--ricin produced as a by-product of castor oil production

(a) Small quantities (tens of liters or less) were produced.

(b) Damaged or destroyed by Coalition bombing during Desert Storm. According to UNSCOM, actual production areas were not damaged.

Appendix D

Biological Weapons

Deployment and Destruction

In June 1991, we received reliable intelligence indicating that Iraq had produced and hidden bulk biological warfare (BW) agent and biological weapons, to include bombs and missile warheads, at Al Aziziyah Firing Range, Airfield 37, Al Dijjili, Al Mansuriyah, and At Taji. In addition, bulk agent was stored at Ar Rashidiyah and the military's electronic warfare unit 114. As of an August 1991 report, the weapons were reported to be still hidden underground and had not been bombed or damaged during the war. No hidden filled weapons were ever found by the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM).

After Husayn Kamil's defection in August 1995, Iraq admitted to an offensive BW program, which included deployment of biological munitions. Iraq admitted that bombs and missile warheads had been filled at Al Muthanna with anthrax, botulinum toxin, and aflatoxin in December 1990 and deployed in early January 1991 to four locations: Al Aziziyah, Airfield 37, an abandoned railway tunnel near Al Mansuriyah, and along the banks of the Tigris Canal. Note that these locations closely matched the 1991 reporting we had received, with three sites being identical. Differences in the other sites could be due to a number of factors, including inaccuracies in the intelligence information, different names for the same location, or undeclared deployments by Iraq.

Al Husayn Warheads

Iraq declared that 10 Al Husayn ballistic missile warheads were stored during the war in the Mansuriyah railway tunnel and 15 in pits next to the Tigris Canal--16 reportedly filled with botulinum toxin, five with B. anthracis, and four with aflatoxin. UNSCOM 126 was the first team to visit these sites--neither of which were in likely military locations. Iraq stated that the warheads were hidden at these sites in order to escape potential bombing.

UNSCOM 126 visited Al Nebai but was unable to verify any specific indications of warhead destruction, let alone BW warhead destruction. The site has been used to destroy numerous types of weapons, and the Iraqis and UNSCOM teams have excavated the area repeatedly from 1991 to 1998. The number of missile warheads destroyed by Iraq in this location is still unclear. However, recent testing of warhead fragments from one of the destruction sites has shown evidence for the presence of B. anthracis genetic markers, one of the agents filled into warheads and claimed by Iraq to have been destroyed here, indicating that some fragments of B. anthracis DNA survived the decontamination procedures. There is no indication from these results that live agent survived the decontamination procedures or was released during the destruction of the munitions.


The other primary weapon in Iraq's declared BW arsenal was the R-400A aerial bomb. This is a parachute-retarded bomb with a capacity of approximately 100 liters of liquid agent. According to Iraq the bombs designed for filling with B. anthracis or botulinum toxin were coated internally with epoxy resin and painted with a black stripe along the side to distinguish them from uncoated bombs designed for filling with aflatoxin or chemical agents (designated R-400). Iraq declared that during the war, it deployed BW-filled R-400A bombs to Al Aziziyah and Airfield 37. In total, 100 R-400A bombs were supposedly filled with botulinum toxin, 50 filled with B. anthracis, and seven filled with aflatoxin. The weapons were shrouded and covered with earth. The bombs remained buried until the summer of 1991 when the order was given to destroy all remaining agent and munitions. The bombs from Airfield 37 were moved to Al Aziziyah, where together the contents were chemically inactivated and the shells were explosively destroyed.

Excavations of Intact R-400s

On 14 and 15 February 1997, UNSCOM 173 supervised excavations of the pits at Al Aziziyah where the Iraqis declared the R-400A BW bombs were explosively destroyed. In addition to many remnants, the team discovered three intact R-400A aerial bombs (see figure 4). These bombs were partially filled with a liquid suspected to be decontaminated BW agent. Two of the three bombs were marked with a black stripe, signifying a "special weapon" or biological weapon. The third bomb contained no outside markings but was suspected of containing aflatoxin.

Samples were taken and analyzed by bacteriological, immunological, and molecular biological methods, and all three bombs tested positive for the presence of botulinum toxin or for C. botulinum, the organism that produces the toxin. All bomb samples tested negative for other BW agents, including B. anthracis, aflatoxin, and ricin.

The existence of these bombs containing a BW agent--albeit mostly inactivated--refutes the Iraqi claim that scrupulous attention to detail was observed during the destruction of these weapons. It appears that the Iraqis attempted to explosively destroy all the bombs at once and used insufficient explosive charges to accomplish their mission. This "discovery" is not considered an issue for Iraqi compliance because the bombs were uncovered in the pits where Iraq claimed they were unilaterally destroyed. The UNSCOM inspection team concluded that it was not possible to determine the exact number of R-400 munitions destroyed at Al Aziziyah due to Iraq's continued use of the site to destroy various sorts of unwanted munitions.

Testing of Agents and Delivery Systems

Iraq has admitted conducting open-air tests of several biological agents or simulants in conjunction with several types of delivery devices (see table). All tests with agents reportedly occurred at least a half a year or more before Desert Shield, and it is unlikely that any of the testing could have affected Coalition forces.

Iraqi-Declared Open-Air Testing of BW Weapons
Test Location (Date of Test) Agent Munition
Al Muhammadiyat--3/88 Bacillus subtilis (a) LD-250 bomb (cap. 65 liters)
Al Muhammadiyat--3/88 Botulinum Toxin LD-250 bomb (cap. 65 liters)
Al Muhammadiyat--11/89 Bacillus subtilis Sakr-18 122-mm rocket (cap. 8 liters)
Al Muhammadiyat--11/89 Botulinum Toxin Sakr-18 122-mm rocket (cap. 8 liters)
Al Muhammadiyat--11/89 Aflatoxin Sakr-18 122-mm rocket (cap. 8 liters)
Khan Bani Saad--7/88 Bacillus subtilis Aerosol generator: MI-2 helicopter (with modified agricultural spray equipment)
Al Muhammadiyat--12/89 Bacillus subtilis R-400 bomb (cap. 85 liters)
Al Muhammadiyat--12/89 Botulinum Toxin R-400 bomb (cap. 85 liters)
Al Muhammadiyat--12/89 Aflatoxin R-400 bomb (cap. 85 liters)
Jurf Al Sakr Firing Range--9/89 Ricin 155-mm artillery shell (cap. 3 liters)
Abu Obeydi Airbase near Al Kut--12/90 Water Modified F1 drop tank (cap. 2,200 liters)
Abu Obeydi Airbase near Al Kut--12/90 Water and potassium permanganate Modified F1 drop tank (cap. 2,200 liters)
Abu Obeydi Airbase near Al Kut--1/91 Water and glycerin Modified F1 drop tank (cap. 2,200 liters)
Abu Obeydi Airbase near Al Kut--1/91 B. subtilis and glycerin Modified F1 drop tank (cap. 2,200 liters)
(a) Bacillus subtilis is commonly used as a simulant for B. anthracis.

Spray Tank Testing

In early 1991, we received information that a new, unmanned, remotely piloted "dirty" MiG-21 was tested in January 1991. The MiG was to carry a tank of "dirty chemical liquid" that would be disseminated by spray action.

In early 1992, we received intelligence information that Iraq had developed a biological delivery system that could disperse up to 2,000 liters of biological agent from modified drop tanks attached to an Su-22 Iraqi fighter-bomber.(2) Reportedly, a mockup of the tanks was tested at Abu Obeydi Airbase near Al Kut in early summer 1990, using water and dye to examine the dispersal pattern. A plan was devised to attack Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with the biological-agent-armed Su-22 escorted by three MiG-21 aircraft, contingent on a trial raid using conventional weapons three MiG-21s. The information indicates the BW raid was canceled after the conventional mission was shot down. We have found no information to corroborate such an aerial attack or the destruction of these aircraft.

In August 1995, Iraq admitted to developing and testing a modified drop tank that could be fit to a manned or unmanned, remotely piloted fighter aircraft and that could disperse up to 2,000 liters of the BW agent anthrax. Iraq declared that tests using dyes and a simulant for anthrax were conducted in December 1990 and January 1991 at Abu Obeydi Airbase (see table). The Mirage F1 carrying the tank was reportedly destroyed by Coalition bombing days after the simulant test. Iraq claims four tanks were modified and the remaining three were destroyed unilaterally after the war. Iraq turned over a videotape showing the described simulant test (see figure 5).

There is no evidence to indicate that Iraq used any actual BW agents in its aerosol spray tank testing based on UNSCOM inspections of the Abu Obeydi Airbase and the Taji site, where the destroyed tanks were located.

Other Possible Spray Devices

Before the Gulf war and until today, Iraq has many devices that could potentially be used for dissemination of BW agents. These include agricultural sprayers--either airborne or ground vehicle borne. Although Iraq admitted modifying and testing agricultural spray devices on helicopters, we have no indication that Iraq weaponized any of these types of systems.

Other Iraqi-Declared Tests

Iraq declared that it conducted 10 other open-air weapons tests of biological agents or simulants. The only weapons tests performed with actual agents were concluded in 1989. These tests were conducted with relatively small amounts of agents more than a year before Desert Storm (except for the spray tank tests that did not use actual agent). It is very unlikely that any exposure of Coalition forces to agents could have resulted from Iraqi-declared BW-agent tests.

Additional Possible BW Tests in Iraq

In mid-1989, military reporting indicated that Iraq had been conducting tests of BW agents in the marshlands south of Al Chabaish (see figure 1). In two separate reports, a source reported that civilians had been moved out of the area in preparation for testing on the flora and fauna, and testing was begun and continuing, using thousands of army deserters located in the area as experimental subjects. The testing was reported to have been terminated in mid-1990.

The source who reported the activity was reliable; that is, we believe he accurately reported what he either observed or heard. He obtained information on the BW tests from a subsource, who had also reported reliably in the past. In this case, however, the information from the subsource about the testing was hearsay. Therefore, while we were convinced that the subsource did hear that the BW tests occurred, we had insufficient information to either confirm or deny the reports of the tests.

The Intelligence Community concluded that these reports had little merit. There was no other intelligence to substantiate the clandestine source's reporting, and members of the Community had difficulty believing that Iraq would conduct BW field tests so close to populous areas. Most importantly, collection requirements, including the site name and coordinates indicating a possible BW test site, were issued to follow up on the initial reporting, and no corroborating intelligence could be found to support the claim of an Iraqi BW test site in the marsh lands south of Al Chabaish.

Appendix E

Destruction of Bulk BW Agents Remaining After the Gulf War

Iraq provided details of the methods used for the decontamination and destruction of bulk agents remaining after the Gulf war. The procedures are those commonly used for decontamination of biological materials and would probably be sufficient to inactivate the agents. The fact that the United Nations Special Commission testing failed to recover live organisms from the decontamination sites supports the assessment that no biological agents were released during the decontamination procedures.

Iraqi-Declared Methods for Destruction of Bulk Biological Agents
Agent Remaining Amount (approximate) Location Destruction Method
Bacillus anthracis spores 3,500 liters Al Hakam The bulk liquid material was sterilized at 121oC and 1.5 bar pressure for 1.5 hours, formalin was added to a concentration of 2 percent, and the mixture was left for 48 hours. Potassium permanganate was added to a concentration of 4 percent, and the mixture was left for an additional 48 hours. Samples were tested for viability and pathogenicity. After negative test results were obtained, the material was discarded into the sewer.
Botulinum toxin 8,500 liters Al Hakam Formalin was added to the material to a concentration of 2 percent, and the mixture was left for 24 hours. The mixture was tested for toxicity, and after negative results were obtained, the mixture was sterilized at 121oC for 2 hours. Potassium permanganate was added to a concentration of 0.1 percent, and the mixture was left for 24 hours. Toxicity was tested again, and after negative results were obtained, the mixture was discarded to the drain.
Aflatoxin 1,000 liters Al Hakam (a) Bleach was added to a concentration of 10 percent (weight/volume), and the mixture was left for 24 hours. Another equal amount of bleach was added, and the mixture was left for 72 hours. The containers were then completely burned with added diesel fuel.
Clostridium perfringens spores 340 liters Al Hakam Formalin was added to a concentration of 2 percent, and the mixture was left for 24 hours, potassium permanganate was added to a concentration of 4 percent, and the mixture was left for an additional 24 hours. The material was sterilized for 1.5 hours at 121oC and 1.5 bar. Samples were tested for viability and pathogenicity. After negative test results were obtained, the material was discarded into the sewer.
(a) Aflatoxin was produced and stored at Fudhaliyah then transferred to Al Hakam in January 1991.



(1)The Intelligence Community comprises the Central Intelligence Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, Bureau of Intelligence and Research (State), National Security Agency, National Imagery and Mapping Agency, and several other organizations within the Departments of Defense, Treasury, Justice, and Energy.

(2) An Su-22 bomber was found at the Tallil Airfield with an unusual tank-like object underneath. Additional photographic analysis definitively identified this as a known electronic countermeasure pod.