III. SIGNIFICANT FINDINGS
The information developed in this investigation fell into two general areas: an analysis of the significance of the information in the ARCENT message, and troop unit movements in and around each site.
A. Analysis of the ARCENT Message
The following analysis is based on the interview with the US Army intelligence officer who drafted the USCENTCOM message to ARCENT, and our own investigation:
B. Troop Movements
Analysis of unit location data (Tab C) showed that every one of the sites had at least one US unit within five kilometers of it. Some sites had numerous units nearby throughout the ground war and during the post-cease-fire period. For example, two sites that were within a few kilometers of each other had elements of two US armored divisions, two engineer battalions, and one EOD detachment in their immediate vicinity. Another large ammunition storage area, the Rumaylah Ammunition Storage Area, Southwest, had elements of three US Army divisions, two armored cavalry regiments, two engineer battalions, and four EOD detachments either passing through it, conducting inventory, doing demolition work, or bivouacked. We used troop movement information to identify key individuals to be interviewed. Those interviewed stated that during their operations at these sites there were no symptoms, illnesses, or injuries that could be attributed to chemical warfare agent exposure.
The purpose of this investigation was to determine if chemical warfare agents were present at any of the 17 sites listed on the February 28, 1991, USCENTCOM message to ARCENT, and to determine if there was a release of a chemical warfare agent, resulting from the air or ground campaigns or from demolition operations after the cease-fire.
There are no validated reports of US soldiers with chemical warfare agent injuries or who suffered symptoms consistent with exposure to a chemical warfare agent (with the exception of the reported mustard agent exposure as noted earlier.) Records of the Army and Navy revealed no injuries caused by a chemical warfare agent. We found no record of medical evacuation to Navy ships for chemical warfare agent exposure. The investigation was terminated before we investigated Air Force medical evacuation records.
The Central Intelligence Agency assessed in 1997 that chemical warfare agents were only stored at two locations in the Kuwait theater of operationsAn Nasiriyah and Khamisiyah (also known as Tall al Lahm). Both of these locations are among the 17 sites listed in the message to ARCENT. Although there were many reports by veterans that they saw chemical weapons, our research provided no conclusive evidence of chemical warfare agents at any of the 17 sites (excluding Khamisiyah and An Nasiriyah). The fact that US troops were erroneously identifying particular markings on munitions as chemical weapons contributed heavily to anecdotal reports of chemical weapons at sites other than Khamisiyah and An Nasiriyah. Iraq did not consistently mark its chemical weapons. Without distinguishing or unique markings, chemical warfare agent weapons could not be recognized easily and would have required special training and hands-on inspection, such as that given the EOD teams.
Explosive ordnance disposal and engineer specialists who were interviewed those principally responsible for the destruction of major ammunition supply points confirmed the absence of symptoms or casualties associated with chemical warfare agent exposure during their demolition operations.
The Presidential Special Oversight Board requested that we provide a summary of this investigation, which we did at a public hearing on September 16, 1999. Based on that summary, the Board concluded that the information obtained to date, the emerging results, and the anticipated outcomes from continued investigation are not likely to improve our understanding of any unexplained illnesses. Consequently, the Presidential Special Oversight Board recommended terminating further investigation; therefore, this investigation is discontinued.
This investigation is closed. However, if you believe you have information that would change this report, please contact my office by calling 1-800-497-6261.
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