On March 3, 1997, the Deputy Secretary of Defense directed that the Inspector General (IG), Department of Defense (DoD), assume responsibility for an investigation begun in January 1997 by the Office of the Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Gulf War Illnesses (OSAGWI) to locate missing U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) desk logs maintained in the Joint Operations Center (JOC), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, during the Persian Gulf War.1 Specifically, the Deputy Secretary asked that we follow all leads that could be developed on the location of the original logs or copies in electronic or hard copy versions; gather all originals and copies that could be located; and, if a full copy of the logs could not be located, explain why (Exhibit 1). 2
The NBC desk logs (hereafter, logs) were created and maintained by U.S. Army (USA) Chemical Corps officers assigned to the NBC watch desk in the JOC during the period of about August 1990 to March 1991. The logs were maintained in the "normal course of business," first in handwritten form, then in computer disk form. They were prepared on Department of the Army (DA) Form 1594, Daily Staff Journal, or in a similar format, and they were classified Secret. The purpose of these logs was to provide a chronological record of any NBC-related key events that occurred each day and to serve as memory aids for the six NBC officers. Four of the officers primarily served as NBC desk officers on two member teams during revolving 12-hour shifts; one served as a NBC staff assistant and the other was the senior NBC officer in charge.
Although it is not known with certainty how many log pages were generated, it has been estimated that approximately 180 to 210 pages of logs may have been created by the NBC desk officers during Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Currently, 37 pages of logs are known to exist, all of which are in hard copy form, and are copies of the original documents. These 37 pages cover 26 nonconsecutive days during the period of January 17 through March 12, 1991. They were assembled from pages that were in the custody of CENTCOM and the Office of the Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) (OSD(PA)), Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Office prior to our investigation. All 37 pages of logs have been released to the public by the DoD.3 4
This investigation was conducted by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), the criminal investigative arm of the DoD IG. Significant investigative actions included: conducting approximately 185 interviews and a number of polygraph examinations; execution of 3 search warrants; execution of 2 command directed searches at CENTCOM and Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG), MD; document searches by DoD and non-DoD Agencies and organizations; forensic examination of 4 computers and approximately 100 computer disks; the review of more than 700 boxes containing approximately 700,000 pages of archived records at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); and the review of more than 22,000 pages of CENTCOM FOIA files.
During the course of our investigation, we developed information that supported the issuance and execution of two Federal search warrants and a Military Magistrates Authorization to Search. A 20-page document, entitled "Log Extracts - Biological Defense," was recovered during one of these searches. This document (Exhibit 2) contains 223 entries, which we believe to be excerpts from the original log pages.5
A detailed comparison of the "Log Extracts - Biological Defense" at Exhibit 2 and the existing log pages at Exhibit 3 revealed that, of the 223 entries in Exhibit 2, 58 are identical to entries found on the logs at Exhibit 3; however, 165 entries relate to information not contained in the existing 37 pages of the log . Further, many of these entries fall within unaccounted for time and date gaps in the existing log pages. This includes new entries on 23 of 29 dates, where there are no existing log pages, and which fall within the January 17, 1991 to March 12, 1991 time period. Since approximately 75 percent of the entries on the 20 pages of "Log Extracts" contain new information, this equates to approximately 15 pages of new log entries.6 Exhibit 4 contains an analysis comparing known log gaps with the new entries found on the "Log Extracts - Biological Defense" document.7
Aside from these entries, we did not recover any additional pages of the logs and could not establish a definitive explanation of what happened to them.8 However, our investigation determined that after the Gulf War, the logs, in both hard copy and computer form, were returned to CENTCOM, MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, FL, in about April 1991. The most probable explanation is that these logs, in both hard copy and computer disk form, were destroyed at CENTCOM with other related NBC documents in October 1994, or later, as part of an internal office relocation, personnel changes and movement of the NBC records.
Our investigation also determined that after the Gulf War, in March 1991, one of the NBC desk officers sent a computer disk, believed to contain a copy of the logs to the Chemical Research and Engineering Development Center (CRDEC), Edgewood area, APG, MD. After returning to APG in May 1991, this officer was unsuccessful in an attempt to open and review this computer disk. Investigative efforts to locate the missing computer disk have been unsuccessful.
Additionally, some of the NBC officers recalled a "computer virus" incident in the JOC which they thought might have caused a loss of some logs. Our investigation revealed that a suspected computer virus incident was in fact reported to the National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters by JOC communications specialists. The incident, which occurred on December 13, 1990, was investigated by NSA specialists and determined not to have been a virus, but rather, a software and computer equipment problem. It appears that the suspected computer virus did not cause the loss of the missing logs.
We determined that appropriate directives, regulations and other written guidance were in effect that mandated the preservation and archiving of all Gulf War documents, including the logs, as permanent records, however, these requirements were not met by CENTCOM.
As a result of this investigation, an Army officer is currently under criminal investigation for wrongfully taking and possessing the NBC desk "Log Extracts" and other classified documents. The facts surrounding the activities of this officer have been referred to the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (USACIDC) and U.S. Army Military Intelligence (MI) for further investigation. We are monitoring this separate investigation to ensure that any new leads concerning the missing logs are pursued.
Finally, during the course of this investigation, we did not receive nor did we develop any evidence or credible information to support the theory that any individuals or organizations participated in a conspiracy to destroy or conceal the logs. All key witnesses, known to have had possession of the logs, denied any involvement and/or knowledge concerning deliberate acts of destruction or wrongful disposition of the missing logs. Further no witnesses provided information that they had been directed or pressured to destroy or wrongfully dispose of the logs.
When we assumed control of this investigation from OSAGWI, we learned that investigators from the OSAGWI had compiled an extensive investigative record on the issue of the missing logs. This included interviews of approximately 40 individuals. In-depth interviews of the six NBC officers had been conducted in the January-February 1997 timeframe. Also, in late February 1997, OSAGWI investigators visited CENTCOM and conducted interviews of current and former CENTCOM personnel who may have been in possession and/or control of the logs. During that visit, they conducted an office-to-office search of desks and cabinets within CENTCOM, and examined computers and computer disks that may have contained the logs.
The Department of the Army Office of Inspector General (DAIG), while conducting a separate investigation on a related matter, had also conducted detailed interviews with the six NBC officers. These interviews included questions about the creation, content and maintenance of the logs. These interviews, like OSAGWIs, had been recently conducted.
Prior to the initiation of our investigation, only 36 pages of logs were known to exist. These pages had been previously released to the public by OSD(PA) FOIA office and CENTCOM. An additional log page, previously declassified and thought to have been released in June 1994 by the OSD(PA) FOIA office, was discovered during an internal review of the log pages in March 1997. It was released to the public by the OSD(PA) FOIA office in April 1997 during our investigation.9
These 37 pages of logs, assembled from two sources, were a portion of the logs, originally classified Secret, that had been generated during Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Eleven pages had been in the custody of the J3 (Operations)10 Ground Operations Branch at CENTCOM, Tampa, FL, and 32 pages had been in the custody of the OSD(PA) FOIA office. The 32 pages at the OSD(PA) FOIA office came from the Office of the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Atomic Energy (ATSD(AE))11 which had that portion of the logs declassified in June 1994 in preparation for a press conference held by the Deputy Secretary of Defense. The 11 pages at CENTCOM were found in J-3 (Operations) and declassified in response to a FOIA request in late 1994, and released in January 1995. Five pages were identified as duplicates between the two sets, and there is one duplicate page in the OSD(PA) set bringing the total, minus duplicates, to 37 pages.
SCOPE OF THE DoD IG INVESTIGATION
The Deputy Secretarys letter of March 3, 1997, defined the scope of our investigation. We maintained a cooperative working relationship with the OSAGWI and, although we were not investigating the causes of the Gulf War Illnesses, all information developed that might assist the OSAGWI in its investigative mission was provided to OSAGWI in a timely manner. All agencies and organizations contacted, internal and external to the DoD, were fully cooperative and assisted in this investigation by making their records available for review.
Our investigation began by closely coordinating with both OSAGWI and the DAIG for the purpose of assessing their previous investigative efforts, evaluating the results of their interviews, and ascertaining investigative leads to be pursued. When our investigation commenced, both the OSAGWI and DAIG discontinued their investigations on the disposition of the missing logs.
Based upon this review, we prepared and implemented a comprehensive investigative plan that included the reinterviewing of the NBC officers previously interviewed by the OSAGWI and DAIG investigators, and locating and interviewing all individuals known to have had or who may have had access to, control or custody of the logs.
An effort was initiated to determine what happened to the logs through these interviews, and to pursue all investigative leads developed during this investigation in an attempt to recover the missing logs, in either hard copy or computer form, and to explain what happened to them.
During our investigation, we utilized all appropriate investigative techniques legally at our disposal, including the conduct of interviews, polygraph examinations, searches, records reviews and forensic evaluation of computers and computer disks.
We noted discrepancies and conflicting statements by some of the individuals who created or subsequently had access to, or control of, the logs, regarding the format of the logs, their composition, length and ultimate disposition. We attempted to resolve inconsistencies and discrepancies but could not do so in all instances.
INVESTIGATIVE TECHNIQUES UTILIZED
Of the approximately 185 interviews conducted by DCIS, about 40 persons interviewed by OSAGWI were reinterviewed during this investigation. This included every CENTCOM NBC officer who served in the JOC and who was responsible for making original entries in the logs, as well as other individuals known to have had access to, custody or control of the logs. 12
Witness interviews were conducted with individuals from a variety of organizations, internal and external to the DoD, to which copies of the logs might have been sent. This included, but was not limited to, the Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center, the U.S. Army Center for Military History, the Army Staff, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the Defense Science Board (DSB), the Defense Special Weapons Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the NARA.
During these interviews, it was determined that various individuals and organizations legitimately maintained copies of the existing, incomplete logs. When applicable, witnesses who had possession of the logs, in either hard copy or computer disk form, were questioned about their potential involvement and/or knowledge of deliberate acts of destruction and/or wrongful disposition of the missing logs. None of these individuals admitted to any deliberate acts of destruction or wrongful disposition and no witnesses provided any information suggesting they had been directed or pressured to destroy or wrongfully dispose of the logs.
Our interviews traced the existence of the logs to the CENTCOM J3 (Operations) area at MacDill Air Force Base as late as October 1994, which appears to be the last time a folder and computer disks believed to contain the logs were seen by a witness. We also traced a computer disk, reportedly containing a copy of the logs, to the Studies and Analysis Branch, Edgewood area, APG, where the disk was last accounted for in May 1991.
Searches and Seizures
During our investigation, information was developed that supported the issuance and execution of two Federal search warrants. The warrants were directed at storage facilities containing the personal effects of an active duty Army officer who had access to the logs. Classified documents, including CENTCOM NBC desk-related documents were seized.13 These included the "Log Extracts - Biological Defense" pages, which have since been declassified and are at Exhibit 2.
Additionally, a Military Magistrate's Authorization for Search and Seizure was obtained and served at the officer's residence and military office, in cooperation with the USACIDC.
Inasmuch as a criminal investigation of this officer is ongoing, specific details concerning this matter are not included in this report.
Use of the Polygraph
Polygraph examinations were offered to evaluate the truthfulness of several key witnesses who were considered most likely to have been involved in, or aware of, the potential destruction or disposition of missing logs. Those individuals who voluntarily submitted to a polygraph examination were tested on issues of deliberately destroying the logs and knowing what happened to them. All examinations were favorably concluded with "no deception indicated."14/sup>
Document Searches and Reviews
Documents and records from the NARA and CENTCOM were examined. Document searches and reviews were also conducted at other DoD organizations and non-DoD Agencies believed to have had access to, or interest in, the logs. Additionally, the optical scanning and document storage system (Excalibur) at CENTCOM headquarters, Tampa, FL, and the U.S. Army, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations (DCSOPS) Chemical Branch Office optical scanning and storage system were reviewed. Aside from the log extracts mentioned above, no missing logs were found during any of the searches and reviews conducted during this investigation.
During the 6 years before our investigation, CENTCOM conducted several separate and distinct calls for documents related to Gulf War documents. Additionally, in February 1997, the OSAGWI staff undertook a thorough search of safes and file cabinets at CENTCOM headquarters in an effort to locate the logs.
Selected "keyword" searches of the Excalibur archiving system, which should duplicate what is archived at NARA, were conducted to determine whether CENTCOM still had some information related to the Gulf War that had not been archived. No logs were found.
During our investigation, CENTCOM discovered Gulf War documents that were subsequently reviewed and archived. This included documents on approximately 200 computer disks. However, no additional log pages were found among these computer disks and documents. CENTCOM J1 (Administration) officials continue to advise us and the OSAGWI of the results of their ongoing efforts to locate and archive newly discovered Gulf War documents. DCIS is monitoring CENTCOM archiving efforts, in coordination with NARA and OSAGWI, to determine whether these records contain any missing logs.
All CENTCOM Gulf War related documents at NARA were examined to ensure that the logs were not inadvertently sent to the NARA without first being scanned into the CENTCOM optical storage system. Approximately 700 records boxes, each containing approximately 1,000 pages, were reviewed. Additionally, NARA Gulf War documents that are classified and stored with the DIA were reviewed. No additional logs were located within the custody of the NARA or the DIA.
The DIA was formally asked to review its files to determine whether copies of the CENTCOM logs may exist in agency records. The DIA responded that a search of its files was conducted that revealed the DIA possessed pages of the previously declassified and released logs attached to a coordination copy of a FOIA request received by CENTCOM in September 1994. No additional log pages were located within the custody of the DIA.
The CIA was formally asked to review its files to determine whether copies of the CENTCOM logs may exist in agency records. The CIA responded that a search of its files was conducted and no copies of the logs were located.
The following DoD organizations and non-DoD Agencies and organizations were formally asked to review their files and records repositories to determine whether copies of the missing CENTCOM logs may exist in historical, research, operational or correspondence files:
- National Defense University, Washington, DC
- Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania
- Army Center for Military History, Washington, DC
- Center for Army Lessons Learned, Army Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Leavenworth, KS
- Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL
- U.S. Army Chemical School, Fort McClellan, AL
- Chemical Branch Office, DCSOPS, the Pentagon
- Office of the Chief of Army Public Affairs, the Pentagon
- Office of Legislative Liaison, Army Staff, the Pentagon
- Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Legislative Affairs), the Pentagon
- Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs), the Pentagon
- Mitre Corporation (project on the Gulf War)15
Although several organizations possessed copies of the pages of the logs released previously to the public, the copies were obtained during the normal course of business after public release had been made. All organizations responded that they do not possess any portion of the missing logs in their records repositories and files.
Forensic Computer Recovery and Computer Disk Reviews
Our investigation led to the recovery and forensic examination of approximately 100 computer disks. Forensic examinations were conducted with the assistance of forensic computer specialists from the NSA and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Seventy of the computer disks were recovered from the CENTCOM J2 (Intelligence) Directorate, which OSAGWI investigators identified as possibly containing NBC records or logs, some of which could not be opened and read.16 Approximately 30 computer disks were recovered during the previously mentioned search of an Army officers personal effects. The forensic examination of the disks included attempts to reconstruct potentially damaged and/or erased computer disk files. Examination of these computer disks disclosed no information identifiable as logs.
We also recovered two desktop CompuAdd computers and one laptop computer previously used in the CENTCOM headquarters J3 (Operations) Ground Operations Branch. The laptop and the desktop computers were recovered from temporary storage at MacDill AFB, and may have been the computers used by the NBC desk officers in the JOC during the Gulf War to create and store the logs.17 Witnesses recalled that a utility program approved for "swiping" or obliterating all data from hard drives was or should have been used on these computers for the purpose of safeguarding sensitive information. Each computer should have been "swiped" before shipment to Florida from Saudi Arabia at the conclusion of the Gulf War and "swiped" again prior to being removed from the J3 (Operations) Ground Operations Branch, which was located in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF). Additionally, a computer belonging to the Army officer, who is currently under investigation, was seized and analyzed. No records identifiable as logs were recovered from the hard drives of these computers.
Differences in the NBC Desk Logs Format
A review of the previously released logs revealed a difference in the appearance of some pages of the logs. Specifically, some log pages are smaller in size than others, and the font size/style appears to be different in some instances. The senior NBC officer in charge, when reviewing and comparing the existing logs with the "Log Extracts" that we recovered, speculated that if someone "cut" instead of "copied" entries from the log page on the computer, it could have shortened the original log page by removing the particular log entry. The deputy to the senior NBC officer in charge, who set up the software and electronic format for the logs, recalled that the software allowed the user to elect options in both font size and style. One of the NBC desk officers recalled, after reviewing the logs, being able to select "more attractive" type (font) when making log entries.
The CENTCOM NBC Watch Desk
The CENTCOM J3 (Operations) NBC Division, Chemical Branch Chief, Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, USA, and his deputy, Major (MAJ) xxxxxxxx, related they were among the first CENTCOM headquarters personnel deployed to Saudi Arabia in August 1990. They established an NBC watch desk in the basement of the Ministry of Defense and Aviation building and began keeping hand- written desk logs of significant events, actions, and operational issues on yellow, lined notebook paper. An additional CENTCOM Chemical Branch officer, Captain (CPT) xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, USA, was deployed to Saudi Arabia in mid-August 1990 and primarily worked with LTC xxxxxxxxxx.
We learned through interviews that three Army Chemical Corps officers,
MAJ xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx and CPTs xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, detailed from the CRDEC, Edgewood area, APG, MD, arrived in Saudi Arabia toward the end of August 1990 to augment the NBC desk.
Our investigation revealed that shortly after the arrival of all the NBC officers, the CENTCOM NBC desk began operating on a continuous, 24-hour watch shift. The officers were assigned to a two-person, 12-hour shift, each. The two watch shifts were primarily staffed by MAJ xxxxxxxx and CPT xxxxxx on the a.m. (midnight to noon) shift and MAJ xxxxxx and CPT xxxxxxxxx on the p.m. (noon to midnight) shift. After hostilities, toward the end of March 1991, they ended the 12-hour shifts and began preparations for redeployment back to the United States.
LTC xxxxxxxxxx supervised MAJs xxxxxxxx and xxxxxx and CPTs xxxxxx and xxxxxxxxx, and coordinated NBC defense training. CPT xxxxxxx supported
LTC xxxxxxxxxx with NBC defense training requirements through October 1990 when he redeployed to the CENTCOM (Rear) headquarters in Tampa, FL. CPT xxxxxxx staffed the CENTCOM (Rear) NBC desk during the remainder of the Gulf War and provided direct support to the CENTCOM JOC NBC desk.
How the CENTCOM NBC Desk Logs Were Created and Maintained
Extensive interviews conducted with MAJs xxxxxxxx and xxxxxx, CPTs xxxxxx, xxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxx, and with LTC xxxxxxxxxx, revealed that the logs were classified Secret and probably maintained from late August 1990 to late March 1991. According to LTC xxxxxxxxxx, there was no requirement to maintain the logs as part of his mission, but he wanted the logs maintained so they could be used as memory aids when changing the watch. Initially, the logs existed on yellow, lined notebook paper. Later, they were handwritten on DA Form 1594, U.S. Army Daily Staff Journal.
Sometime during late fall 1990, the NBC desk officers began maintaining the logs on a computer and generally followed the Daily Staff Journal format. The logs were generated in hard copy and computer disk format and were reviewed during each shift turnover by the oncoming watch officers, and routinely by LTC xxxxxxxxxx. The logs were then placed in file folders and stored in a file cabinet adjacent to the NBC desk in the JOC. LTC xxxxxxxxxx, MAJ xxxxxxxx and CPTs xxxxxx and xxxxxxxxx generally recalled a continuous log was maintained by each watch section from the inception of the NBC desk in August 1990 through late March 1991 when the JOC ceased full-time operations. These NBC officers generally recall that the logs were a continuous record of events, actions and activities that they deemed significant for follow-up action, notification and briefing of the follow-on watch shift. LTC xxxxxxxxxx stated that the logs were for internal use only within the JOC, and no logs were ever disseminated, during the Gulf War, to other organizations or agencies outside of CENTCOM.
MAJ xxxxxxxx and CPTs xxxxxx and xxxxxxxxx recalled logs were first maintained by hand and later, during the fall 1990, were maintained by computer. LTC xxxxxxxxxx also recalled bringing a laptop computer with him when he initially deployed to Saudi Arabia. He could not recall, however, whether the computer was ever used for keeping the logs. MAJ xxxxxxxx believed a laptop computer arrived in the JOC during the fall 1990 and was, in fact, used temporarily to maintain the logs. MAJ xxxxxx stated that no laptop computer was used to generate logs, and CPTs xxxxxx and xxxxxxxxx did not recall using a laptop computer.
LTC xxxxxxxxxx, MAJs xxxxxxxx and xxxxxx, and CPT xxxxxx recalled receiving a desktop computer sometime during late November 1990. They believed the desktop computer was in place by Thanksgiving 1990. The computers, known to the NBC desk officers as "CompuAdds," were donated by the Government of Japan as part of its contribution to the war effort. MAJ xxxxxxxx stated that the computers reportedly had been hastily assembled in the United States and shipped to Saudi Arabia. He recalled that a computer disk recorded on one CompuAdd computer frequently could not be read on another computer. MAJ xxxxxxxx believes the 3.5 inch disk drives on the computer were out of alignment. Other NBC desk officers did not recall having problems with the computers in the JOC.
MAJ xxxxxxxx related that they downloaded all computer files from the laptop computer onto 3.5 inch computer disks. He created a duplicate set of disks and all disks were stored in the NBC desk file cabinet. Desk logs and other NBC related files were also created and kept in the same manner on the CompuAdd computers as on the laptop. MAJ xxxxxxxx also recalled that computer disk files of the logs were periodically copied from the computer hard disk to 3.5 inch computer disks and maintained as backup files.
In late March and April 1991, after the end of hostilities, the logs, in hard copy and computer disk format, and other related NBC documents, were packed by
MAJ xxxxxxxx and prepared for shipment to CENTCOM headquarters, Tampa, FL. MAJ xxxxxxxx remembers the electronic files, from both the laptop and desktop computers, that were shipped back to CENTCOM consisted of two sets of 10 disks each. The original electronic files were on one set of 10 floppy disks and a duplicate set of files was placed on another set of 10 disks. MAJ xxxxxxxx stated that the NBC documents, the desktop computer and related equipment were shipped back to CENTCOM by air in about May 1991.
MAJ xxxxxx recalled copying the logs from the hard disk of the computer onto two floppy disks. She told us that each disk contained all the logs; one disk was placed in the shipment back to CENTCOM, Tampa, FL, and the other disk was sent back to CRDEC, APG, MD. MAJ xxxxxx recalled printing out a hard copy of all the logs and including the hard copy with the floppy disk in the papers being shipped back to CENTCOM headquarters. MAJ xxxxxx stated that she did not send a hard copy of the logs to APG.
A Suspected Computer Virus and its Effect on the NBC Desk Logs
MAJ xxxxxxxx recalled a computer virus incident in the JOC during late 1990, referred to as the "Jerusalem" virus, which caused the J-6 (Communications) specialists to check all computers. He believed the specialist ran a utility program, called "Norton Antivirus" on all the computers. It was MAJ xxxxxxxxxx understanding that this "virus checker" eliminates data and files from the computer that have been affected by the virus.
Our investigation did not identify or locate any witnesses who possessed firsthand knowledge about the reported computer virus in the JOC and its actual effect on the logs. Further, no official CENTCOM record of such a virus could be located. Also, no members of the J6 (Communications) staff currently at CENTCOM headquarters, who were interviewed, had any recollection or record of a virus occurring at the CENTCOM JOC during Desert Shield/Storm.
During a subsequent document search and review of DCSOPS documents in the Pentagon, a record was found that referred to a suspected computer virus incident at the CENTCOM JOC. Although the document contained a date-time group indicating the day and time the document was created, it did not include the month and year. The document suggested follow-up action might have been taken by the NSA.
Our investigation confirmed the NSA received a report from the CENTCOM JOC on December 13, 1990, indicating JOC specialists believed a virus had attacked some computers within the JOC. The NSA documents disclosed that, after the initial report, steps were taken to isolate specialized communications links to the JOC and to investigate the matter. Computer experts from NSA determined that there had, in fact, been no virus. The NSA identified the computer problem as being a data recognition problem caused when new software was loaded onto CENTCOM computers.18
NBC Desk Log Issues at CENTCOM
CPT xxxxxxx and other CENTCOM (Tampa) headquarters J3 (Operations) NBC personnel recalled receiving the NBC desk material sent from Saudi Arabia in the April - May 1991 timeframe. CPT xxxxxxx recalled receiving and unpacking "palletized" boxes containing documents, files, computer disks and computers. The files, documents and computer disks, still classified Secret, were placed in safes within the CENTCOM J3 (Operations) NBC Division Chemical Branch office. CPT xxxxxxx also recalled setting up a CompuAdd computer returned from the JOC NBC desk on LTC xxxxxxxxxxxx desk.
CPT xxxxxxx recalled seeing the logs in hard copy form and seeing computer disks labeled as containing the logs after their return from the Gulf War. MAJ xxxxxxxx and Sergeant First Class (SFC) xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, USA, Noncommissioned officer (NCO), NBC Branch, recalled attempting unsuccessfully to view the files on a computer disk containing the logs.
Following the 1991 return of the logs to the J3 (Operations) NBC Division, the office underwent a major downsizing commencing in about September 1992 and ending in about April 1993. In about April 1993, the Chemical Branch office of the NBC
Division was moved into a small office space in the J3 (Operations) Ground Operations Branch of the Current Operations Division, which was located within the SCIF. According to witnesses who worked in this area of J3 (Operations), this office was very small and was commonly referred to as the "NBC closet." In this approximate 6-month period, the NBC Division, with approximately 20 billets, was disbanded as an entity, and only two chemical personnel billets remained. These two individuals included a U.S. Army Chemical Corps officer, MAJ xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, who was subsequently replaced by Colonel (COL) xxxxxxxxxxxxx and LTC xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, respectively, and a U.S. Army Chemical Corps NCO, SFC xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. All other NBC Division members were transferred out of the command or reassigned within CENTCOM. The remaining officers who had created the logs, and others who had been personally aware of their existence, were among those reassigned.
SFC xxxxxxxx, who arrived in December 1992, was the last NCO assigned to the NBC Branch; he left in October 1994. SFC xxxxxxx related that while still in the NBC Division office, in about April 1993, he observed NBC desk related Gulf War documents in three office safes. He recalled seeing logs that "went from day one until they came home from Saudi Arabia." SFC xxxxxxxx also recalled seeing some handwritten pages of logs. He guessed that there were a "couple hundred pages" of logs. SFC xxxxxxxx said that he also recalled seeing six to nine small, cardboard boxes of 3.5 inch computer disks. He said that at least 5 boxes were full with 10 disks each. He stated that the disks were marked "Persian Gulf" and were marked with the dates the files were created.
SFC xxxxxxxx recalled moving two safes and two computers into the NBC closet, inside the SCIF of the J-3 (Operations) Directorate, which occurred in about April 1993. He said he consolidated all Gulf War files into five drawers of one safe and 1 1/2 drawers of the other safe; the remaining drawers of the second safe contained other NBC files.
MAJ xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx related she was assigned to the NBC Division in October 1992, and that within 6 months, she and SFC xxxxxxxx were the only individuals remaining in the entire NBC Division. She said that she was aware that Gulf War material was in the safes, and recalled seeing a file marked "Logs," but she did not recall seeing any logs. She also recalled seeing a box of computer disks, however, she never had occasion to open and review their contents. MAJ xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx was assigned to a different division in the J3 (Operations) Directorate in July 1993, leaving SFC xxxxxxxx by himself as the NBC expert.
COL xxxxx recalled arriving at CENTCOM in the summer of 1993, and that COL xxxxxxxxxx,19 his predecessor, had left in January 1993. The only person in the Chemical Branch when he arrived was SFC xxxxxxxx. COL xxxxx went on terminal leave in April 1994, and was subsequently replaced by LTC xxxxx. COL xxxx initially recalled looking at some of the CENTCOM logs, which he recalls were handwritten, in conjunction with a FOIA request, concerning reports of chemical detections of chemical exposure made by the Czechoslovakian military during the war. 20 In a subsequent interview, after refreshing his memory, COL xxxxx said that this may not have been a FOIA action, but a response to a congressional inquiry from Senator Donald Riegle. He could not recall additional details of the action. He also recalled the Gulf War files being in drawers in several file cabinets. He relied on SFC xxxxxxxx to do the staffing work for him.
In November 1993, SFC xxxxxxxx was assigned to collect relevant portions of the logs from the Gulf War for specific times and dates and to telefax them to the CENTCOM Liaison Office in the Pentagon. These logs were to be used by COL xxxxxxxxxx in preparation for his November 18, 1993, testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives, House Armed Services Committee (HASC).21 Although stationed with another command in 1993, COL xxxxxxxxxx testified before the HASC because he had been determined to be the most knowledgeable individual relative to issues surrounding alleged detections of chemical and/or biological weapons agents during the war. Portions of the logs pertaining to suspected chemical and/or biological agent detections were used by COL xxxxxxxxxx to refresh his memory prior to his congressional testimony.
SFC xxxxxxxx related that when he was tasked to locate logs to support COL xxxxxxxxxxxx congressional testimony, he retrieved the file folder containing an unknown number of pages of logs and, over the course of about three evenings, telefaxed approximately 25 to 40 pages of logs, some of which he marked with an asterisk (*) in the left-hand margin to note relevant information requested by COL xxxxxxxxxx.22 He said during the first night he faxed between 9 and 12 pages, that were retained by LTC xxxxxxxxxxxxxx, Chief, Ground Operations Branch, in his (xxxxxxxxx) desk drawer in J-3 (Operations) and therefore separated from the main folder that was returned to the safe in the NBC Closet.23
SFC xxxxxxxx did not recall who he spoke with on the telephone in the Pentagon during this action, but the name "xxxxxxxx" sounded familiar.24 He also recalled speaking with COL xxxxxxxxxx who gave him specific kinds of entries to look for in the logs. COL xxxxxxxxxx also asked him to fax those pages to the Pentagon, to make a paper copy of all the pages faxed, to package the pages, and to give the package to one of two CENTCOM officers who happened to be going to Washington so it could be delivered to him. SFC xxxxxxxx recalled giving copies of the telefaxed log pages to an unidentified officer from CENTCOM who was possibly a courier from the CENTCOM Liaison Office, or someone traveling to the Pentagon from CENTCOM.25 He identified the asterisks (*) on the left-hand margin of the logs at Exhibit 3, as being his handwriting.26
The last known time the logs were identified as being in existence at CENTCOM headquarters was in October 1994 after LTC xxxxxxx directed SFC xxxxxxxx to remove all documents and files from the NBC Closet so that a new Ground Operations section could take over the space. According to LTC xxxxxxx, LTC xxxxx, SFC xxxxxxxx and other witnesses in the Ground Operations Branch, there were large volumes of documents and files in the NBC Closet, and the office appeared cluttered due to its small size.
LTC xxxxx related that he was assigned to the Ground Operations Branch, Current Operations Division, J3 in July 1994. LTC xxxxx filled the vacancy created by COL xxxxx. LTC xxxxx supervised SFC xxxxxxxx, and shared the small NBC office until he xxxxx was moved into the Ground Operations area just outside the office. They both came under the supervision of LTC xxxxxxx.
LTC xxxxx recalled instructing SFC xxxxxxxx to go through the files and to get rid of anything not related to the Gulf War. He specifically recalled telling SFC xxxxxxxx not to get rid of Gulf War records and to set aside those requiring additional review by him (xxxxx). LTC xxxxx recalled SFC xxxxxxxx leaving him two "Xerox sized" boxes to go through; he thinks the other boxes of material were discarded. LTC xxxxx estimated that the disposed records would have taken up about 20 "Xerox size" boxes. LTC xxxxx estimated that this process took place over a few months while he was also performing duties as a staff officer within the Ground Operations Branch. LTC xxxxx speculated that it was "absolutely" possible that SFC xxxxxxxx may have accidentally discarded the logs. LTC xxxxx told us that he did not recall seeing the logs when he reviewed the material SFC xxxxxxxx had left for him. LTC xxxxx stated that he kept a few NBC related documents pertaining to training and research issues, and had the rest discarded. He stated that the discarded documents were neither Gulf War documents nor the logs. LTC xxxxx denied deliberately destroying the logs or knowing what happened to them.
SFC xxxxxxxx related that in about September to October 1994, while preparing to move to a new position outside the building, he emptied all NBC office documents from the two remaining office safes, which included NBC Gulf War records.
SFC xxxxxxxx recalled that he placed about six boxes containing various NBC files outside the closet. He also recalled placing security classification markings and handwritten "inventory" sheets on the boxes. SFC xxxxxxxx maintained he wrote "TS/SCI" (Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information) on the boxes.
SFC xxxxxxxx explained that he marked them this way because he recalled seeing some Top Secret documents in the safes in the prior NBC office, and wanted to mark the boxes at their highest classification level. According to SFC xxxxxxxx, LTC xxxxxxx instructed him to move the boxes out of the way, and questioned why he (xxxxxxxx) marked the boxes "Top Secret/SCI," stating that J-3 didnt have "TS/SCI" documents in its possession, and to change the label. SFC xxxxxxxx stated he crossed out the markings, leaving "Secret," and moved the boxes a short distance away alongside a row of cabinets. According to SFC xxxxxxxx, LTC xxxxxxx stated that he would have Staff Sergeant (SSGT) xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx., USMC, NCO, in Ground Operations, take care of the disposition of the boxes.
SFC xxxxxxxx described the "inventory" sheets as plain paper containing a short (one sentence), handwritten description of the boxes contents. SFC xxxxxxxx further related that he placed each "inventory" sheet in a manila folder and stapled it to the top of each box.
SFC xxxxxxxx told us that he is "positive" that the folder containing the hard copy logs was placed in one of the boxes along with a small cardboard box containing several 3.5 inch computer disks. Some of these computer disks were labeled as containing NBC logs. He is positive that the folder containing the logs was placed in the boxes because he had previously seen it in the NBC office safe, and recognized it. He recalled using this file in November 1993 when he telefaxed copies of the logs to an office in the Pentagon for COL xxxxxxxxxxxx congressional hearing. SFC xxxxxxxx boxed up the NBC Closet records approximately a week prior to his reassignment, which he recalled as being October 17, 1994. About 1 to 2 weeks later, when he visited LTC xxxxx at the Ground Operations Branch Office, he was surprised to see the boxes still alongside the cabinets. SFC xxxxxxxx told us that he does not know what happened to the boxes, but maintains the boxes were labeled and affixed with the "inventory" sheets, which should have caused them to be processed for archiving.
Finally, SFC xxxxxxxx stated that he thought the logs were important and he did what he was required to do to safeguard them. He denied destroying the logs or any NBC files either as a "cover up" or to avoid his duties. He denied that anyone told him to destroy the logs or any other NBC files.
LTC xxxxxxx was questioned about these specific points, as reported by SFC xxxxxxxx, and stated that he did not recall seeing any boxes marked "TS/SCI," nor telling SFC xxxxxxxx to relabel them, or to move them. LTC xxxxxxx also did not recall any boxes with inventory sheets, as described by SFC xxxxxxxx, nor did he recall ordering anybody to dispose of any such boxes. LTC xxxxxxx also did not recall retaining the folder containing the logs faxed to the Pentagon in November 1993 by SFC xxxxxxxx. LTC xxxxxxx denied deliberately destroying the logs or knowing what happened to them.
During our investigation at CENTCOM headquarters, it was noted that, within 10 feet of where the boxes were allegedly placed, there was a large plastic collection barrel, about 4 feet high by 3 feet wide at the opening. The barrel was used for material/documents intended to be delivered for shredding or pulverizing. The barrel was routinely emptied by NCOs assigned these duties. Classified documents were supposed to be placed in burn bags before being placed in the barrel. Computer disks were to be broken apart with the magnetic media going into a burn bag, and the plastic portion going into regular trash.
SSGT xxxxx related that he was assigned to the Ground Operations Branch in August 1994, and worked immediately outside the NBC Closet. He told us that he recalled assisting LTC xxxxx in destroying documents removed from the NBC Closet and no longer deemed necessary by LTC xxxxx. SSGT xxxxx did not recall seeing any logs while he was assisting in this project. SSGT xxxxx related this process occurredover about a 3-month period shortly after he arrived. SSGT xxxxx is certain that none of these discarded documents ever left the SCIF area for archiving purposes.
SSGT xxxxx stated, "if xxxxx did not want it, it went to the shredder." According to SSGT xxxxx the quantity of material to be destroyed was large enough to justify "special shreds," which consisted of two individuals taking the boxes of documents to the pulverizer for destruction. This shredding duty was in addition to the routine shredding procedure that was in place for emptying the barrel. SSGT xxxxx recalled personally participating in several "special shreds" to dispose of the records coming out of the NBC Closet. SSGT xxxxx also recalled breaking up computer disks with his hands and discarding the magnetic media into burn bags for destruction.
SSGT xxxxx told us he did not see the six boxes SFC xxxxxxxx maintained he placed in front of the row of cabinets. SSGT xxxxx said that it was unlikely these boxes would have gone unnoticed because the boxes would have been placed directly in front of his desk which was located in a confined area and where assigned personnel had to walk to get to their individual desks. However, SSGT xxxxx said that, if
SFC xxxxxxxx had placed boxes in that area outside the NBC Closet, it would have been interpreted that they were meant to be shredded. This was where Ground Operations Branch stored their burn bags of classified material to be shredded and he (xxxxx) may have shredded them. SSGT xxxxx related that SFC xxxxxxxx did not ask him to dispose of any of the records being moved out of the NBC Closet. SSGT xxxxx denied deliberately destroying the logs or knowing what happened to them.
SSGT xxxxx recalled the two CompuAdd computers being moved out of the NBC Closet and eventually processed for disposition by the J6 (Communications) Directorate. He also recalled a laptop computer being removed from the NBC Closet. SSGT xxxxx provided us with copies of turn-in documents for these computers which led to their recovery and subsequent evaluation.
During our investigation, any person known to have worked in the area of the Ground Operations Branch in 1994, when the logs were last sighted, was interviewed. None recalled seeing the boxes in question. Additionally, administrative personnel within J3 (Operations), who may have been involved in processing records for archiving did not recall the boxes described by SFC xxxxxxxx. All denied deliberately destroying the logs, or having any knowledge as to what happened to them.
We made numerous attempts to re-interview xxxxxxxxxxx in an effort to clarify and resolve the aforementioned issues, however, our attempts were unsuccessful.27
Copy of NBC Desk Logs Sent to APG, MD
The U.S. Army Chemical, Biological Defense Command (CBDCOM), formerly the CRDEC, Edgewood area, APG, MD, was the parent command of MAJ xxxxxx and CPTs xxxxxx and xxxxxxxxx, while they were temporarily deployed to the NBC desk in the JOC, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. CPT xxxxxx returned to APG in March 1991 and
MAJ xxxxxx and CPT xxxxxxxxx returned to APG in late May 1991.
According to MAJ xxxxxx, while at the JOC in Saudi Arabia in March 1991, she made a computer disk copy of the logs and mailed it, together with other documents, to APG via registered mail because they were classified Secret. Upon returning to APG, in about May 1991, MAJ xxxxxx attempted to open the computer disk containing the logs, but was unable to do so. She sought assistance from an individual who was knowledgeable with computers; however, he was unsuccessful in getting the information from the disk. MAJ xxxxxx related she was unsure of what became of the computer disk; it may have been left in a safe within the Studies and Analysis Office, CRDEC, APG or could have been destroyed. The Studies and Analysis Office, APG, is the last known location of this particular computer disk copy of the logs. MAJ xxxxxx was only at APG a few weeks before departing on a new assignment. She denied deliberately disposing of any computer disks or paper files containing any of the missing pages of logs.
Interviews of MAJ xxxxxxxx former coworkers, program managers, and supervisors were unsuccessful in locating or determining what became of the missing computer disk containing the logs. The witness identified by MAJ xxxxxx as the person who assisted her could not recall the event; however, we located another witness who recalled MAJ xxxxxx attempting to open the disk, and recalled assisting her. This witness recalled that his computer acted as though the disk was damaged. He also attempted to use a utility program to review the disk but was unsuccessful in that effort.
An APG Command directed search conducted at our request also failed to locate the missing disk.
Requirement to Archive Gulf War Documents
Our investigation revealed that CENTCOM was required by DoD Directive 5015.2 "Records Management Program Within the Department of Defense," dated March 22, 1991, and DoD Directive 5100.3, "Responsibility for Administration and Logistic Support of the Unified and Specified Commands," dated November 1, 1988, to conduct its records disposition program under authorities approved for the records of the Air Force. The Air Force is the appointed CENTCOM administrative executive agent. Thus, CENTCOM, supported by the Air Force, was required to conduct its records management program as specified by Air Force Regulation 4-20, "Disposition of Air Force Records, Records Disposition Schedule." Additionally, we determined that the Department of Air Force provided written guidance to CENTCOM in April 1991 on the procedures for collecting and archiving Gulf War documents.
By letter dated March 2, 1991 (Exhibit 5), the Secretary of Defense directed all DoD organizations and components to save and archive all Gulf War related documents and records. The Secretarys letter was applicable to CENTCOM as a unified command under the provisions of DoD Directive 5015.2.
On July 2, 1991, the CENTCOM headquarters J1 (Administration) published a memorandum setting forth the requirement to save, maintain and archive all Gulf War related documents (Exhibit 6).
In 1991, the CENTCOM headquarters had a single Command Historian, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, who was assigned the task of collecting and archiving all Gulf War documents. xxxxxxxxxxxx told us he requested all "J" Staff Directorates to collect their Gulf War related documents, inventory and box the documents and deliver them to the history office. xxxxxxxxxxxx told us he was well aware of the requirement to preserve and archive Gulf War records and documents and made this requirement known to CENTCOM Command element officials. Our interviews of xxxxxxxxxxxx and members of the J1 (Administration) and J3 (Operations) staffs and others at CENTCOM revealed that xxxxxxxxxxxx was persistent in his efforts to locate, collect and preserve Gulf War documents. Nonetheless, the archiving task was overwhelming due to the large volume of documents and lack of resources necessary for cataloging and archiving the documents. The collection and archiving effort was further complicated by the fact that no formal inventory/check-in process existed to account for all of the boxes of documents. Further, xxxxxxxxxxxxxx office moved several times, within and outside of the headquarters building.
The Gulf War document collection and archiving effort was further complicated by the fact that, by necessity, CENTCOM was focused on their current operational missions; e.g., deployments to Somalia, Operation Provide Comfort and enforcing the "no fly zones" within Iraq.
According to witnesses, sporadic efforts to collect and archive Gulf War documents occurred at CENTCOM between 1991 and 1994. Witnesses interviewed stated that (1) there were times the archiving effort was in hiatus awaiting the arrival of an optical scanning system;28(2) there was disagreement among the "J" Staff officials as to whether the historian or the J1 (Administration) Directorate should be responsible for the collection, inventory and maintenance of Gulf War documents prior to archiving; (3) many lower levels of the CENTCOM chain of command never received direction or guidance from their supervisors regarding archiving Gulf War documents; and (4) archiving Gulf War documents had a low priority within the Command.
xxxxxxxxxxxx stated that he never saw any logs during the archiving process. The NARA archivist who was detailed to CENTCOM to assist in the effort from July 1992 until March 1993 was interviewed. He is certain he never saw any logs as part of the records he organized and catalogued for archiving. Additionally, a records specialist who was hired in October 1993 to scan the Gulf War records into the Excalibur system stated that to the best of her knowledge she never saw any logs.
By the fall 1993, the Congress and many Gulf War veterans groups were questioning DoD officials about suspected chemical agent detections that occurred during the Gulf War and whether U.S. Forces had been exposed to chemical and/or biological agents. Several congressional committees began holding hearings on causes of Gulf War Illnesses suffered by many veterans.
Our investigation determined that COL xxxxxxxxxx used portions of the existing logs in preparation for his testimony of November 18, 1993, before the HASC. Based on our investigation, we believe that COL xxxxxxxxxx probably had only 32 pages of the existing logs that were telefaxed from CENTCOM by SFC xxxxxxxx. COL xxxxxxxxxx told us that he did not take the logs with him when he appeared before the HASC, nor did he take them back to Fort Lewis when he returned there. His recollection was vague as to what became of the log pages in his custody in November 1993. COL xxxxxxxxxx told us he might have left the log pages in an office in the Pentagon, possibly the Army DCSOPS Chemical Branch Office or he might have provided them to either COL xxxxxxxxxxxx, USA, or to LTC xxxxxxxx, members of the DSB Secretariat, for use by the DSB during its study of suspected chemical agent detections. COL xxx, LTC xxxxxxxx and the DCSOPS action officers who provided support to COL xxxxxxxxxx during his November 1993 congressional testimony advised us that they have a vague recollection of seeing the logs during that time period; however, no one clearly recalled receiving the logs from COL xxxxxxxxxx. All of these officers denied having any knowledge about the disposition of the missing logs.
The 1993-94 DSB
The DSB began its study of Gulf War Illnesses in the latter part of 1993. Support for the study, in part, was provided by the Office for Chemical and Biological Matters, ATSD(AE).
We believe that 32 pages of the logs that exist today are probably those used during the 1993-94 DSB study of suspected detections of chemical and/or biological agents during the Gulf War, and their potential impact on the causes of Gulf War Illnesses.
COL xxx, LTC xxxxxxxx and CPT xxxxxxxxxxxxxx, USA, were assigned to the DSB and provided technical, administrative and research support during its deliberations. LTC xxxxxxxx stated she undertook extensive efforts to gather logs, reports and operational records from the Gulf War that addressed issues of chemical agent detections. A portion of the logs was used by LTC xxxxxxxx during the DSB study. COL xxx, LTC xxxxxxxx and CPT xxxxx told us they believed the pages of logs used during this study were the same pages faxed to COL xxxxxxxxxx in November 1993.
Our interviews with DSB staff members, particularly LTC xxxxxxxx, led to the identification of certain notes on the right side margin on many of the existing log pages. These notes, described as both numbers and letters corresponding to a graph chart published in the 1994 DSB Report, signify LTC xxxxxxxxxx efforts to track and identify all alleged chemical and/or biological agent detections mentioned on logs kept during the Gulf War, including the NBC desk logs.29
Requests for Release of the CENTCOM NBC Desk Logs by the Congress and the Public
By mid-1993 several congressional committees were examining reports of suspected detections of chemical agents on the battlefield; chemical and/or biological agent exposure of U.S. Forces resulting from the destruction of Iraqs nuclear, chemical and biological production, storage and research sites; and the destruction of Iraqi munitions storage sites after the war. Veterans groups, members of the media and the public made numerous FOIA requests to the DoD and CENTCOM for Gulf War documents, records and logs that they believed would provide answers to questions concerning whether U.S. Forces were exposed to chemical and/or biological warfare agents during the Gulf War.
Congressional Requests for the CENTCOM NBC Desk Logs
Senator Donald Riegle, Chairman, Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, sent a letter to the Secretary of Defense, dated March 16, 1994, wherein he requested certain categories of records on behalf of the Committee.30 Senator Riegle expressed interest in determining the extent of the diversion of certain NBC materials to Iraq that may have occurred prior to the Gulf War to develop weapons. Specifically, Senator Riegle requested copies of "all U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) logs prepared between August 2, 1990 and September 1, 1991." On April 15, 1994, the DoD Office of General Counsel (OGC), on behalf of the Secretary of Defense, advised Senator Riegle, "CENTCOM conducted a search [for CENTCOM logs] and has identified no documents that meet this description." The OGC response to
Senator Riegle was based on written input from CENTCOM, dated April 12, 1994, that reflects a documents search had been conducted by CENTCOM for the requested documents, and they had a negative response.
Our investigation revealed that at the time of Senator Riegles request, copies of the logs, in both hard copy and on computer disk, were reportedly at CENTCOM headquarters, and 32 pages were in the files of the DSB or the office of the ATSD(AE), in the Pentagon. CENTCOM logs, including the NBC desk logs, were not located and provided to the Senator.31
A review of correspondence between CENTCOM and the Joint Staff, however, revealed a good faith effort was apparently made by the CENTCOM officials to locate the logs in response to Senator Riegles request. Specifically, a copy of the internal CENTCOM Summary Sheet, Form 14, dated April 8, 1994, was obtained and reviewed. It reflected that all CENTCOM Joint Staff Directors and Chiefs of Special Staffs were required to conduct a thorough search of their files in accordance with instructions that had been received from the Joint Staff, the Pentagon, and respond by close of business April 11, 1994. This included the requirement to list the name of each individual conducting the search and how long it took to perform it. A review of the internal CENTCOM staffing records reflected that SFC xxxxxxxx expended 1.5 hours searching J3 Current Operations Division records. No documents were found.32
COL xxxxx, who was SFC xxxxxxxxxx supervisor in April 1994, does not recall the action stating he was preparing for retirement, which would have left SFC xxxxxxxx alone as the NBC subject matter expert in J3 during that timeframe.
FOIA Requests for the CENTCOM NBC Desk Logs
On June 22, 1994, LTC xxxxxxxx released the 32 pages of the logs to the OSD(PA) FOIA/Security Review Office for a declassification review in response to congressional and public interest. Mr. Henry J. McIntire, Deputy Director, FOIA/Security Review Office, conducted a security review of the classified documents that included the pages of the logs, and approved them for public release that same date. The public release was in conjunction with a June 23, 1994, press conference scheduled by Dr. John Deutch, then Deputy Secretary of Defense.
Subsequently, in August 1994, the Gulf War Veterans of Georgia submitted a FOIA request to the OSD(PA). The request was forwarded to CENTCOM where it was received on September 20, 1994, and answered on January 27, 1995.33 CENTCOM approved an initial FOIA release, which contained 11 declassified pages of logs; however, it included some redactions for privacy concerns. Upon appeal of the FOIA action, the matter was referred to the OSD(PA) FOIA office, the appeal authority for CENTCOM FOIA appeals, whereupon it was discovered that both CENTCOM and OSD(PA) FOIA office had possession of logs. According to J1 (Administration) FOIA officials they had not been aware of the previous release of log pages by OSD(PA) FOIA/Security Review office in June 1994.
Based upon the review of correspondence, interviews and the chronology of events, it appears that both CENTCOM and OSD(PA) FOIA/security review officials acted in good faith when making these FOIA releases, and were not initially aware that each had possession of a portion of the logs.
Based on our investigative effort, we reached the following conclusions:
1. We did not recover any additional pages of the missing logs, in either hard copy or computer form. However, we recovered a significant number of log entries some of which we believe were copied from the still missing pages of the logs. These log entries are contained in the "Log Extracts," which we recovered during a search of personal effects belonging to an Army officer who previously had access to the logs and who is currently under criminal investigation in connection with this matter.
2. The most probable explanation for the missing logs, which were returned to CENTCOM, MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, in April 1991, is that they were destroyed. This probably occurred in October 1994 or later, after the downsizing and relocation of the CENTCOM J3 NBC office, and after a complete rotation of personnel including original NBC officers who served in the JOC in Saudi Arabia.34
3. Despite considerable effort, the computer disk purportedly containing a copy of the logs returned to APG, MD, in March 1991, could not be located.
4. The suspected computer virus that reportedly occurred in the CENTCOM JOC during December 1990 was determined by NSA not to be a computer virus, but a software recognition problem. Even if a computer virus had occurred at that time, as reported, it should not have had an effect on logs created and maintained after the offensive operations commenced on January 17, 1991, and when chemical and biological exposure incidents most likely would have occurred. Therefore, no missing log entries or pages appear to be attributable to a computer virus.
5. Although directives, regulations and internal CENTCOM J1 (Administration) memoranda required that Gulf War records be retained, safeguarded and archived as permanent records, the logs, in their entirety, were not safeguarded and archived by CENTCOM.
6. Our investigation found no credible evidence to support a conspiracy to willfully and wrongfully destroy or dispose of the logs in violation of either the Uniform Code of Military Justice or Title 18, United States Code.
Although we have completed our formal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the missing logs, we will continue to maintain liaison with CENTCOM and the OSAGWI in the event either of them provides any leads requiring additional investigative effort to locate the missing logs. Further, the DCIS will continue to monitor the USACIDC and MI investigation of the U.S. Army officer we discovered to be in possession of Gulf War related documents, and will assist in pursuing any investigative leads pertaining to the missing logs.
Any significant developments resulting in the recovery of missing logs will be provided in a supplemental report.
|1||Deputy Secretary of Defense memorandum, dated March 3, 1997|
1CENTCOM refers to the U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, FL. CENTCOM (Forward) refers to the deployed forward headquarters, established in the Ministry of Defense and Aviation building in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The CENTCOM JOC consisted of crisis action watch teams that responded to actions and taskers relative to the conduct of the Gulf War.
2Many veterans of the Gulf War have been experiencing a variety of physical symptoms, collectively called Gulf War Syndrome and later, Gulf War Illnesses. In response to veterans concerns, the DoD established a task force in June 1995 to investigate all possible causes. On November 12, 1996, DoD responsibility for these investigations was assumed by the OSAGWI.
3Desert Shield/Desert Storm are the DoD operational names describing the defensive build-up period (Desert Shield - August 7, 1990 to January 16, 1991) and offensive operations against Iraq (Desert Storm - January 17, 1991 to February 28, 1991, and cease-fire negotiations with the Government of Iraq, March 1-4, 1991).
4OSAGWI based this estimate on the assumption that one page of log was written for each day in theater, and with interviews of the NBC officers who indicated that the logs were kept with less frequency in August 1990 when the NBC desk was being established and in late March 1991 when they were preparing for re-deployment.
5Interviews of former NBC officers confirmed the subject document contained entries they made or recognized as being contained in the original logs.
6DCIS released copies of the "Log Extracts" to OSAGWI and CENTCOM officials for their review. Both organizations confirmed that they had not seen the "Log Extracts" document, and that it contained new information. OSAGWI is evaluating the information contained in the new log entries .
7A table of the CENTCOM NBC Desk Logs Span and Gaps currently exists on the website GulfLINK.
8One of the recurring difficulties in this investigation was locating and interviewing individuals regarding their recollection of events, which may have been insignificant at the time of occurrence--in some cases 6 to 7 years ago. Further, most military witnesses had been reassigned or had retired from active duty, and there had been a complete changeover of personnel in most organizations.
9The 37 pages of CENTCOM logs previously released to the public can be found at Exhibit 3. In conjunction with its investigation of certain Gulf War events, the OSAGWI determined that only 37 nonconsecutive pages of the CENTCOM logs were known to exist. Two pages exist for segments of each of 4 days: January 19, 20, 21 and 23, 1991. These four additional, partial pages are included for completeness, making a total of 41 pages found at Exhibit 3.
10J codes are used to identify standard segments of joint staffs; i.e., J1 is Administration, J2 is Intelligence, J3 is Operations, J4 is Logistics, J5 is Plans, and J6 is Communications.
11In January 1997, the ATSD (AE) became the Office of the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense Programs (ATSD(NCB))
12Unless noted otherwise, the rank and title of witnesses, are those that applied during the time in question. Some military witnesses have retired from active duty or have changed assignments.
13Based upon a review of records, these items were packed for shipment in June 1996 in conjunction with the officers change of duty assignment and were subsequently placed in storage in September 1996.
14DoD Directive/Regulation 5210.48, "Polygraph Program," prohibits or restricts the dissemination of polygraph results and refusals. Polygraph results may be made available within the DoD to officials responsible for personnel security, intelligence, counterintelligence, law enforcement, and administration of justice. Polygraph results may be released outside of DoD only to appropriate law enforcement officials. Refusals, in criminal cases, may not be communicated to a persons supervisor, but may be released to officials directly involved in the administration, control or conduct of criminal investigations.
15In December 1996, Mitre Corporation was awarded a contract, under the auspices of the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense (Intelligence Oversight) to organize, review and analyze millions of Gulf War related documents at all security classification levels from several Government sources. This included the DIA; NSA; Department of State, the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force; CIA; DoDs Gulf War Declassification Project; and CENTCOM. It was determined that Mitre only has copies of some of the existing pages of logs in their files.
16Although the computer disks containing the logs were traced to the J3 (Operations) Directorate, some of the labels on the computer disks in the J2 (Intelligence) Directorate indicated that they may have contained NBC related information. The disks were evaluated with negative results.
17Although we could not identify any of these computers by serial number as being used in the JOC at the time the logs were created, witness interviews indicated that the computers recovered for evaluation may have been those used. The laptop computer contained two removable hard disk drives that were also evaluated.
18Since NSA computer experts determined that the alleged computer virus penetration of the CENTCOM JOC computers did not occur and was, in reality, a computer data recognition problem, it appears the gaps and missing days on the logs did not result from a computer virus as some suspected. Additionally, any log entries and data lost would have been lost prior to December 13, 1990, when the alleged computer virus was suspected in some JOC computers. Thus, the computer virus theory would not explain missing log pages, dates and gaps occurring during and after Coalition Forces offensive operations which began January 17, 1991.
19By November 1993, LTC xxxxxxxxxx had been promoted to colonel (06) and reassigned to Fort Lewis, WA.
20DCIS checked the FOIA files at CENTCOM, both hard copy files and the Excalibur scanning system looking for logs, both printed and handwritten, with negative results.
21The hearing was before the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee on Armed Services and is discussed in HASC report 103-27.
22During his first interview with OSAGWI investigators, SFC xxxxxxxx estimated that he telefaxed 35 to 40 pages of logs.
23SFC xxxxxxxx identified the 11 pages of logs that were discovered during a FOIA request in late 1994 as probably the ones he faxed to the Pentagon during the first night in November 1993 and which he claims were retained by LTC xxxxxxx.
24LTC xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, USA, was detailed to the ATSD(AE), the Pentagon, in late 1993, and served on the DSB in 1993 - 1994, where she later reviewed existing logs and made annotations on the right side margin. LTC xxxxxxxx was the action officer who released the 32 pages of the logs to OSD(PA) for declassification and public release in June 1994. She and another witness, assigned to the ATSD (AE) and the DSB believe that the log pages originally came from COL xxxxxxxxxx during preparation for his congressional testimony or from the Army DCSOPS, Chemical Branch office, which was involved in the action.
25The CENTCOM liaison officers were identified and interviewed as were other CENTCOM officers who may have transported these log pages. No one could recall carrying these copies of the logs to the Pentagon. Further, a search for the logs in the CENTCOM Liaison Office, the Pentagon, was negative.
26A review of the existing logs located at Exhibit 3 revealed that 22 pages have asterisk (*) marking(s) on the left-hand margins. This investigation could not verify the actual number of pages telefaxed by SFC xxxxxxxx, since the file reviewed by COL xxxxxxxxxx could not be located; however, it is believed that they may have been the 32 pages ultimately received and declassified in June 1994 by the OSD(PA) FOIA office.
27It is noted that OSAGWI investigators conducted a transcribed interview of xxxxxxxxxxx in February 1997. DCIS conducted a preliminary interview of xxxxxxxxxxx on April 8, 1997. At that time, xxx xxxxxxxx agreed to a follow-up interview on the next day, but subsequently canceled it advising that he intended to consult with an attorney. Efforts to re-interview xxx xxxxxxxx through his attorneys were unsuccessful. xxx xxxxxxxx retired from active duty in 1995.
28The Command Historian was able to secure archiving support from the NARA. A temporary archivist was assigned and Commander in Chief (CINC) Initiative funds from the Joint Chiefs of Staff were obtained to purchase an optical scanning system (Excalibur) for use in copying and archiving the Gulf War documents.
29The markings described by LTC xxxxxxxx are noted on 18 of the existing NBC pages at Exhibit 3. Further, the 32 pages of logs in the files of the OSD (PA) FOIA office were released by LTC xxxxxxxx for security classification review prior to their pubic release in June 1994. It is noted that LTC xxxxxxxxxx markings on the log pages in the files of the ATSD(AE) office were in pencil.
30This Senate committee had oversight jurisdiction relative to the Export Administration Act.
31During this timeframe, LTC xxxxxxxx used portions of the logs during the DSB study while detailed to the office of the ATSD(AE), the Pentagon. The OGC letter tasking DoD components to search for the records requested by Senator Riegle did not reflect the DSB or the ATSD(AE) as an addressee.
32SFC xxxxxxxx stated that he had possession of the folder containing the logs in November 1993 when he faxed copies of several pages to the Pentagon for COL xxxxxxxxxxxx testimony and that he saw the logs again in October 1994 when he placed the same folder containing the hard copy of the logs in a box of records intended for records disposition. The CENTCOM search for Senator Riegle fell within these two dates. This issue was developed during this investigation after xxx xxxxxxxx made himself unavailable for an additional interview and represents a significant inconsistency with regard to the disposition of the logs.
33In late 1994, while coordinating this FOIA request, a folder containing the 11 pages of logs was discovered in the Ground Operations Branch, J-3 (Operations), CENTCOM, by either LTC xxxxxxx or LTC xxxxx. Both thought the other individual had found the folder. SFC xxxxxxxx maintains that LTC xxxxxxx originally retained this folder in November 1993 in his desk on the first night after he (SFC xxxxxxxx) telefaxed copies of the logs to the Pentagon. These issues were never resolved.
34The October 1994 time period is based on SFC xxxxxxxxxx contention that the logs, in both hard copy and computer disk form, were placed in one of the six boxes of records that came from the NBC Closet. We could not corroborate this assertion through witness interviews of personnel in the office area. xxx xxxxxxxx, now retired, would not make himself available for further interview, thus we were unable to resolve inconsistencies or address new issues that were developed during this investigation, to include his search for records in April 1994 in response to Senator Riegles request.