** NOTE: UNEDITED. **
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
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PRESIDENTIAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE
GULF WAR VETERANS' ILLNESS
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MARCH 18, 1997
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SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH
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The Presidential Advisory Committee on
Gulf War Veterans' Illness met at the Wyndham Hotel,
Wasatch Room 3/4, 215 West South Temple Street,
Chairman Philip Landrigan, presiding.
COMMITTEE DISCUSSION OF CHARGE 3
James J. Tuite, III 6
Victor Silvester 20
Dal Belieu 31
Major Lisa Porter 41
Colonel David Irvine 49
STAFF BRIEFING: IMPLEMENTATION OF FINAL REPORT 51
MODELING FOR KHAMISIYAH PIT DEMOLITIONS 57
OVERVIEW OF ONGOING AND NEW DOD ACTIVITIES 124
DOD'S CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL WARFARE AGENT 178
DOD'S INVESTIGATION OF KHAMISIYAH 225
INVESTIGATIONS RELATED TO INTELLIGENCE,
CHEMICAL WARFARE AGENTS, AND TROOP EXPOSURES
IN THE GULF 254
COMMITTEE AND STAFF DISCUSSION; NEXT STEPS 315
2 (8:30 a.m.)
3 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: I am Philip Landrigan
4 and I am presiding as the acting Chair this morning
5 and today and to formally open the meeting, I'd like
6 to turn the mike over for a second to Ms. McGuire, who
7 is the Designated Federal Official.
8 MS. McGUIRE: Good morning and I'd like to
9 call the meeting to order.
10 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: So thank you all for
11 having come here today. I hope you all had a good
12 Saint Patrick's Day. We've got a full day today and
13 we want to try to move it along briskly. We want to
14 start with apologies from our Chair Joyce Lashof.
15 Doctor Lashof has become ill, which is why I'm sitting
16 in the Chair today. We all join, I hope, in wishing
17 her a speedy recovery.
18 For the first item on the agenda, I'd like
19 to turn now to Robyn Nishimi, the Executive Director
20 of the Committee, who will present the charge that was
21 given to us by President Clinton that ratifies our
22 existence for the next nine months or so.
1 MS. NISHIMI: Thank you, Phil. As Phil
2 indicated, the Committee's tenure was extended on
3 January 30th with a new Executive Order and that's in
4 the Committee's book at, I think, Tab B. There are
5 two principal elements to the new charge. The first
6 is continued oversight of the Government's
7 investigations into possible chemical and biological
8 weapons exposures and then the second is an evaluation
9 of the Government's response to the recommendations in
10 the Committee's final report.
11 So the way today's meeting has been
12 structured is that following the public comment
13 period, Doctor Cassells will brief the Committee about
14 the implementation plan and the Committee can discuss
15 any questions that it has concerning that and then
16 we're going to move right into a full day of briefings
17 and testimony from officials from the Department of
18 Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency.
19 The purpose of opening this initial
20 discussion is whether or not the Committee has any
21 questions on the Executive Order and the President's
22 charge to the Committee.
1 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: So it's open for
2 discussion to the members of the Committee or its
4 MS. NISHIMI: I should also mention the
5 other thing is the President issued a memorandum
6 calling special attention to some documents related to
7 the Khamisiyah investigation. That Committee and
8 staff -- I would like the staff to discuss that with
9 the Committee following the testimony that we receive
10 today but he is seeking in the latter report that's
11 due on April 30th some evaluation of these events and
12 so the staff is prepared to discuss that with the
13 Committee later today.
14 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Any further
16 MS. NISHIMI: Go to public comment then?
17 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: All right, let's move
18 to the next section of the agenda, which is public
19 comment. We have three persons who have requested to
20 speak this morning and the first is Mr. James Tuite.
21 If Mr. Tuite is here, we'll ask him to come to the
22 mike. Thanks, Jim. Good morning.
1 MR. TUITE: My name is James Tuite. I
2 directed a Senate Banking Committee investigation into
3 this issue from 1993 to 1995. I'm currently Director
4 of the Gulf War Research Foundation. I serve on the
5 Board of the National Gulf War Resource Center and I'm
6 the Inter-disciplinary Research Director for the
7 Chronic Illness Research Foundation.
8 Today as the Committee enters into its new
9 phase of responsibility concerning oversight of the
10 Department of Defense inquiry into the facts
11 surrounding Gulf War veterans' illnesses, I am struck
12 by the appropriateness of our location here in Salt
13 Lake City where you see many of the illnesses being
14 experienced by our soldiers are also being experienced
15 by hundreds of individuals who work for the U.S. Army
16 at nearby Dugway Proving Grounds.
17 A number of these individuals during my
18 inquiry into this issue provided me with background
19 materials which appear in reports I've previously
20 prepared for the U.S. Congress about the inadequacy of
21 our chemical and biological warfare defense doctrine,
22 an inadequacy that may be directly responsible for our
1 appearance here today.
2 Exposure synergism; while the Department
3 of Defense and others imply that the phenomena of
4 exposure synergy, that is two exposures reacting with
5 one another, is an unresearched subject, I currently
6 have Freedom of Information Act requests pending with
7 Dugway Proving Grounds to obtain notebooks, reports
8 and related materials regarding the following studies
9 conducted in 1972, 25 years ago; experiments designed
10 to evaluate the additive and synergistic action of
11 military chemical agents with the toxic and lethal
12 actions of pesticides, potentiation of agent toxicity
13 in animals previously exposed to commercial
14 insecticides, and complimentary toxicological effects
15 of plant poisons and chemical agents in mammals.
16 Recent revelations about Khamisiyah; in
17 its first interim report in the destruction of the
18 bunker complex at Khamisiyah, the Department of
19 Defense on February 21st, 1997 revealed that the
20 Central Intelligence Agency citing national security
21 as the reason, had been withholding information that
22 U.S. units were warned prior to the start of the
1 ground war that this complex was suspected of
2 containing chemical weapons. However, the information
3 did not appear to flow to the units responsible for
4 the destruction of the complex after the war.
5 While the units destroying the munitions
6 did not find chemical agents, the United Nations team
7 inspecting the site in November 1991 found several
8 different types of chemical warfare agent rounds in
9 the complex. U.S. personnel served on this inspection
10 team and the information was reported through U.S.
11 defense and intelligence channels. Two weeks later
12 the Central Intelligence Agency notified Central
13 Command that one of the units present may have been
14 contaminated when the facility was destroyed. There
15 is no evidence that any further action was taken.
16 In February 1994 the information about the
17 November 1991 inspection was reported to me in my
18 capacity as a U.S. Senate Banking Committee
19 investigator by a United Nations spokesperson. I, in
20 turn, passed the report to the Defense Science Board
21 Task Force meeting chaired by Doctor Joshua Letterberg
22 three days later.
1 During a May 25th, 1994 hearing of the
2 Senate Banking Committee in a prepared statement
3 submitted under oath, a Department of Defense
4 official, Doctor Edwin Dorn, at first denied that
5 there were any chemical or biological weapons, quote,
6 "found in the Kuwait Theater of Operations, those
7 portions of southern Iraq and Kuwait that constituted
8 the battlefield". It was only during questioning by
9 the Committee chairman and after being confronted with
10 information from the United Nations that another
11 Pentagon witness, Doctor Theodore Prociv, admitted
12 that some chemical warfare munitions were found in
13 areas near U.S. force locations.
14 The Department of Defense now cites this
15 testimony as the first time they publicly admitted the
16 possible presence of chemical warfare agents in the
17 theater of operation and the cite in question is
18 Khamisiyah. Yet the Pentagon did not notify soldiers
19 or the public about this issue until June 1996.
20 At a hearing of the Senate Armed Services
21 Committee on February 27th, 1997 either the Committee
22 or the Pentagon inadvertently released a report on the
1 investigation into the disappearance of logs
2 containing the historical record of the chemical,
3 biological and radiological detections and exposures
4 during the war. The report explains away the
5 disappearance of all but 36 pages of the 200-page log
6 by claiming that a computer virus ate some of it and
7 that both sets of diskettes and hard copy files
8 disappeared from safes in secure locations in both
9 Florida and Maryland.
10 What the report does not emphasize is that
11 these records seemed to exist in April 1993 but were
12 gone by the late fall of the same year.
13 Coincidentally, during the same period both the Senate
14 Banking Committee and the Senate Arms Services
15 Committee first raised the possibility that U.S.
16 forces may have been exposed to low level chemical and
17 toxin warfare agents during the war.
18 The report acknowledges that while the
19 majority of the records have disappeared, 36 pages of
20 the log were found in the late fall of 1993. The
21 report does not emphasize, however, that in March 1994
22 the Senate Banking Committee requested these documents
1 and in April 1994 a reply was issued by the Pentagon's
2 General Counsel's office that CENTCOM could not
3 identify any such documents. In May 1994 the
4 Secretaries of Defense, Health and Human Services and
5 Veterans Affairs issued a joint letter saying that
6 there was no classified information indicating any
7 detections of or exposures to chemical or biological
8 agents. The remaining 36 pages were then classified
9 secrets and were full of reports of both chemical and
10 biological warfare agent detections.
11 The report also fails to emphasize that
12 two military officials actually possessed copies of
13 the remaining 36 pages. Lieutenant Colonel Vicki
14 Merryman and Major Ben Hagar, were assisting in the
15 Defense Science Board inquiry and were directly
16 reporting to and advising Department of Defense
17 witness Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of Defense
18 for Atomic Energy for Chemical and Biological Matters,
19 Doctor Theodore Prociv, during the Defense Science
20 Board Task Force inquiry and when he testified before
21 Congress at the May 24th, 1994 hearing of the Senate
22 Banking Committee.
1 Additionally, Lieutenant Colonel Merryman
2 served as the NBC officer at the ARCENT headquarters
3 during the war and was cited in the log suggesting
4 that she was aware of the existence of the log. Their
5 office and particularly Major Hagar were in frequent
6 contact with the Banking Committee's principal
7 investigator during the same period that the
8 Pentagon's General Counsel and three Cabinet
9 secretaries claimed the log did not exist. Clearly we
10 now know they did.
11 Doctor Prociv, who is still the Deputy
12 Assistant Secretary of Defense for Atomic Energy for
13 Chemical and Biological Matters accepted this position
14 in early 1994. Up to that time he was Vice President
15 of Science Applications International Corporation,
16 SAIC, in Dayton, Ohio. SAIC is an employee owned
17 company that provided technical assistance to the
18 Department of Defense in estimating the fallout threat
19 during the war and continues to provide technical
20 assistance to the Central Intelligence Agency on
21 fallout dispersion models used to determine whether or
22 not hazardous fallout may have reached the troops.
1 This raises a separate question about the possibility
2 of a conflict of interest.
3 The congressional committees involved,
4 including the Senate Banking Committee, which has
5 responsibility for export oversight and which was
6 looking into U.S. exports that contributed to Iraq's
7 chemical, biological, nuclear and missile system
8 development programs, as well as the related health
9 consequences of the war, had congressional oversight
10 jurisdiction of the issues involved. The staff
11 members had security clearances necessary to receive
12 all levels of classified information. Still the
13 information was not provided.
14 Whether or not Gulf War commanders were
15 made aware of the various detections is unclear.
16 Certainly, some of them were aware of the reported
17 detections based on their own accounts in interviews
18 I conducted during the Banking Committee inquiry. But
19 there is no evidence to suggest that the Gulf War
20 commanders intentionally exposed our soldiers to what
21 they believed to be hazardous levels of chemical
22 warfare agents. No commander would intentionally
1 jeopardize the health and safety of his troops if for
2 no other reason than the need to maintain the
3 integrity of his fighting force. But there is a great
4 deal of evidence to indicate that our chemical warfare
5 defense doctrine, which suggests that the chemical
6 warfare agent exposure are acute, immediate and
7 severely debilitating, is itself severely flawed.
8 The doctrine of other nations, including
9 Iraq and the former Soviet states, acknowledge that
10 repeated exposure to even very low levels of chemical
11 warfare agents can result in serious physiological
12 damage. Clearly with what we know now we must assume
13 that our soldiers may have been exposed to these and
14 other hazardous materials.
15 Based on the above information, a
16 substantial body of evidence is gathering indicating
17 that the Department of Defense officials directly
18 conspired to withhold information from the United
19 States Congress. Given the broad nature of this
20 apparent conspiracy now involving missing classified
21 materials, providing false and misleading information
22 to Congress, including in testimony provided under
1 oath, the impropriety of the Department of Defense
2 continuing this inquiry is clear.
3 Recent misconduct allegations; finally,
4 over the last several months since Doctor Rostker has
5 taken over the Department of Defense investigation, a
6 number of veterans have contacted me regarding what
7 appears to be continuing unethical behavior on the
8 part of the Department of Defense investigative staff.
9 Detailed information regarding three cases in which
10 Department of Defense misconduct has been alleged with
11 supporting documentation is being submitted with my
12 written testimony.
13 Toxicological injuries; finally, we must
14 distinguish between the issue of whether or not our
15 troops were exposed to hazardous materials and whether
16 these exposures resulted in the illnesses in question.
17 We must not get bogged down in our zeal to determine
18 who is wrong and forget about what is wrong. Often I
19 compare the government's reaction on this issue to
20 being similar to that of individual arguing at the
21 scene of an accident over who was at fault while
22 pedestrians and passengers sit by on the ground
1 bleeding to death.
2 Improper and illegal actions must be dealt
3 with but our priority must be in determining the cause
4 and treatment of the illness and in changing our
5 doctrine and equipment to prevent future occurrences.
6 As the inter-disciplinary research coordinator with
7 the Chronic Illness Research Foundation I am concerned
8 that prolonged delay in dealing with these illnesses
9 or the dismissal of toxicological injuries as stress-
10 related disorders will have disastrous consequences.
11 While it is clear that many toxic exposures result in
12 symptoms similar to those often identified with post-
13 traumatic stress disorder and that the veterans often
14 need psychiatric care, the misidentification of
15 toxicological and psychiatric symptoms as stress
16 related illness will result not in enhanced care for
17 our veterans, but rather will contribute to ignoring
18 what may be progressive auto-immune, neuro-immune and
19 other disease processes brought on by neurological
21 Other issues; in addition to the foregoing
22 testimony and attached exhibits, I am submitting
1 transcripts of recent wartime interviews of former
2 Czechoslovak senior chemical detection officers on the
3 nature and location of wartime detections of chemical
4 warfare agents, including a detection outside of their
5 collective protection shelter, methodologies used,
6 their hypotheses on the origin of the chemical warfare
7 agent materials, including their belief that the
8 chemicals were present in the atmosphere as a result
9 of the fallout from the Coalition bombing of the Iraqi
10 chemical warfare infrastructures, the use of
11 pyridostigmine bromide by the Czechs, they were
12 ordered not to use the pills, and the health status of
13 the Czech veterans, and also abstracts obtained from
14 Iran on the ongoing studies being conducted on the
15 health consequences of chemical warfare agent exposure
16 during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.
17 Finally, and most importantly, I am here
18 to make a public request for myself and possibly
19 former Senator Donald W. Riegle, Jr. to make an
20 expanding presentation during a public hearing of the
21 Committee on information recently disclosed that
22 reveals that individuals still in Department of
1 Defense positions critical to this investigation are
2 directly implicated in deliberately withholding
3 requested information of chemical and biological
4 warfare agent detections and exposures from the
5 constitutionally established oversight body the
6 Congress and cleared staff members.
7 I ask that my written testimony with its
8 attached exhibits be included in the record.
9 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Thank you. We've got
10 a couple of minutes here if any of the Committee
11 members have questions for Mr. Tuite. We made note of
12 your request for the long time at the next hearing and
13 we can't give you an answer now but we'll look into
15 MR. TUITE: I understand, thank you.
16 MR. TURNER: Mr. Tuite, you've made some
17 very serious allegations about current misconduct by
18 Doctor Rostker's staff. If I understand your
19 testimony here today correctly you provided
20 documentation supporting those allegations to the
21 Committee; is that correct?
22 MR. TUITE: That's correct. There are
1 three instances and along with statements from two of
2 the individuals involved who are no longer on active
4 MR. TURNER: Do you have any objection to
5 the Committee discussing those matters with Doctor
6 Rostker and providing him with the materials that
7 you've provided to us so that we can explore that?
8 MR. TUITE: Not at all. In fact, I had
9 previously provided this information to Ms. Davis, who
10 is a Director of the --
11 MR. TURNER: When did you do that, Mr.
13 MR. TUITE: It would have been -- in the
14 one case on the first allegation of misconduct it
15 would have been over a month ago, prior to the Senate
16 Veterans Affairs Committee hearing in mid-February.
17 MR. TURNER: Thank you.
18 DOCTOR LANDRIGAN: Other questions? Okay,
19 thanks very much.
20 Our next public witness is Mr. Victor
21 Silvester from Odessa, Texas, who has appeared before
22 us previously. Welcome, Mr. Silvester.
1 MR. SILVESTER: Good morning, sir. My
2 name is Victor Silvester. I'm the International
3 President of the Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm
4 Association for matters of identification.
5 Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee,
6 ladies and gentlemen, it is with great pleasure and
7 respect that I bid welcome to each of you here today
8 for the continuation of your assigned investigative
9 mandate from the President. Just a few short months
10 ago I stood before a representation of the concerned
11 population of the Desert Shield/Desert Storm community
12 and argued for the community support of the
13 continuation of this Commission and for the future of
14 the health and medical environment of our veteran
16 That argument heatedly discussed the same
17 principles as this discussion today, the request that
18 this Commission and the rest of the entire military
19 environment medical community not make a final
20 decision on the issue of Gulf War illnesses until all
21 information pertaining to this issue has been brought
22 to light, evaluated under the context of complete
1 information and a sound basic scientific determination
3 Mr. Chair, I stand here today with a
4 respectful request that this Commission formulate a
5 revision and addendum to its final report to the
6 President. The Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm
7 Association understands, it may not agree with, that
8 this Commission's report was based on the information
9 that was available to it. However, in light of the
10 new information that is coming to light, information
11 that was not forwarded in previous official testimony,
12 we respectfully request that this Commission
13 reconsider its final report and the findings contained
15 I stand here today to recognize the
16 efforts of both this Commission and its staff and
17 offer my deep appreciation and sincere thanks for
18 those efforts. I'm proud to say that I've had the
19 opportunity to participate with each of you in this
20 process of democracy and the fight for veterans'
22 Many statements have been made over the
1 past year that the military community must do
2 everything possible for the future military
3 generation. Mr. Chair, I'm sorry to say that if these
4 activities of misinformation by the Department of
5 Defense and various entities continue there may not be
6 a future military generation as we know it. Already
7 the recruiting aspects of the military are showing the
8 results of the DOD's misinformation to the American
9 people and the results of the Desert Shield/Desert
10 Storm veteran community outreach. We will continue to
11 tell every potential recruit and their family members
12 that the Department of Defense and these military
13 entities do not honor their contracts.
14 On March 5th, 1997 Defense Secretary
15 William Cohen stated that there is no need for an
16 independent investigation of the Pentagon's handling
17 of Gulf War illness because the ongoing military
18 investigation is very thorough. Mr. Chair, I stand
19 here today to tell you that the Department of Defense
20 and its cohorts have no credibility with not only the
21 United States Persian Gulf veteran community but no
22 credibility with the majority of the entire Persian
1 Gulf Coalition veteran community.
2 Our response to Secretary Cohen's
3 statement is that on December 4th, 1996 the Operation
4 Desert Shield/Desert Storm Association filed with the
5 United Nations' Commission for Human Rights for a UN
6 independent investigation by the International Court
7 of Justice into possible war crimes committed by
8 individuals in the Department of Defense, Department
9 of Veterans Affairs and the CIA to the lowest levels
10 of these bureaucracies committed during a time of war
11 or threat of war.
12 The revelations of Khamisiyah, An
13 Nasiriyah and Camp Bragg ammunition destruction were
14 available during the Honorable Lane Evans and Joe
15 Kennedy hearings in 1993. In fact both of these
16 honorable gentlemen tried to arrange a round table
17 meeting with Pentagon representatives to include
18 General Blanck, Susan Mather, Claudine Miller and
19 others. However, this offer was dismissed as
20 unimportant and the meeting never held or any other
21 follow-up. The same information from the veterans is
22 being investigated today was available and offered in
1 June 1993.
2 There is no excuse for at least somebody
3 to have met with the veterans and collected the
4 information. That is basic intelligence gathering
5 during the period of under a threat of war and we were
6 during that time frame.
7 Mr. Chair, members of the Committee, this
8 misinformation continues even today. General
9 Schwartzkopf made a comment during his testimony
10 before the Senate Arms Services Committee that if
11 we're talking about something where one milligram of
12 war gas exposure can cause a fatality, then certainly
13 somewhere along the line if this stuff had effected
14 our troops, somebody would have come up with these
15 symptoms and they didn't.
16 However, as documented in the message
17 logs, it was and is known that Iraq's chemical
18 materials were listed as being between 40 and 60
19 percent of pure. Ladies and gentlemen of the
20 Committee, I ask a simple question; will the low level
21 effects of exposure to a 40 to 60 percent strength
22 agent be the same as an exposure to a 100 percent
1 strength agent? Time and time again the Persian Gulf
2 veterans community and the subsequent investigative
3 committees to include the honorable members of this
4 committee have been told that there's a dire need for
5 information and background into the chemical
6 biological warfare issue.
7 We have heard representatives of the
8 defense bureaucracy state they have little immediate
9 knowledge of the subject but they will do their best
10 to answer. These same people decry the inexperience
11 or lack of knowledge of the veterans and their
12 families. Members of the Committee, I ask you to
13 remember that the Desert Shield/Desert Storm veterans
14 were touted as the highest educated, highest trained
15 in general, military forces ever fielded in combat by
16 the United States.
17 These veterans and their families have not
18 spent the last six years sitting on their butts
19 waiting for something to happen, waiting for a hand-
20 out. They have spent and continue to spend thousands
21 of hours, 16, 18 hours a day, seven days a week,
22 researching information, looking for the answers to
1 their illness and fighting for the future of their
2 family. Many have gone back to school. Many of those
3 who cannot use their computer networking with
4 associates for research.
5 Mr. Chair, the Operation Desert
6 Shield/Desert Storm Association has determined the
7 availability of over 900,000 documents and sources of
8 information, both national and international, on
9 chemical and biological warfare and its effects.
10 These documents date back to 1914. They do not
11 include documents on endemic diseases, radiation,
12 drugs or psychological concerns. I cannot speak to
13 the data base of others; however, the process of
14 consolidation has begun.
15 Again, I ask a simple question; if the
16 true concern of the Operations Desert Shield/Desert
17 Storm veteran illness issue for the government was to
18 take care of the sick troops, find out what was making
19 them ill and treating them, would not every resource
20 available be utilized? Would each of you, as learned
21 professionals, use every resource available to you in
22 your research projects? Why has there not been a
1 close working relationship developed between the
2 government research projects and the Gulf War
3 community research teams, not because we haven't
5 Mr. Chair, members of the Committee, we
6 realize that you and your staff are between a rock and
7 a hard place. We realize that for each of you there
8 is life after the Gulf War illness issue and that you
9 are doing the best you can in the situation you are
10 faced with. If we were not cognizant of that fact, we
11 would not have pressed for the continuation of this
12 project. We also realize the fact that many of you
13 will need to find work within the very community that
14 you are investigating after this is all over, that
15 bureaucracy has a long memory. We realize it and we
16 are grateful for the efforts that you are making on
17 our behalf.
18 Mr. Chair, with that said, I offer the
19 following conclusion. In review of the activities of
20 the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans
21 Affairs in relationship to the Gulf War illness issue
22 of the past five years, it is our opinion that the
1 veterans of the Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm
2 and their families have been the subject of an
3 opportunistic initially spare of the moment human
4 experiment or series of experiments brought on by the
5 exposures of our troops to low level chemical
6 biological materials, low level radiation, endemic
7 diseases and investigational drugs.
8 We are of the opinion that with the advent
9 of the chemical warfare convention signing
10 requirements that the Department of Defense has
11 determined it needs an ace in the hole in its back
12 pocket before that convention agreement is signed. We
13 believe that the Department of Defense was not
14 prepared for the genius of General Schwartzkopf or the
15 collapse of the Iraqi forces and that as evidenced by
16 the number of body bags ordered, they were convinced
17 that with the expected high body count, experimental
18 activity casualties would never be noticed during the
19 long term battle engagement.
20 Why do we think that? Why have we spent
21 five years of veterans being tested without
22 comprehensive treatment, not enough information?
1 Thousands of documents peer reviewed from countries
2 whose medical communities have dealt with this on a
3 daily basis for some 50 years, yet there has been no
4 concise treatment. Every possible effort has been
5 made to discredit, in the words of President Bush, the
6 greatest, highest trained fighting forces ever
7 assembled. Not one group with proven veteran
8 community communication capabilities has been formally
9 asked to help or even for basic input on how to reach
10 the veterans community that they work with every day.
11 All of these aspects do not reflect a true
12 desire or initiative by the Department of Defense or
13 the Department of Veterans Affairs to assist the
14 current Persian Gulf veterans community. Yes, there
15 have been some dog and pony shows and we know them for
16 what they are. Some of the current initiatives
17 reflect the planning and resolve that this issue will
18 not come up again in the future. We know them for
19 what they are.
20 Mr. Chair, it is documented fact that the
21 Department of Defense and its bureaucrats have
22 conducted human experiments on the men and women who
1 have stood in the defense of this nation for at least
2 the past 50 years and have continuously denied these
3 facts until they were caught. They have left these
4 brave souls to suffer. They have denied them basic
5 medical care and compensation. The Department of
6 Veterans Affairs has been a co-conspirator in this
7 suffering through the denial of moral obligation of
8 medical ethics. Too many times we've been told by
9 medical practitioners that they could only do what the
10 VA told them even though they knew it was incorrect
11 medical procedure.
12 You know as well as I do that these
13 medical practitioners would never stand in public and
14 make those same statements. You know why. Ladies and
15 gentlemen, members of the Committee, Mr. Chair, the
16 American taxpayer has spent millions of dollars, each
17 of you have spent hundreds of hours agonizing over
18 this issue and hundreds of communities have suffered
19 millions of dollars of economic loss for one reason,
20 the Department of Defense has not and will not honor
21 its contract with the members of the Gulf War all
22 volunteer military forces and their family.
1 This issue would never have surfaced if
2 the Department of Defense had met its obligations. It
3 is willing to spend billions of dollars on bright,
4 new, shiny aircraft, communication systems, and things
5 that go bang in the night but it is not willing to
6 spend the funds to honor its contract. The contract
7 did not specify that our troops had to be shot with a
8 left-handed bullet from a right-handed gun. It said
9 if our sons and daughters, fathers and mothers,
10 brothers and sisters got sick, hurt, wounded or
11 injured in the service of their country, they would
12 take care of them. Honor the contract.
13 That concludes my statement and I
14 appreciate the opportunity to present it. Thank you.
15 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Thank you, Mr.
16 Silvester. Any questions from Committee or staff for
17 Mr. Silvester? Thank you, sir. Thank you very much.
18 MR. SILVESTER: Thank you.
19 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Our third public
20 witness is Mr. Dale Belieu from Orofino, Idaho. Mr.
22 MR. BELIEU: I'd like to thank the members
1 of the Advisory Committee, Chairperson, to allow me to
2 speak on my behalf as Gulf War veteran. I'd like to
3 introduce Bobbi Nichols. She's my companion. She's
4 the reason why I'm here. I have received medical
5 attention from Baumzweiger and am now feeling the
6 effects of the medication that's inside me.
7 I served in the Persian Gulf from August
8 '91 to April '91. During Desert Storm I developed a
9 rash on both my legs to the bottom of my feet. The
10 base doctor and the specialist at the local civilian
11 hospital could not determine its origin. I was
12 treated with antibiotics and other types of
13 medications to help the rash go away.
14 August of '91 in Charleston Air Force Base
15 while awake and alert I experienced a dream-like state
16 which lasted approximately 20 minutes. I was seen by
17 a doctor at the base clinic. Blood tests indicated I
18 had a normally high critical anti-nuclear agent,
19 positive ANA reading. He determined that I had one of
20 five types of terminal arthritis that included spinal
21 chord involvement, collapsed disc, excuse me. Bobbi
22 is here in the event I should have a problem.
1 I have a problem in concentrating, as all
2 veterans do, as well as staying focused. So if the
3 Committee would please excuse that. The doctor's
4 formal diagnostic conclusion was that this illness was
5 terminal and that I was not expected to survive. At
6 that time I'd also received an application for a
7 voluntary separation program. Under this program I
8 was to be released by June of '92. Three June of '92,
9 the last clinic appointment that I had at Charleston
10 Air Force Base, the doctor stated that I would be
11 released from active duty status and referred to the
12 VA system for continued care, medical treatment.
13 The formal report from the doctor I had
14 seen, the specialist in Augusta, Georgia, was not
15 included in my medical records and a much lesser
16 example of my conditions were listed. Therefore, I
17 would not receive a disability rating that was in
18 relation to my actual illness. I received a 30
19 percent disability rating for the arthritis in my
20 neck, my lower back and feet, none of which included
21 the positive ANA readings and the actual findings of
22 the terminal illness.
1 After I was released from the military, I
2 was then left on my own to deal with the personal
3 effects that I had incurred from dealing with this
4 terminal type illness and the rejection from the
5 Department of Defense as well as the VA system in
6 turn. I had experienced many appointments with
7 Veterans Affairs system. All those included tests
8 from Walla Walla, Seattle and as well as Spokane,
10 Those facilities deemed I was a healthy
11 individual, did not indicate I had any symptoms from
12 the Gulf War syndrome. I had seen -- I was seen by
13 the Spokane VA, referred through Walla Walla for a
14 Gulf War examination. The examination was negative.
15 That was in 1995. In 1996, watching a news report at
16 the -- at my home, the news investigator had
17 introduced Doctor Baumzweiger and other clinical
18 doctors regarding Persian Gulf War syndrome.
19 This is where Bobbi came into play because
20 at this point in my life I had given up on the VA
21 system. I no longer had any support, any dignity in
22 the results I was receiving. Bobbi contacted the
1 investigative reporter at Spokane. In turn he
2 provided us the information to Doctor Baumzweiger as
3 well as the other physicians.
4 We flew at our own expense and without the
5 support of Veterans Affairs to Los Angeles. There
6 Doctor Baumzweiger conducted a battery of tests which
7 no other doctor in the VA system for those previous
8 years had ever conducted on myself. These tests,
9 these battery of tests were done in front of Bobbi in
10 his office as well as at home in front of Bobbi with
11 the presence of a CBS camera crew and additional
12 doctors to support his findings.
13 Doctor Baumzweiger, in return, showed me
14 just exactly how far advanced this system has become
15 and how the VA system is not equipped in dealing with
16 the Persian Gulf War syndrome. The specific tests
17 that he conducted through blood tests and his -- and
18 his office type exams have never been introduced or
19 discussed with the VA system. They need to be. These
20 are the specific tests, not routine tests that we were
21 receiving from the Veterans Affairs Administration.
22 Routine tests do not specify any results from these
1 areas that Doctor Baumzweiger has introduced.
2 The basis of Doctor Baumzweiger's study
3 was that of a type of chemical contact, a neurological
4 problem, disorder that again the Veterans Affairs
5 Administration has not readily acknowledged. On my
6 return from Los Angeles, after six days, I had gotten
7 sick from the medications and was vomiting blood. It
8 was on a weekend. I was admitted to the Spokane VA
9 hospital and did not receive any of the medications
10 from Doctor Baumzweiger.
11 The doctor I had been seeing, primary
12 caretaker, would not allow the introduction of the
13 blood work or Doctor Baumzweiger's report, another VA
14 doctor. This in my opinion is a result of neglect on
15 the VA's part in trying to help assist veterans with
16 this illness achieve a healthy continued life.
17 MS. NICHOLS: I would like to interject.
18 It wasn't all the medications. Dale got sick on one
19 medication. It was the Ibuprofen. He had
20 constipation so bad he had built up approximately 15
21 pounds of bowel in his system and he had nowhere to go
22 with it, so in turn, he started vomiting on January
1 4th at 6:00 a.m.
2 At that point in time I turned to Dale and
3 I said, "You have no choice, I'm either taking you to
4 a private civilian doctor or you can go to the VA.
5 That is your choice". At that point we headed for
6 Spokane to get help for Dale. He spent six days in
7 Spokane VA where the doctor, the first day out Monday
8 the 6th was not going to do anything, no further
9 testing, nothing.
10 And at that point Dale said, "If that's
11 the case, I'm going home to die at home where I have
12 family and friends around me". At that point the
13 Spokane VA system has now come to start dealing with
14 the patients and their concerns and their problems and
15 they're working with us and this needs to go across
16 the country. I have contacted several VA facilities
17 and the system that they are trying to implement is
18 not working. It's driving veterans away that need
19 medical attention.
20 MR. BELIEU: As Bobbi stated, driving us
21 away, that's exactly what has happened. Veterans we
22 have had contact with even in route to Salt Lake from
1 Orofino, Idaho, indicated the same problem. We are
2 not receiving the type of care the VA has themselves
3 provided information for, services, in regards to
5 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Two or three minutes
6 left, Mr. Belieu.
7 MR. BELIEU: Thank you. There are still
8 concerns that I feel need further immediate research
9 and attention by national agencies. One, are the
10 advanced symptoms Persian Gulf War veterans have since
11 being first seen by Persian Gulf War research centers?
12 In relation to that I'm speaking of the high agitation
13 levels. We, as veterans, through this syndrome,
14 process of syndromes that we're going though, phases,
15 as I state, not being aware of how they develop inside
16 of us, are not aware on a daily basis how we have
18 Therefore, we do not have our own
19 resources and we're not capable of detecting the
20 problems that many families are facing; the agitation
21 levels, becoming very hostile and as Bobbi can
22 express, are at time life threatening. These haven't
1 been addressed. These need to be addressed and should
2 be issues that are stated to all VA hospitals and
3 clinics across the nation. A bandaid will not repair
4 the damage that country has sustained from the post-
5 war effects of the Gulf War nor will the veterans be
6 able to gain their dignity, pride and respect for the
7 systems who have let them down.
8 I hope that immediate actions will be
9 taken by all national agencies to insure this sad but
10 true story will never happen again. Doctor Platter
11 has included the physicians I have been seeing at
12 Spokane VA Hospital since my stay in the hospital for
13 my problems with my bowel. I'd like Bobbi to read
14 these, his concerns as a VA doctor to the panel
16 MS. NICHOLS: I would also like to include
17 on Doctor Platter, Doctor Platter spent 20 years
18 dealing with the POW's as well as the non-Agent
19 Orange. The man has done extensive work. This is
20 what Doctor Platter writes that was included in the
21 packet that we had send back.
22 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Ms. Nichols, you
1 might want to summarize that and then give it to us
2 for the record, please.
3 MS. NICHOLS: Okay, this has been included
4 and this is what Doctor Platter is saying is, "To
5 assist we physicians who are dealing with the problem,
6 it would be helpful if", and there are four items that
7 are listed in that packet that we sent. And then, "It
8 is important for us in the field treating those
9 veterans to have some reliable information on the
10 above questions so that we can take the guesswork out
11 of our treatment. Currently only antidotal
12 information is available", and as Doctor Platter puts
13 it, "We're brush hunting".
14 MR. BELIEU: I'd like to apologize for my
15 demeanor. I, in the military, was a very
16 knowledgeable individual, a well speaker. I trained
17 many individuals. I was assigned to mortuary affairs.
18 I was the NCOIC for that as well as that was my job in
19 the Gulf War. I feel that the effects from the
20 illness being delayed for the amount of time that it
21 has is a result of my condition today.
22 Thank you.
1 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Thank you very much
2 for coming forward, Mr. Belieu.
3 MR. BELIEU: Thank you.
4 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: We appreciate your
5 making the trip down.
6 We have one more public witnesses who we
7 can take now and I know there's at least one more
8 who's asked to speak at the end of the morning. The
9 person I'll call forward now is Ms. Lisa Porter and we
10 have Mr. David Murray, who will try to slip in just
11 before the lunch break at the end of the morning. Ms.
13 MAJ. PORTER: Thank you. I appreciate the
14 Committee's willingness to listen to us today. First,
15 may I introduce myself? I'm Major Lisa Porter. I
16 served in the Gulf War with the 419th transportation
17 company as their commander, hauling fuel. We served
18 in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait covering all three of
19 those countries.
20 I'm here today on behalf of the veterans
21 of Salt Lake City and veterans across the nation
22 specifically those from the 419th transportation
1 company that I represent today. I want to first of
2 all, applaud and congratulate the team for being here,
3 your Committee for being here today and say thank you.
4 It's an action that I personally feel has been a long
5 time in waiting and I think that's a small step and
6 action toward solving the problems of the Desert Storm
7 and Gulf War illness.
8 I do want to state very specifically,
9 though, that I strongly feel the action cannot stop
10 today. That it has to push forward. This is a
11 serious problem. I don't consider it just a DOD
12 problem. I consider it a nationwide problem. If you
13 look at the effects of the veterans that are sick and
14 how many family members it has effected, extended
15 families and employers. We certainly have a
16 nationwide problem. I consider it a serious problem
17 and I consider it a problem that takes -- I mean,
18 demands serious action.
19 Facts that are known today suggest that it
20 is serious and we have to remember those facts. I
21 think there's many facts that we don't know. I expect
22 that there may be some facts that we'll never know.
1 We may never know what caused or what happened but
2 it's important to know that the veterans demand and
3 expect action to be taken. That even at the end of
4 the action, a clinical review and actual evaluation of
5 each veteran that is ill but we still may not know
6 what's happening, but it is hoped that we will at
7 least make that attempt.
8 I think that's what we're asking for.
9 We're asking for comfort and calmness in our mind that
10 our country cares enough about us to take that action
11 and that's what I am here to state today. We also
12 need to stop some old traditions within our VA
13 hospital system and government facilities. That if
14 your symptoms did not occur during the Desert Storm
15 active duty period that you served, that it is not the
16 problem of the government to resolve or take care of.
17 Most of the units for Desert Storm, I
18 think, served maybe months. It was not like Vietnam
19 or World War I or World War II where they served a
20 year or longer. I'm not sure that anyone here
21 clinically, medically or even any of us civilians can
22 conclude that within six months all of the symptoms
1 should have arised. And I think that old tradition
2 and procedure of the VA Hospital when you attend and
3 try to get resolution to your issue, the statement is,
4 "Your symptoms didn't occur while you were on active
5 duty; therefore, we cannot help you".
6 I speak from personal experience with that
7 VA -- with the VA Hospital here locally. I went there
8 to determine what was going on with myself and though
9 I don't want to focus on my own problem, my own issues
10 of the illness, I do want to represent many veterans
11 here in the Salt Lake Valley but I do know that I did
12 go and received an evaluation of basically listening
13 to heart and lungs and looking at documentation for
14 civilian doctors, agreeing on their diagnosis and then
15 dismissing it.
16 My diagnosis is a chemical imbalance
17 caused by either stress or a virus. Some of the
18 symptoms; a lack of focus, sometimes confused,
19 headaches, dizziness causing nausea and vomiting. It
20 comes and goes. It's something that I personally have
21 been up and down with for six years. But I also want
22 to, you know, strongly state for the support of the
1 419th soldiers, which some are here in attendance
2 today, that I know by personally talking to many, that
3 the symptoms range from rashes that won't go away to
4 loss of memory and confusion, to headaches, dizziness,
5 fatigue, weakness where they cannot physically do the
6 things they used to do, a couple of instances of
7 tumors that have grown within their bodies.
8 With one individual it was massive blood
9 vessels knotted and tangled. The doctors could not
10 give an explanation of how that could occur.
11 Digestive problems, one individual specifically,
12 though I will state that he does not claim that this
13 is a Desert Storm issue or a syndrome, I think it
14 still needs to be stated, three feet of his intestines
15 died for no reason and began rotting inside his body
16 and was removed surgically.
17 I know that there are many soldiers that
18 are sick. I think we all know that. I think we
19 recognize that there is a problem and the Committee
20 that is here today, I think you recognize that and I
21 appreciate that. I know of three individuals from a
22 second-hand source that did not attend with the 419th
1 the Desert Storm but was from our higher headquarters
2 that served the 419th in returning equipment,
3 unpacking and redistributing the equipment that
4 returned from Desert Storm, Saudi Arabia, that somehow
5 contracted some blood condition, stated by the source
6 that talked to me it was caused by some type of
7 chemical toxin. It certainly was nothing but a
8 chemical toxin.
9 The contents and the CONUS crates that
10 came home from the 419th certainly had possibly
11 something to do with some type of chemical because
12 that was the only tie that the three individuals could
13 make was that they all served and helped the 419th
14 distribute their equipment.
15 Some of the commonalities of the
16 statements from all the soldiers that I've spoke to,
17 representing them as their commander and their support
18 today, is that there are some commonalities. Almost
19 all state there is fatigue and weakness. All state
20 that they've been diagnosed with a problem caused by
21 stress or a virus. I don't think any of us know for
22 sure but the task is to find out if we can.
1 Again, I believe there's a serious problem
2 that takes serious action and my plea to this
3 Committee and Mr. Chair today is to continue with
4 action and it needs to be a clinical action. I don't
5 think we can any longer take lab -- you know, hidden
6 lab examples and try to do research in a box lab. I
7 think we need to reach out and go out and touch all
8 the veterans that are ill, somehow find out how many
9 there really are and what is really going on so that
10 we can get our lives back in order so our families can
11 say that our government understands and cares enough
12 about us.
13 May I close with a quote from a good
14 friend of mine that I spoke with last night and I
15 think he states it very well. He's a friend of mine
16 that went to Desert Storm with me, my maintenance
17 warrant officer, which we've become very, very close,
18 and he says, "Soldiers across America who love this
19 great country went in good faith and good will to
20 support and defend our family and our loved ones. We
21 supported and defended a country that we love. That
22 type of goodwill and faith and support from your
1 countrymen deserves and demands a return of good faith
2 and goodwill to find and search out what happened if
3 we can", and that's the end of his quote.
4 And, again, I applaud the action that is
5 being taken today, but I do want to stress that we
6 need to continue and we need to reach out with touch,
7 hand in hand, with experts that are willing to dig
8 deep and research and take non-traditional tests,
9 something that is not traditional. This is certainly
10 an untraditional type illness that needs to be taken
11 seriously and I'll conclude with that.
12 Thank you very much.
13 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Thank you, Major.
14 Any questions? Thank you very much.
15 MAJ. PORTER: Could I invite one other
16 individual that was with me to make just a short
17 statement, Mr. Chair?
18 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Just keep it brief,
20 MAJ. PORTER: Colonel David Irvine, who is
21 with me here today, he has some information that I
22 think would be very useful to you.
1 COL. IRVINE: Thank you. Members of the
2 Committee, I'd David Irvine. I'm the Chief of Staff
3 for Congressman Merrill Cook, who represents the
4 Second District in Utah. We appreciate what you are
5 doing for veterans. I would like to refer this panel
6 to one individual whom I would request on behalf of my
7 congressman the panel make arrangements to interview.
8 His name is Colonel Gerald Schumacher and that is
9 spelled S-C-H-U-M-A-C-H-E-R. He presently serves as
10 the G3 for the 91st Division at Fort Baker,
12 During the build-up for Desert Storm,
13 Colonel Schumacher was part of a classified Army team
14 investigating the chemical and biological potential of
15 the Iraqi forces. A lot of the testing which this
16 team did was carried on at Dugway Proving Ground.
17 They have and Colonel Schumacher has personal first-
18 hand knowledge and documentation of the Iraqi chemical
19 and biological capability and the capability of their
20 military forces to dispense those agents.
21 They tracked the capacity of the
22 dispensers. They knew the number of dispensers that
1 were in the country. They had accounted for most of
2 them, not all of them. If this panel will interview
3 Colonel Schumacher and he would be delighted to appear
4 at a time convenient for all of you, and if we had
5 been able to bring him to Salt Lake today based on the
6 short notice that my office had, we would have done
7 so, he can absolutely and conclusively demonstrate the
8 existence of that capability, tie it to some extremely
9 bizarre symptoms that Gulf War vets experience and can
10 provide a valuable linkage for demonstrating that that
11 capacity surely did exist and that in all probability
12 it was used.
13 Thank you very much.
14 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Thank you, Colonel.
15 Any questions? Thank you very much.
16 Okay, well, that concludes for now at
17 least the public comment portion of the meeting and
18 we're going to go straight on to hear from the staff.
19 What we're going to receive now is a briefing, which
20 I understand Doctor Joe Cassells is going to lead
21 which is going to explain to us the steps that have
22 been taken so far to implement the recommendations
1 that are Committee made several months ago in our
2 final report.
3 DR. CASSELLS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
4 At Tab C in your briefing book is the agency response
5 to the recommendation, findings and recommendations
6 made by the Committee in its final report, so-called
7 final report, delivered to the President earlier.
8 The report from this Committee was
9 delivered to the President on March the 7th, 1997, the
10 responses were. The Committee members and the staff
11 will be following that action plan outlined in this
12 document very carefully over the next several months.
13 The document itself recognizes that the action plan is
14 a, and I quote, "a dynamic document which will need to
15 be revisited and adjusted as more information becomes
16 available", and we certainly expect that to be the
18 I should begin by saying that the agencies
19 concur with all the committee recommendations except
20 in two instances where they concur in part. Those two
21 instances are the committee recommendation that
22 further investigation of possible chemical or
1 biological warfare agent exposures during the Gulf War
2 should be conducted by a group independent of DOD.
3 The DOD response accepts oversight and pledges
4 openness and public accountability but believes that
5 the expertise and knowledge to investigate, analyze
6 and to understand what happened resides in the
8 The Committee did not question the
9 expertise of the Pentagon. The Committee's concern
10 was about the credibility of the investigative effort.
11 Therefore, the oversight activity of this Committee is
12 exceedingly important.
13 The second instance of partial concurrence
14 is with the recommendation that in the VA's
15 examination program for spouses and children of Gulf
16 War veterans VA should formulate what it intends to do
17 with the results and consider mechanisms to reimburse
18 travel and other costs associated with that program.
19 The partial concurrence on the part of the VA relates
20 to the specific limited authority accorded to the VA
21 under Section 107 of Public Law 103446 which
22 authorized the VA to provide this service.
1 The agency response calls for specific
2 deliverables over the next six months which the
3 Committee will want to evaluate very carefully.
4 First, the VA Persian Gulf Help Line has begun to
5 collect data on how veterans heard about that service
6 and a summary will be developed and will be provided
7 to the Committee for its review. The clinical working
8 group of the Persian Gulf Veterans Coordinating Board
9 will design, with the help of experts, a Gulf War
10 veteran risk communication plan which will be
11 submitted to this Committee by May 1st, 1997.
12 Included with this plan will be the plain language
13 fact sheets prepared for dissemination to veterans,
14 family members and other interested parties.
15 DOD expects that its new medical
16 surveillance policy will be formally adopted during
17 1997 and we have a keen interest in that. DOD is
18 developing a policy directive which addresses the
19 recognition and management of combat stress which
20 should also become available in 1997, another item of
21 particular interest to this Committee.
22 A draft presidential review directive
1 entitled Development of Inter-agency Plans to Address
2 Health Preparedness for and Readjustment of Veterans
3 and their Families after Future Deployments prepared
4 by the Office of Science and Technology Policy, is
5 currently being circulated for final agency clearance
6 and it is anticipated the process will be completed by
7 the end of March 1997 and the Committee should be able
8 to then review that directive.
9 In response to the Committee's findings
10 regarding the importance of stress as a risk factor in
11 Persian Gulf veterans' illnesses and the continuing
12 societal stigmatization of mental illness, the
13 Department of Health and Human Services has taken
14 initial steps to commission a Surgeon General's report
15 on mental health and to issue a directive on mental
16 health assessment, significant steps in the staff's
18 During the course of the next Committee
19 meeting, agency officials will be invited to discuss
20 specific details of the implementation plans and
21 answer Committee questions and concerns. For example,
22 the projected time line for FDA/DOD decisions
1 regarding the interim final rule for the waiver of
2 informed consent is not clear and we would like more
3 information about that. The specific content of the
4 pre-deployment screening evaluation and its usefulness
5 as an epidemiological baseline is of great interest to
6 this Committee and the specific mission assigned to
7 the newly created deployment planning working group of
8 the Persian Gulf Veterans Coordinating Board.
9 The Committee members will recall that the
10 Committee was particularly interested that pre-
11 deployment should include a subset of veterans or
12 subset of service personnel who were evaluated prior
13 to deployment in order to provide an epidemiological
14 valid data base for subsequent epidemiological
15 studies. In its concurrence with that recommendation,
16 the Department of Defense states that they wish to
17 provide a pre-deployment screening evaluation for all
18 troops, not setting aside a specific sub-group for
19 further evaluation. We want to be very sure that that
20 evaluation meets that epidemiological requirement.
21 The agency response is a comprehensive
22 first step in responding to the Committee
1 recommendations but the time lines for all of the
2 various activities are not months in length, they are
3 years in length and this Committee's interest will not
4 go away. During the life of this Committee, however,
5 it is incumbent upon us to review the status of the
6 implementations as they have occurred over the time of
7 our life.
8 Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
9 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Any questions for Joe
10 from Committee or staff? All right. Moving right
11 along then on the heels of that, we're going to hear
12 from the DOD now. Doctor Rostker is listed. Is he
13 here or is his designate here?
14 A VOICE: He's not here yet. He is at the
15 airport. There's two options we could do. We could
16 either go ahead with the other public statement and
17 then we'll have to take a break.
18 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: I think what we'll do
19 is we'll proceed with the presentation on modeling
20 that was scheduled originally to take place at 1:15
21 this afternoon and the two presenters that we have
22 listed here are Sylvia Copeland from CIA and Jeff
1 Grotte from the Institute of Defense Analysis. I'm
2 informed that they are here.
3 A VOICE: We're prepared to do that if you
4 would like. I just know from looking at all of the
5 scheduling --
6 MS. NISHIMI: Since the schedule is tight,
7 we'd like to proceed, Bob, I think.
8 A VOICE: Yeah, the witnesses that you
9 have scheduled before us are going to answer many
10 questions you'll probably ask us and if you don't have
11 a problem with that point --
12 MS. NISHIMI: No, we don't.
13 A VOICE: -- then that's fine.
14 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: No, let's go ahead
15 and proceed. Thanks.
16 A VOICE: You want the IDA and CIA
18 MS. NISHIMI: Yes.
19 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: That's correct. Yes.
20 Okay, in whatever order you prefer, please proceed
21 when you're ready.
22 MR. WALPOLE: Okay, we have some slides
1 that I guess someone will be setting up to -- I should
2 introduce myself first since I'm on the schedule later
3 for something else as well. I'm George Walpole,
4 George Tennant's Special Assistant for Persian Gulf
5 War illnesses issues. And I have with me Sylvia
6 Copeland, who you have on your agenda and you've met
8 Doctor Landrigan and members of the
9 Committee, we're pleased to appear before you today to
10 discuss our efforts related to reports that U.S.
11 troops may have been exposed to chemical warfare
12 agents in the Persian Gulf. We strongly believe that
13 the Committee is making an important contribution to
14 the public's understanding of this issue and we have
15 given high priority to your request for support.
16 We know how important this issue is to
17 Gulf War veterans and that our intelligence is
18 essential to understanding what occurred during the
19 war. This morning I will review our past modeling
20 efforts, provide a report of recent intelligence
21 support to efforts to model the release from the
22 Khamisiyah pit area and explain our plans for the
2 First let me turn to a brief review of
3 previous modeling efforts. Last year we identified
4 and modeled chemical releases at three locations. We
5 were able to model these events largely because we had
6 test data that established a reasonably upper bound
7 for the release of agent during the events as well as
8 other contributing information. For example, we were
9 able to use military testing from the 1960's as ground
10 truth for our source modeling on Bunker 73.
11 In addition, we had a video and
12 photographs from the time of the demolition at Bunker
13 73. These gave corroboration, definitive
14 corroboration, to weather modeling and increased our
15 confidence in our results. We were uncertain,
16 however, about the date and the weather conditions for
17 modeling at Muhammadiyat and Al Muthanna. Therefore,
18 we used unreasonably worst case assumptions about the
19 weather and dispersion conditions and still obtained
20 results that fell short of Troops in Rafha, which is
21 the nearest position reported to have had a
22 concentration of troops.
1 Let me turn now to our efforts to support
2 modeling that is taking place for the pit area. The
3 modeling in the pit poses far more difficult
4 challenges. Let me lead with a review of the areas of
5 uncertainty that we briefed you on back in November.
6 They are the number of the demolitions that occurred
7 in the pit, the weather conditions at the time of the
8 demolitions and how chemical rockets would have been
9 effected by an open pit demolition.
10 We have been aggressively analyzing any
11 thread of information related to these uncertainties
12 in order to more accurately identify the extent of the
13 release and I'll discuss each of these uncertainties
15 First on the number of events, we remain
16 uncertain about many of the activities surrounding the
17 demolition of chemical rockets in the pit area of
18 Khamisiyah. Nonetheless, we have constructed a
19 scenario that is most consistent with the information
20 we have gained so far. Last year we reported the
21 possibility that there were two demolition events in
22 the pit. We now believe this to be more likely than
1 a single event and let me explain why.
2 We have spoken with two of the soldiers
3 who performed demolition activity in the pit area.
4 Both reported performing demolition March 10th.
5 However, they recall seeing different numbers of
6 stacks, stacks of missiles, rockets. One states that
7 there were nine stacks of rockets and the other states
8 that there were three.
9 We have determined that there were
10 actually a total of 13 and this spot imagery up on the
11 screen now confirms the demolition occurred at at
12 least 12 of those 13 stacks. Let me explain what's on
13 this chart a little bit. Annotated there with the
14 numbers from the right to the left are the numbers 1
15 through 13 identifying each of the stacks that I just
16 mentioned. The areas in red are identifying the
17 darkened areas that we see on the spot imagery looking
18 at different spot images to show us where the charring
20 The yellow circles are showing the
21 locations of munitions that UNSCOM found. Now, you'll
22 notice that number 10 which is slightly left of center
1 -- yes.
2 MR. BALDESCHUIELER: Can you tell us when
3 the images were obtained?
4 MR. WALPOLE: This image is an April 1991
5 image, which we obtained in, as I recall, October 1996
6 from a search and request on spot imagery but it was -
8 MR. BALDESCHUIELER: I see, the actual
9 photography was in April following a March demolition?
10 MR. WALPOLE: Yes. Yes. this is all about
11 what occurred in March 1991 and so we've got a spot
12 imagery from April 1991.
13 You'll notice that Item Number 10 doesn't
14 have the red mark around it. That's because we don't
15 see the charring there but it's very possible that at
16 the time of demolition those were moved or after
17 demolition those were moved into the other stack and
18 hence, we didn't see that scarring there.
19 A video of the area during the UNSCOM
20 inspection which UNSCOM has now made available to us,
21 also shows that demolition occurred at two different
22 ends of the pit. In addition to that we have a log
1 entry that states that 840 rockets were detonated on
2 the 12th of March, 1991. Now, what's interesting
3 about that is 840 rockets corresponds with the number
4 we assessed to have been in nine stacks, which also
5 correlates with one of the soldiers saying that he was
6 involved with nine stacks.
7 The soldier who reported that he rigged
8 three stacks left the Khamisiyah area on the 10th, so
9 could not have been involved with the demolition on
10 the 12th. Both soldiers indicated that they saw no
11 other stacks of munitions and that they saw no other
12 individuals performing demolition activities. Now,
13 this pit, so you get an idea of the size, it's 400
14 meters long. That's important to understand because
15 when I first was reading into this issue I had an
16 image in my mind of a small hole in the ground with a
17 bunch of stuff piled into it. So it's large in that
18 sense but it's not large in the sense of someone going
19 in to do demolition activity and not seeing each other
20 performing this activity.
21 So we think it's somewhat unlikely that
22 they would have been performing at the same time that
1 activity and not seeing each other. We, therefore,
2 currently assess they performed the demolition
3 activities in two different areas of the pit, two
4 different sets of stacks and most likely on two
5 different days. And while there's still a possibility
6 of a single event or for that matter additional
7 events, this is the most consistent scenario for the
8 information we have to date.
9 Now, if additional veterans, beyond the
10 two that we've talked to, can recall participating in
11 this activity and can supply further information, we
12 would be able, perhaps, to refine our estimates even
13 further. In fact, in conjunction with this
14 uncertainty in this presentation, we prepared an
15 information paper and you have it there. We passed
16 packages to you as well and I have multiple copies
17 here that we can make available for those interested
18 attending this session today.
19 We've prepared this in conjunction with
20 the Department of Defense Office of the Special
21 Assistance for Gulf War Illnesses. It briefly
22 describes what we know and assessed to have occurred
1 in the Khamisiyah area, in the pit area, and most
2 importantly provides photographs in an effort to help
3 locate veterans that may recognize this area and may
4 be able to come forward with information.
5 Let me turn now to the number of rockets
6 involved. Based on imagery and a log entry, we've
7 also increased the total number of rockets in the pit
8 to be 1400 as opposed to 1300. Actually if you go
9 back to the first slide I had, the spot imagery of the
10 pit itself, some of those numbers are up in the upper
11 right-hand corner of that one, yes, they total about
13 Now, this new assessment increases our
14 estimate of the maximum number of rockets that were
15 destroyed or damaged in the pit to 650. Recalling the
16 uncertainties that I mentioned earlier and using the
17 previously mentioned assessments as a guide, we
18 estimate that the maximum number of rockets destroyed
19 on March 10th and 12th were 260 and 390 respectively.
20 We're working hard to use the UNSCOM video and other
21 photographs to refine these estimates further.
22 It's also important to note that not all
1 of the numbers listed in that maximum row likely
2 released agent. A number of factors support that
3 assessment. Those factors include post-demolition
4 rockets showing little or no damage, burial of the
5 rockets due to the demolition and comments by
6 demolition experts that there were not enough charges
7 to complete the demolition even with the expected
8 secondary explosion of the rockets' high explosive
10 Let me turn briefly to weather conditions.
11 The Institute for Defense Analysis, IDA, is managing
12 the effort to determine the weather conditions at the
13 time of the pit demolition. To support their efforts
14 we have sought to accurately estimate one key
15 variable, the wind vector at detonation. Our
16 exhaustive search of available photography has
17 resulted in one promising lead. And, of course, every
18 time I look at spot imagery I wonder what's promising
19 about some of these but let me walk through this one
20 a little bit.
21 We'll analyze this thoroughly. What you
22 see here is some dark spots. Those dark spots are
1 representing detonations at the bunkers, a little ways
2 away from the area we're talking about and if you
3 study this closely for awhile, you'll recognize that
4 some of these soot areas are going different
5 directions. Now, we know the dates that each bunker
6 was destroyed. So we can look at the pattern of the
7 soot direction and come up with a very -- a much
8 higher confidence estimate of the direction of the
9 wind at the time those bunkers each went. So we're
10 working that issue right now.
11 Let me turn to finally the question of
12 ground truth testing. We do not know how many
13 chemical rockets would have been effected by open pit
14 demolition. This is perhaps the greatest uncertainty
15 that we have. It effects our ability to determine how
16 many rockets would have released agent, how much agent
17 would have been released, the immediate dispersion
18 pattern, the duration of the release and any
19 degradation factors directly related to the demolition
20 rather than to subsequent atmospheric effects.
21 For example, leakage and soil effects
22 alone could effect the projection of the amount of
1 agent released by a factor of 100. Given the
2 importance of significantly reducing this uncertainty
3 in order to complete a meaningful model, we are
4 currently helping the Department of Defense develop
5 tests to destroy rockets containing CW agent
6 stimulants and I underscore the word stimulants. We
7 expect such testing to provide us with some of the
8 group truth competence that we were able to apply to
9 modeling the chemical release at the bunker
11 So with that let me mention a few next
12 steps. We'll continue working to reduce these
13 uncertainties and the inputs for modeling the
14 demolition activities in the pit. We now expect that
15 our current analytic effort will enable us to refine
16 parameters and to make modeling possible, although
17 significant uncertainties will remain. These efforts
18 to provide meaningful inputs for a model will take
19 time. We, in the Department of Defense, are
20 expediting our efforts. We will be providing our
21 inputs to the Department of Defense and the Institute
22 for Defense Analysis and we will also keep your
1 Committee informed of our progress.
2 Let me assure you that we are doing all we
3 can to characterize the events in the Khamisiyah pit
4 area. We will continue to pursue this analysis on a
5 priority basis. I would like to close by emphasizing
6 that the acting director of Central Intelligence has
7 underscored his commitment to the American public to
8 leave no stone unturned and the efforts that I have
9 discussed here are but a part of his initiative.
10 Thank you.
11 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Doctor Grotte, please
13 DR. GROTTE: Good morning. My name is
14 Jeff Grotte from the Institute for Defense Analyses.
15 For those of you who are not familiar with us, the
16 Institute for Defense Analyses is a not for profit
17 private federally funded research and development
18 center dedicated to providing objective analyses to
19 the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint
20 Staff and the defense agencies.
21 I am here today to discuss the status of
22 an independent panel of experts assembled to review
1 the analysis of the possible nerve agent release from
2 the pit area of Khamisiyah. The next slide, please.
3 As we all know by now, U.S. forces
4 detonated a large amount of Iraqi munitions at the
5 Khamisiyah ammunition storage point. Current
6 information suggests that some of these rounds
7 contained nerve agent, specifically those contained in
8 what has become known as Bunker 73 and this open area
9 that we just saw known as the pit.
10 The CIA published estimates for agent
11 coverage from Bunker 73 but because of the many
12 uncertainties associated with the pit release, the
13 CIA, after performing some initial analyses, decided
14 that more data were needed before a coverage estimate
15 could be made. At the pit an indeterminate amount of
16 agent was released into the atmosphere. At the time
17 that we were originally briefed by the CIA it was
18 thought there was a single demolition on March 10th.
19 At that time winds were from the north and there were
20 troops to the south raising the possibility that some
21 troops were exposed.
22 No acute nerve agent symptoms were
1 reported, however. There is now, as we have heard,
2 some evidence to support a second demolition on the
3 12th. Next slide. Because of the uncertainties
4 surrounding the pit demolition and the difficulties
5 inherent in modeling the release of nerve agent from
6 an event like that at the Khamisiyah pit, the Deputy
7 Secretary of Defense requested that the Institute for
8 Defense Analyses convene a panel of experts to address
9 some of the issues arising from modeling these events.
10 Specifically we were asked to review the CIA's
11 preliminary analysis of the pit, advise on the degree
12 to which it is possible to model these activities and
13 suggest measures DOD should take to address problems
14 like this in the future should they arise.
15 Note that we were not asked to generate a
16 definitive area of coverage, although we are using a
17 case study approach to this analysis that may
18 ultimately result in usable coverage analyses. Next
20 The panel is chaired by General Larry
21 Welch, retired from the Air Force, who is the
22 president of IDA, and comprises a number of nationally
1 known meteorologists, chemists and atmospheric
2 physicists. IDA has also augmented the panel with
3 members of its own research staff, its vice president
4 for research, a plume physicist, a chemist, an
5 individual retired from a long career as a chemical
6 officer in the Army and myself, a mathematician. I am
7 also the nominal task leader of this panel.
8 Next slide, please. The panel's first
9 meeting was in November. The members heard from the
10 CIA and its contractors on the pit events at
11 Khamisiyah and the initial analyses they had conducted
12 and also from other organizations in the Department of
13 Defense that either had custody of the models used in
14 this analysis or had other capabilities that could be
15 brought to bear. We also asked the Department of
16 Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which
17 has a facility called the airborne release advisory
18 capability, brief the panel on their capabilities as
20 Next slide, please. Before going further,
21 I would like to explain the process of estimating
22 nerve agent coverage. Beginning on the left side of
1 the slide, there first needs to be a collection of
2 meteorological data to provide a basis for
3 reconstructing the atmospheric conditions of the
4 period under consideration. Ideally, there should be
5 many observations of surface conditions such as winds,
6 temperature, humidity and so forth and conditions at
7 various altitudes since the atmosphere is variable in
8 three dimensions plus time. These data are used to
9 drive what are known as synoptic models which help to
10 reconstruct large scale atmospheric flows such as
11 weather fronts and the like.
12 This information, in turn, along with
13 local observations, drive what are known as mesoscale
14 models, which reconstruct regional wind patterns on
15 the scale of several kilometers. What is not and
16 cannot easily be done is to reconstruct the very local
17 wind patterns. We have all experienced looking at
18 rows of flag poles and seeing that the flags were not
19 all flying in the same direction and seeing leaves
20 swirl down the street in various different ways.
21 These phenomena are very difficult to model although
22 they can significantly effect an individual's exposure
1 to a substance such as nerve agent.
2 Just as important as the meteorological
3 data is information known collectively as source data
4 and we have heard from the CIA on some of that. This
5 describes the release of agent and it takes into
6 account such factors as the properties of the agent
7 itself, such as purity, the amount of agent that was
8 released, where it was released and how fast it was
9 released. This information, along with the output of
10 the mesoscale meteorological models, are combined in
11 what are termed transport and diffusion models that
12 predict the concentration of agent over time at
13 locations of interest.
14 This concentration of agent over time can
15 be integrated or summed to produce what is commonly
16 referred to as exposure or dosage that at high enough
17 levels can be predictive of acute or lethal effects.
18 Next slide.
19 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Before you leave that
20 slide, Doctor Grotte, do you have any actual data, any
21 actual concentration data, that were collected in the
1 DR. GROTTE: We have no data that were
2 collected in the field, no.
3 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: None, not even semi-
4 quantitative data.
5 DR. GROTTE: Not even semi-quantitative.
6 MR. BALDESCHUIELER: On the same track,
7 are you confident that you know what the agent was?
8 DR. GROTTE: I think we are confident.
9 There is empirical evidence. I'll be addressing the
10 level of uncertainty in various categories in a little
11 bit but there have been --
12 MR. BALDESCHUIELER: What do you think it
14 DR. GROTTE: We believe it was a mixture
15 of serine and cycloserine.
16 MR. BALDESCHUIELER: And this next
17 question is something you may be getting and if so, I
18 apologize for anticipating you but in the absence of
19 actual data, are you folks going to be able to
20 basically construct isoplath maps that show high,
21 various levels of intermediate and low dose exposure
1 DR. GROTTE: In the absence of source data
2 in particular it's going to be very difficult because
3 we simply won't know how much has been released and
4 that of course, along with the meteorological, is
5 crucial to this job. So as I'll discuss,
6 understanding the source data is crucial to actually
7 doing that. There are some problems with the
8 meteorological data as well, and I'll describe that a
9 little more.
10 MR. BALDESCHUIELER: So if one is to skip
11 ahead and begin to think in the hypothetical about
12 health studies it may be necessary to design those
13 studies without benefit of exposure data and basically
14 sit with a compass and a map to draw straight or is it
15 going to come down to that?
16 DR. GROTTE: I hope we can do better than
17 that. We do have some information and we should
18 exploit that information. What I think we won't be
19 able to do is be entirely definitive and say at this
20 point there was exposure and at this point there was
21 not except in a very general way.
22 MR. BALDESCHUIELER: Yeah.
1 DR. GROTTE: But I think we will be able
2 to say something about the coverage of agent.
3 MR. BALDESCHUIELER: Okay, so if you had
4 more than two zones, if you did more than dichotomize,
5 you might in a way finesse that difficulty.
6 DR. GROTTE: Uh-huh.
7 MR. BALDESCHUIELER: Okay, thanks.
8 DR. GROTTE: Next slide, please. At the
9 end of its first meeting the panel recognized as
10 substantial degree of uncertainty in all the input
11 data values. I'll discuss some of the uncertainties
12 in these data in greater detail later in this briefing
13 but to summarize with respect to the source terms,
14 there was substantial uncertainty regarding such
15 straightforward information as the number of rockets
16 that might have released agent and how fast that agent
17 was released.
18 The problem with the meteorological data
19 was that there were relatively few observations.
20 Those observations were distant from the Khamisiyah
21 site. The nearest surface wind observation site was,
22 I believe, 80 to 90 kilometers from Khamisiyah and the
1 nearest atmospheric site approximately 200 kilometers
2 away. In regard to the analysis that the CIA had
3 begun of the pit release, the panel had a number of
5 First, the CIA had estimated
6 meteorological conditions for only 12 or possibly 24
7 hours after the release which the panel felt was too
8 short a time to track agent if there had been a
9 substantial release. Second, the transport and
10 diffusion models used had been developed for
11 battlefield purposes and had not been designed for
12 longer range tracking of low levels of agent under
13 variable meteorological conditions. This does not
14 mean that longer range calculations produced by these
15 models might not be useful in certain applications but
16 the panel felt there were better modeling technologies
17 available for transport and diffusion calculations of
18 the pit release.
19 Third, some of the models used including
20 some of the meteorological models were not well known
21 to the meteorological community. Again, this does not
22 mean there was anything wrong with these models
1 especially those that were still under development,
2 but the panel felt there may be some better accepted
3 models that could be brought to bear.
4 Finally, the meteorological and transport
5 and diffusion models were not linked together. This
6 made it very difficult, if not impossible, to estimate
7 exposure levels for forces in the vicinity of
8 Khamisiyah after the pit demolition. Next slide.
9 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: What are the half
10 life of these compounds in atmosphere?
11 DR. GROTTE: That's another uncertainty
12 because the compounds react with water in the
13 atmosphere and hydrolyze and we don't have a lot of
14 good information about the humidity and some of the
15 models predicted that there was precipitation. We
16 know there was precipitation prior to the pit release
17 and we don't have a full assessment of observations of
19 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Do you have a range?
20 DR. GROTTE: I don't have it with me. I
21 would hesitate to guess. We could find that
22 information out. Next slide, please.
1 In order to obtain a better understanding
2 of the models under consideration and the impact of
3 data uncertainties, the panel recommended that
4 additional analyses be done. In spite of the
5 uncertainties associated with the pit demolition, we
6 felt that using what was known about Khamisiyah as a
7 starting point was the best way to advance our
8 knowledge of what happened there. We specified that
9 all simulations be carried out for 72 hours so we
10 could understand how far agent might travel.
11 We asked for parametric analyses to
12 understand the source term variables, particularly the
13 amount of agent that could have been released and the
14 rate at which it was released. We asked that those
15 organizations performing meteorological analyses use
16 all available data of which some small additional
17 amount has become available, notably data that was
18 formerly classified and some that was withheld by the
19 countries in the area during the war.
20 Finally, we asked that the meteorological
21 data be perturbed in a systematic way so that we could
22 see how stable the meteorological reconstructions
1 were. We were not trying to see what the possible
2 range of outcomes could be -- or excuse me, we were
3 trying to see what the possible range of outcomes
4 would be and not all the cases we asked to see could
5 be considered likely outcomes of the actual events at
6 the pit.
7 Next slide, please. The panel met again
8 on February 13th to view the results of these
9 analyses. Two independent sets of analyses were
10 presented, the first by a combination of the Naval
11 Research Laboratory, which does meteorological
12 modeling, and the Navy Surface Warfare Center, which
13 does transport and diffusion modeling, and the second
14 by the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory that has models
15 to do both of these.
16 What we saw convinced the panel that many
17 uncertainties regarding what happened following the
18 pit demolition remained. Of the many different cases
19 that were run we saw very different patterns of agent
20 coverage at low levels as the number of rockets
21 releasing agent and the rate of release varied. The
22 rate of release is particularly important when viewed
1 in the context of changing wind directions as occurred
2 following the pit demolition.
3 Perhaps not surprisingly, the two
4 approaches which use different methodologies showed
5 different areas of low level coverage. That is they
6 reconstructed different wind patterns around the pit
7 site particularly as time went on. We've asked for
8 additional outputs from these models to understand why
9 these different patterns were predicted and that
10 information has recently been given to the
11 meteorologist on the panel for analysis.
12 Some of the reconstructions indicated
13 sizeable areas where acute effects should have been
14 noticed had the release been large and rapid. The
15 panel does not know where the troops were at the time
16 but the fact that no such effects were reported may
17 support an observation it was a smaller and/or slower
18 release of agent.
19 At this point the panel believes there
20 were a number of remaining uncertainties that may
21 never be resolved and these uncertainties may preclude
22 a definitive specification of where different
1 exposures could have occurred. These uncertainties
2 appear to grow over time so that the most reliable
3 reconstructions may be those close to the demolition
4 in space and time.
5 Finally, the panel noted that a great deal
6 of very good modeling work was being done by several
7 government agencies but that we had to bring their
8 work together in a somewhat ad hoc manner. Whatever
9 the outcome in the attempt to model the pit release,
10 the panel feels there is a need to identify the best
11 capabilities wherever they are and link the best
12 meteorological capabilities with the best transport
13 and diffusion capabilities in order to be better
14 prepared to do this in the future.
15 Next slide, please. Some of the factors
16 that effect our ability to find what happened at
17 Khamisiyah appear in this table. I have listed four
18 major causes of variability in outcome and what they
19 mean for the Khamisiyah analysis. First is our
20 knowledge regarding the agent itself, the types of
21 agent, and we've already discussed that there were two
22 nerve agents mixed together, their proportions and
1 their purity.
2 Another important factor which has already
3 been asked about is what I'm calling decay, how the
4 agents get removed from the atmosphere, whether
5 through interacting with the soil or because of
6 hydrolysis due to atmospheric moisture. Here with
7 respect to the agent itself our knowledge is fairly
8 good. Estimates have been made of the agent mix and
9 purity on the basis of empirical data. Handled less
10 well, as we've discussed, is the decay factor. None
11 of the models we've seen handles effects such as
12 hydrolysis and this could lead to an over-estimate of
13 agent travel. Straightforward modeling improvements
14 could handle this all, however.
15 The second area which I have already
16 discussed at some length and we've heard the CIA
17 discuss as well had to do with the release, how much
18 agent was released and over what time. Some of this
19 agent may have leaked from rockets into the soil or
20 into the wood of the boxes that contained the rockets
21 and re-evaporated over considerable times. As of now,
22 all the analyses that had been done by us or by anyone
1 else have used what are essentially guesses as to
2 these values.
3 The numbers of rockets have some basis in
4 terms of what was known to be there before the
5 demolition and what was found by UNSCOM during the
6 inspection, but the numbers can vary by a factor of
7 five or six. One can, as we have done, parameratize
8 these values but in any case, the uncertainty going
9 into the models will be reflected in the uncertainty
10 coming out. Whether we can improve our knowledge of
11 the release is unclear to the panel at this point.
12 New information appears to be coming forward and we
13 will have to see if it reduces the range in the number
14 of rockets.
15 Field tests can be run to try to reproduce
16 the events to understand how quickly agent may have
17 been released. If tests show consistent results with
18 regard to this factor, our knowledge will be improved.
19 If the tests show variable results, we may be stuck
20 with a degree of uncertainty that we cannot improve
22 I have talked about the meteorological and
1 environmental factors. This also includes terrain
2 which has an effect on winds and which can be modeled.
3 In this category we are limited by the observations we
4 have in the area and we're probably not going to get
5 very many more. Unlike source and release factors
6 with which the results tend to scale in predictable
7 ways, wind patterns can contain areas of bifurcation,
8 lines where the winds move on one side, in one
9 direction on one side of the line and on another
10 direction on the other side of the line.
11 Indeed the simulations we have seen show
12 just such lines in the vicinity of Khamisiyah near the
13 time of the pit demolition. These lines move over
14 time and are different at different altitudes and it
15 may be, although we cannot say for sure yet, that we
16 cannot be very confident about the meteorological
18 Finally, there is an area that the panel
19 has no expertise in but which is nevertheless
20 important for modeling and that is the level of agent
21 exposure that one is concerned about. As one lowers
22 that level, the areas covered by agent at that level
1 naturally expand and there is a question about how far
2 to go with regard to lowering that level. Also, very
3 low levels require great care in modeling since
4 greater precision needs to be carried forward in the
6 Although among the very low exposures we,
7 in the CIA, have used for the occupational limits and
8 general population limits, limits believed safe for
9 human exposure for an extended period, even lower
10 limits might be of interest for epidemiological
11 studies. Next slide, please.
12 Where are we now? The results shown to
13 the panel in February did not answer our call for
14 systematic variation in the meteorology so we have
15 asked for more of that to be done and for additional
16 models to be run for comparison so we can address the
17 question of whether we can reliably construct the
18 meteorology. We have also asked that the results of
19 these variations be linked with other transport and
20 diffusion models beyond the ones that we have seen so
21 far to see if more modern methodologies make a
1 Once these are in hand, we hope to
2 conclude our panel activities and make recommendations
3 regarding the best modeling approach to estimating low
4 level nerve agent coverage.
5 Thank you.
6 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Sylvia Copeland?
7 MS. COPELAND: George already gave it.
8 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Okay, let me -- I've
9 spent a lot of my life doing occupational medicine and
10 in assessing chemical exposures in the workplace, you
11 basically have to put two things together and, of
12 course, this is implicit in what you were saying here,
13 Doctor Grotte, especially at the end. On the one hand
14 you've got to come up with as good an estimate as you
15 can of the exposure that has taken place and then
16 secondly, you have to have as good a measure as you
17 can develop of the illness or the physiologic change
18 that has occurred in the people who are exposed.
19 In workplace settings it's almost
20 axiomatic that it's easier to measure the health
21 outcome than it is to measure the exposure. It's not
22 always true when you get to subtle effects but at
1 least it's generally true and reconstructing exposure
2 is always the far more difficult side of the equation
3 and you've certainly illustrated that this morning,
4 especially when you have an evanescent agent or agents
5 when you have no actual measures.
6 And often time what one is faced with and
7 I've seen this happen in looking at occupational
8 exposures to volatile compounds like solvents where
9 you can accurately reconstruct exposure that took
10 place days, weeks or years ago, what you end up having
11 to do is just make best guess estimates of -- in which
12 you define zones of exposure and maybe just assign
13 dummy variables to them. Call them Zones A, B, C, D
14 and E or something like that in the absence of numeric
15 information on levels of exposure and then identify
16 those people who were in each of the zones at the
17 critical time and run them through the exams.
18 It's important not to lump those people
19 either when you do the examinations because there may
20 be qualitative or quantitatively different health
21 effects in the people with the heavy exposures as
22 opposed to the people with the light exposures. There
1 have been some very elegant epidemiologic studies done
2 of workplace exposures where even in the absence of
3 quantitative level, if you can show a gradient and
4 show a step-wise increase in relative risk from low to
5 high, you can come up with come pretty interesting
6 documentation of the existence of health effects.
7 So all of this is a long preamble to a
8 question. I'm asking you, given the uncertainties,
9 given the fact that the trail is six or something
10 years cold, you're probably not going to be able to
11 come up with numbers showing how many parts per
12 million of serine were in this zone versus that zone.
13 I wonder though if you might not be able to come up
14 with at least some gradation that the epidemiologists
15 and the medical folks could use for doing dosimetry as
16 they involve themselves in their dose response
18 DR. GROTTE: That will depend, I think, on
19 our final conclusion regarding our ability to do
20 meteorologic work and also with regard to some of the
21 work regarding the source term because the results
22 will be very different if you had a large
1 instantaneous release, which probably didn't happen,
2 but nevertheless would result in kind of a long trail
3 of agent as opposed to something that evaporated over
4 a long period and then everything would be
5 concentrated around Khamisiyah.
6 So even to do what you say, I think we
7 would need to have a little more information about
8 what the source term was really like and I would like
9 to see the results, the final results of the
10 meteorological work because it may be that we can at
11 least define areas where it's unlikely that agent
12 went, simply on the basis of the meteorological
14 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: I think that's
15 useful. At the same time I would caution you against
16 being so caught up in the complexity of the modeling
17 that you lose sight of the bottom line. One of the
18 earliest epidemiologic studies I did of an airborne
19 toxin were studies of lead poisoning in kids who lived
20 around smelters in El Paso, Texas and Kellogg, Idaho.
21 And in each of those instances we heard long
22 explanations from folks who had been in the smelter
1 towns for many years about the complexity of wind and
2 weather because there were mountain, valleys and
3 swirling winds and dust devils that went in different
4 directions but when push came to shove and we cut
5 through all that, we were able to find a very lovely
6 gradient in the prevalence of elevated lead level in
7 which 60 percent of the children in the first circle,
8 30 percent of the children in the second circle, 10 or
9 so percentage of the children in the third circle had
10 elevated lead levels.
11 Now, we were lucky there because lead in
12 the body is a persistent chemical but there may be
13 persistent neurological or psychological changes that
14 could be tracked in the vets, if you could give us
15 some straightforward guidance like that at the end of
16 the day.
17 DR. GROTTE: Well, I guess I have to
18 return to the charter of the panel that I'm on and
19 that is to deal with the modeling of the events solely
20 and not the epidemiological work and so I would refer
21 that to experts in that field. We'll do the best job
22 we can with regard to assessing what could be modeled
1 or what can't be modeled and forward those
3 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Yeah, well, I accept
4 that but at the same time it would be useful before
5 you wrote your final report that you at least had a
6 conversation with an epidemiologist or two so that the
7 information you can present, even with all its
8 uncertainties, could be given to them in a user
9 friendly fashion.
10 DR. GROTTE: We have had such
11 conversations already.
12 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Good, good. Thanks.
14 MR. BALDESCHUIELER: It seems to me that
15 some relatively simple boundary conditions would be
16 extremely useful at least for me. For example, it
17 seems to me that the decay rate of the agent is
18 utterly critical to this analysis. For example, if
19 the half life of the agent in the atmosphere is 30
20 minutes, then after 12 hours, the concentration is
21 down by a factor of two to the 24th and I mean, that's
22 a huge factor. Under an assumption of those
1 conditions, the very worst case, which would be a
2 steady wind blowing in a particular direction for 12
3 hours say five miles an hour, means that the longest
4 possible footprint would be 60 miles at a
5 concentration of one over two to the 24th, and that's
7 And so it seems to me that drawing some
8 very simple boundary conditions would be extremely
9 useful for the understanding of this problem.
10 DR. GROTTE: We agree that that variable
11 is very important and one of our recommendations has
12 got to be that that be included in any kind of
13 assessment of the agent coverage. Right now it hasn't
14 been. The models don't handle it but they need to.
15 MR. BALDESCHUIELER: But they're useless
16 without that I would argue. I mean, they simply don't
17 give an even qualitatively sensible impression of what
18 could have happened.
19 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: The other factor
20 entering into that -- I understand that this agent is
21 relatively stable unless it does interact with
22 moisture is my understanding. And so another critical
1 factor is how humid was the air at that time and that
2 is also a product of the meteorologic models but we
3 don't know yet how good they do that job.
4 MR. BALDESCHUIELER: My impression is just
5 the reverse, that this is not a persistent agent and
6 the lifetime is likely to be rather short.
7 MS. COPELAND: Yeah, it's not a persistent
8 agent but the molecule itself is stable in the
9 environment. It hydrolyses rather rapidly beyond a
10 neutral pH and so the rainwater probably was not
11 neutral in that area, so it would have broken down
12 very quickly.
13 Also it would break down in the sand. The
14 sand is probably alkaline there from what we can
15 determine and so anything that went into the sand
16 probably would not have made it out or if it would
17 have made it out, it would have taken a very long
18 period of time. It would have started breaking down
19 pretty rapidly there as well.
20 MR. TURNER: Doctor Landrigan?
21 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Yeah, Mr. Turner.
22 MR. TURNER: Mr. Longbrake, would you put
1 up the slide please? Doctor Grotte, in your
2 presentation you omitted one slide that was presented
3 to the Committee and we think that should be up. This
4 slide represents the CIA's initial and preliminary
5 estimate of --
6 DR. GROTTE: Let me comment on that.
7 MR. TURNER: Can I finish the question,
9 DR. GROTTE: Sure.
10 MR. TURNER: -- of the release of March
11 10th from the pit area with 200 cycloserine rockets;
12 is that correct?
13 DR. GROTTE: No.
14 MR. TURNER: What is it?
15 DR. GROTTE: This slide represents our
16 attempt to summarize the briefing that we had been
17 given by the CIA.
18 MR. TURNER: Does that accurately
19 summarize the briefing?
20 DR. GROTTE: What this does is it
21 essentially overlays all the cases that the CIA had
22 done with respect to meteorology which makes the angle
2 MR. TURNER: I understand that.
3 DR. GROTTE: -- and the downwind distance
4 that represents the --
5 MR. TURNER: Does it accurately summarize
6 the briefing?
7 DR. GROTTE: It shows the maximum distance
8 of all the cases that they showed and that angle that
9 their meteorology showed.
10 MR. TURNER: Mr. Walpole, in August of
11 1996 CIA reported to us that they were working on
12 modeling. In November of 1996 your executive director
13 appeared before this committee and recited many of the
14 same obstacles to modeling that you rehashed today.
15 If I understand your testimony here today correctly,
16 on March 10th you're talking about a maximum of 260
17 rockets that were destroyed in the pit area. Is not
18 this an accurate portrayal of approximately the
19 downwind hazard that is going to result from that kind
20 of demolition?
21 MR. WALPOLE: As was just explained, this
22 was IDA's graphical representation of a presentation
1 we had given to them of the work we had done up to
2 that point. You are correct, in August we were
3 working the modeling issue. By November it had become
4 very clear that the uncertainties were so great that
5 any model you produced at that point would have had
6 great uncertainties associated with it.
7 That was the time that the expert panel
8 was stood out to take a look at what we had done. The
9 presentation we gave you today, jointly on the
10 meteorological side and on the source data side, was
11 to show you what we have done stepping back from our
12 modeling efforts which were fraught with uncertainty
13 to address those uncertainties, to bring information
14 and analysis to bear, to try to reduce those
15 uncertainties, including making an effort to do ground
16 testing in a way that would address one of the largest
17 uncertainties we have just in the source data.
18 MR. TURNER: No one is suggesting that you
19 cannot refine your modeling further. Is this an
20 accurate portrayal of -- that's up on the board, of
21 what the CIA's preliminary estimates of worst case
22 assessments at the pit area was in August, September,
1 October, November, December and January past? Haven't
2 you had this for six months?
3 MR. WALPOLE: If you're asking if this --
4 in fact, I'm going to ask Sylvia to address the
5 specific question in a moment that you have. CIA did
6 not produce an estimate like this. CIA did analysis
7 that got us to the point where we had great
8 uncertainty in trying to apply our model to what took
9 place in the pit.
10 MS. COPELAND: We did not produce a model.
11 We did not produce any finished product from it. We
12 felt very uncomfortable with the results we were
13 getting because of the uncertainties in the number of
14 rockets. We looked at 550 as a worst case, which is
15 one that we were -- one of many that we were looking
16 at. This one is a representation of one of those.
17 It's not the 260.
18 We have not represented that in any
20 MR. TURNER: So we were briefed
21 incorrectly, the 200, when we were over at the
22 Pentagon two weeks ago? That's what you briefed.
1 MR. WALPOLE: I believe I said this was
2 550 but if I misstated that, I'm sorry. This is a 550
3 rocket situation.
4 DR. GROTTE: And as you recall from my
5 statement, we have increased the total number that
6 could have been effected to 650 from that but then
7 broken that down to two events of 260 and 390.
8 MS. NISHIMI: Doctor Grotte, have you
9 found anything in CIA's approach, per se, that would
10 invalidate their approach to the modeling? I'm not
11 talking about inputs here, I'm talking about CIA's
12 model as applied to the pit.
13 DR. GROTTE: As applied to the pit?
14 MS. NISHIMI: Would invalidate that
16 DR. GROTTE: Would invalidate it? It
17 depends what you want to get out of it. If you want
18 to get areas of coverage of agent, then I believe in
19 this case you need to link meteorological models with
20 transport and diffusion models and that's the weakest
21 area with regard to this pit modeling that I've seen.
22 The models that they use are well-known
1 validated models in the Department of Defense.
2 MS. NISHIMI: So, Mr. Walpole, do you
3 still stand behind CIA's modeling at Khamisiyah and Al
5 MR. WALPOLE: Yes.
6 MS. NISHIMI: Should we be concerned,
7 however, that given that modeling approach with what
8 was used for this Committee to reach its conclusion in
9 part that theater-wide contamination was unlikely?
10 Should we now be concerned that we might not have
11 gotten the correct answer there given you now have
12 uncertainties about your modeling?
13 MR. WALPOLE: Let me walk you through that
14 just briefly. In the bunker, in fact for all three of
15 those cases, we had ground testing that helped reduce
16 our uncertainties. We do not have that in the pit.
17 That's why I mention that as the greatest uncertainty.
18 For the bunker, we had an event that took place in
19 about an hour, the dispersion, transport, diffusion
20 and so on. So the kinds of uncertainties that were
21 described with non-linking meteorological modeling to
22 the transport and diffusion modeling would not really
1 have applied to the Bunker 73 case.
2 The updates in meteorological didn't
3 matter. It was done before the update could have been
4 applied. Now with Muhammadiyat -- is there a question
5 there, Jim, on that? Okay. With Muhammadiyat and Al
6 Muthanna, that was a case where, while we knew it was
7 a bunker, we knew it was a shed, so we had that ground
8 truth, we weren't certain of the date, we weren't
9 certain of the weather conditions. So we applied our
10 model there using some extremely what I would consider
11 to be unreasonable worst case assumptions, that all of
12 it took place during nighttime.
13 We know that didn't happen but there's a
14 significant difference between daytime and nighttime
15 transport and diffusion. We assume that 100 percent
16 of the agent was released, that -- I'm sorry, we
17 assumed that it was 100 percent pure agent that was
18 released. We know that is not the case because from
19 the sampling, we had ranges from 10 to 70 percent and
20 70 percent was only on one hit, so it's really at the
21 lower end of particular scale.
22 Some of those types of uncertainties put
1 into it, assume that the wind was always the same
2 direction, to see if we could push the area of effect
3 anywhere near where we were told the concentration of
4 troops were and we could not. So while we were not
5 trying to come up with a very certain model of exactly
6 what regions were effected, we're still confident that
7 that could not have reached the Rafah area which is
8 where we were told they were.
9 MS. NISHIMI: What's the objection to
10 doing a worst case scenario at the pit other than the
11 fact that the outcome might not be an answer that you
12 might be comfortable with?
13 DR. GROTTE: Are you asking me?
14 MR. NISHIMI: No, I'm asking Mr. Walpole.
15 MR. WALPOLE: That's never been my
16 objection. My concern and the agency's concern with
17 trying to apply our model to the pit with the
18 uncertainties that we have, we don't have the ground
19 test information that we had in all three of the cases
20 I just mentioned and that's important. We may be
21 addressing that very soon. We have some other
22 uncertainties that we're working through on the
1 meteorological side.
2 When we get those uncertainties addressed
3 to where we can treat this similar to how we treated
4 Bunker 73, then we could look into answering your
5 question but those uncertainties have to be reduced.
6 MS. NISHIMI: Well, those are two issues
7 that I didn't hear either of you address. Who's going
8 to do that modeling and when is it going to be done?
9 Are you prepared to tell me today when you are going
10 to have this model done?
11 MR. WALPOLE: Since one of the greatest
12 uncertainties we have is the ground truth testing I
13 described and we're working with the Department of
14 Defense to set that up, I do not know -- we have not
15 talked dates yet. As we work that out, that will
16 effect the greatest uncertainty we have for the inputs
17 in working this out.
18 As IDA continues to work the
19 meteorological data, at that point we will end up with
20 source data and meteorological data, two models that
21 can be merged and produce the model that you're
22 looking for.
1 MS. NISHIMI: Who will do that, CIA or IDA
2 or both?
3 MR. WALPOLE: IDA's charter based on what
4 you've said so far is not to model.
5 DR. GROTTE: That is correct.
6 MS. NISHIMI: So then CIA will refine its
7 inputs and conduct the modeling that the Committee has
8 requested since August 1996; is that correct?
9 MR. WALPOLE: If the government asks us to
10 apply our model to this issue, then we will apply the
11 model to the issue.
12 MS. NISHIMI: But a request from this
13 Committee will not result in the same courtesy?
14 MR. WALPOLE: What's rolling around in the
15 back of my mind as you asked the question is what had
16 just been mentioned, the uncertainties in the model
17 that we're using. A couple of times during his
18 presentation he indicated that the panel viewed that
19 there were better models to address this particular
21 MS. NISHIMI: Well, I would encourage you
22 to try and get this modeling done before November 1997
1 which is when this Committee goes out of business,
2 because right now I feel like I'm sitting in a movie
3 and my line to you is show me the model and no one is
4 doing that. And the American public and U.S. troops
5 deserve an answer. This has been going on far too
6 long in my opinion.
7 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: There's also a fall-
8 back. If you've got too many uncertainties to come up
9 with a model, go with something as simplistic as this,
10 hand it over to the epidemiologists and let them get
11 to work.
12 MR. WALPOLE: Well, as Nora Slatkin had
13 said in November, we had taken the modeling at that
14 point as far as we could take it. We shifted our
15 effort, our focus, to trying to address the
16 uncertainties in the inputs. We have briefed you on
17 what we have done there and there's some significant
18 finds in what we're doing there to increase the
19 competence in the inputs. That's critical to this as
20 is the effort that IDA is doing on the meteorological
21 side, and determining if that model or another model
22 is better to address what happened in the pit.
1 MR. TURNER: But Mr. Walpole, at some
2 point you've got to fish or cut bait and the time is
3 long past on this modeling that you can't throw up
4 your hands in the air and say there are too many
5 uncertainties. People deserve to know what the best
6 estimate is that you can do and they need it soon.
7 DR. BROWN: Could I follow that thought?
8 We've been listening to this issue that there's a
9 terrific uncertainty in the modeling for four months
10 now or longer, that we don't have certainty in the
11 data and you could get the impression that no one ever
12 has to deal with this kind of problem that we don't
13 have to deal with uncertainty in modeling human
14 exposure. And I'm wondering if any of you are aware
15 of the fairly extensive effort in the civilian sector
16 where modeling is used under -- is required, in fact
17 by federal law both under SERA, Superfund Emergency,
18 Community Right to Know laws as well as the Clean Air
19 Act reauthorizations in 1990 which require
20 manufacturers who deal with hazardous materials in say
21 -- I mean, I notice as we flew into Salt Lake City
22 here there are some chemical companies located nearby.
1 Chemical companies in that situation are
2 required to model worst case exposure scenarios to try
3 and help figure out what would happen in an accident,
4 in an industrial accident, who would be exposed. They
5 have to come up with an emergency plan. They have to
6 determine who would be exposed, who has to be notified
7 and so forth. And they have to deal with exactly the
8 same uncertainties you're talking about because, of
9 course, nobody knows when an accident is going to
10 occur. It could occur at any time.
11 The chemical company might have a large
12 amount of that particular hazardous material or a
13 small amount of material, the winds might be blowing
14 this way or that way. So the simple expedience that's
15 required of them is to take the worst case scenario,
16 what's going to happen if the wind happens to be
17 blowing towards the city and the highest amount of
18 chemicals that site is releasing in some type of
19 accident. The point is, this type of stuff is
20 routine. It's done every day by chemical companies
21 all across this country in the civilian sector.
22 And I guess what I'm getting at it's not
1 clear to me why we -- and it's not done for arbitrary
2 purposes. It's done to alert people who might be at
3 risk from exposure. My question boils down to this,
4 why aren't our veterans entitled to the same level of
5 consideration that our civilian, the equivalent
6 civilian populations would be.
7 DR. GROTTE: All I can say on that is many
8 of our panel members, who are primarily academics, are
9 familiar with that type of work and I believe they
10 will be forwarding recommendations along those lines.
11 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Some of those
12 computer models that Doctor Brown refers to, you're
13 probably more familiar with this than I because it's
14 closer to your area of work, but there was a computer
15 program called Cameo that I think was developed by
16 Noah and was basically made available to high schools
17 so that they could do the kind of modeling in their
18 own community of the potential for toxic releases.
19 It's sophisticated stuff but it has been rendered user
21 DR. BROWN: I would just add, we've talked
22 to some people at FEMA, some people at EPA and they're
1 not that specific about what models they require.
2 They just require modeling. There are models
3 available on PC's. There are even, as we understand
4 it, models available for pocket calculators that can
5 generate this type of data.
6 This is not rocket science. I mean, you
7 know, it can be rocket science but it doesn't have to
8 be so complicated.
9 DR. GROTTE: Well, you give up a certain
10 degree of precision. The meteorological models that
11 we're looking at are models that run on Cray's and
12 take into account the various levels of the atmosphere
13 and the dynamics and the physics of the atmosphere in
14 as realistic a way as possible in order to make up for
15 the lack of observations.
16 DR. BROWN: Doctor Grotte, are prepared
17 then to release some of this worst case modeling
18 that's been done by Lawrence Livermore on their Cray
19 computers and by some of the other agencies that have
20 done this type of modeling under worst case
22 DR. GROTTE: The models, the situations
1 that we have run are sensitivity analyses that we have
2 used to try and understand the models. I don't think
3 they bear much relationship in terms of the source
4 term to what went on there and so until we actually go
5 forward and publish which we will at some time, I'm
6 reluctant to release those because I simply don't
7 think they bear and relationship to what actually
8 happened at the pit.
9 DR. BROWN: But the bottom line, your
10 argument that we need perfect data in order to model,
11 is a red herring. We're never going to have perfect
12 data. We're never going to have -- it may be -- I've
13 been listening to this now for awhile. It may be that
14 we're never going to have better data than we have
15 right now.
16 Doctor Grotte mentioned that some of the
17 uncertainties as we study them are actually
18 increasing. What's your answer to someone who says it
19 looks like you're never going to come to a model?
20 You're never going to be able to estimate exposure of
21 U.S. troops located in the Gulf War as a result of
22 this incident.
1 DR. GROTTE: If -- one can generate a
2 worst case analyses but I think one has to exercise
3 great care in defining what that is and it has to be
4 a reasonable worst case analysis. We could say there
5 were 1,000 rockets in the pit and they all went up,
6 boom, and you would get a lot of agent coverage with
7 that, but that doesn't jive with the observations that
8 were there and what we know of how it was done.
9 So, indeed, a reasonable, limited -- or
10 the best worst case needs to be defined in which case
11 one could then model that, but I don't think one can
12 just take the worst case of say the cases we ran and
13 say, "Well, that's a worst case, let's publish that",
14 because I don't think it bears any relationship to
15 what actually happened.
16 MR. WALPOLE: Let me try to address a
17 couple of different things that have been raised.
18 First off, we're not looking for perfect data because
19 we know we won't get perfect data. In the
20 intelligence business I'm not sure that I've ever had
21 a case where I've had perfect data, but at the same
22 time a worst case situation doesn't solve your
1 problem. You were describing before, Doctor
2 Landrigan, occupational bands, circles and 60 percent
3 of the children in this area and 30 percent.
4 For you to give meaningful information to
5 the veterans and the Veterans Affairs about the types
6 of circles you'd want to draw here, you want to have
7 the most meaningful circles or plumes drawn possible.
8 If we put together something for you that's worst case
9 that we know it to be inaccurate, whatever circles you
10 draw are not going to help you resolve even part of
11 the problem.
12 We've got two pictures here that I --
13 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: One very traditional
14 approach for dealing with that is to present a couple
15 or three different estimates --
16 MR. WALPOLE: Right.
17 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: To give a point
18 estimate perhaps and a high and a low rate. This is
19 done really all the time.
20 MR. WALPOLE: And that's why we're trying
21 to address the uncertainties. If I had come today and
22 said, "We're the same place we were last November, I
1 guess I could understand some of the comments that
2 have been made. Since we have made a lot of
3 aggressive efforts to address the wind vector, to
4 address the meteorological data, to address the
5 uncertainty of the numbers of rockets that would have
6 been damaged in the pit, when you described before
7 about rocket science, that's exactly what we're
8 talking about is rockets and we've got two pictures
9 here that are pictures of soldiers, that's why the
10 faces are covered up and the identification are
11 covered up, at the time of the detonation and what we
12 see is what looks like to be intact rockets in some
14 So we know that not all of them were
15 damaged. We know not all of them released agent.
16 Trying to make counts of that information, trying to
17 get better refined data on how much was released, even
18 so that we can start to do a middle range or a lower
19 range from the worst case. The worst case has some
20 uncertainties on it but not like the kinds of
21 uncertainties we're putting together here, but these
22 types of models are going to be the most important for
1 you to draw meaningful circles to help the veterans
2 and where they were at the particular time.
3 That's what we're striving for. Our
4 commitment is to help here. Getting to the question
5 of who's going to do the modeling when, we will were
6 in a concerted effort with the Department of Defense
7 and with IDA to come up with what best serves the
8 interests of the government and the public on what
9 actually happened in this pit.
10 When we determine that model and put these
11 inputs into it, then that will be published and that
12 will be sooner rather than later.
13 MR. TURNER: Could you explain to me how
14 the interests of the government are different from the
15 interests of the public in this?
16 MR. WALPOLE: Should be the same.
17 MR. TURNER: I certainly hope so and I
18 don't understand why you make that kind of
19 distinction. At some point you're going to have to
20 model this. You know the range. Doctor Landrigan has
21 presented to you options about how you do high and low
22 points. Do it.
1 MR. WALPOLE: I wasn't attempting to make
2 a distinction. I apologize. It was a misstatement.
3 MS. NISHIMI: When were these photographs
4 that you've put up, when did they come to CIA's
5 attention? You indicated the first one overview of
6 the pit --
7 MR. WALPOLE: You're talking about the
8 spot imagery.
9 MS. NISHIMI: The imagery was October
10 1996. When did the one with just the little dots,
12 MR. WALPOLE: Both of them in October
14 MS. NISHIMI: And these two pictures that
15 Ms. Copeland just put up?
16 MR. WALPOLE: This we got -- we got them
17 from DOD and we just recently got them and were able
18 to use them as long as we made sure the identification
19 features could not be seen.
20 MS. COPELAND: We've had them for some
21 time. Your staff has seen them. We've had those for
22 some time.
1 MR. WALPOLE: Yeah, they've seen those,
2 even the spot imagery.
3 MS. NISHIMI: So, since you've had them
4 for some time, which is what I just heard, why haven't
5 they been applied so that we have a model today?
6 MR. WALPOLE: They are being applied.
7 MS. NISHIMI: But you've had them since
8 October and you're presenting it as though it's new
9 information today.
10 MR. WALPOLE: No, the spot imagery we had
11 since October. I don't know when we got the other
12 ones. Just recently my understanding was.
13 MR. CROSS: Have we looked for more
14 imagery that's available prior to the dates of these
15 imagings here?
16 MR. WALPOLE: Yes, and I mentioned the
17 UNSCOM video and we just got the UNSCOM video and
18 we're looking at what we can find there in the
19 numbers, in the stacks to see if that will help us
20 sort that out.
21 MS. COPELAND: We've gathered every type
22 of imagery source that we know of and then have to
1 sort through it and so, you know, it's that sorting --
2 I mean, we gathered it all together. We started
3 sorting through it and now we're coming to some
4 conclusions based on that sorting and analysis but
5 that does take time because there was a lot of
6 potential images that had to be sorted through. Not
7 many, for various reasons, provided much useful
8 information but there was quite a bit that we had to
9 go through.
10 DR. BROWN: You know, I think striving for
11 perfection is obviously a desirable goal, it's a noble
12 goal even but I think just to reiterate my point, I
13 don't think you'd have the luxury of playing around
14 with data like this to try and achieve this kind of
15 perfection in the civilian sector and to me it looks
16 strange that civilians get significantly better
17 protection, significantly better access to information
18 about potential exposure, potential risk than our
19 veterans did in an analogous situation after the war.
20 That's not a question, it's a comment, I guess.
21 MR. WALPOLE: As I indicated before, we're
22 really not striving for perfection. We're trying to
1 reduce these uncertainties enough that you get a
2 meaningful model out of it.
3 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: John.
4 MR. BALDESCHUIELER: Let me return once
5 again to the lifetime for the degradation of the
6 agent. Once again, that factor seems to me utterly
7 dominant in terms of the sense of these models and,
8 you know, once again, if the half life for decay of
9 the agent is 30 minutes, after 12 hours the factor is
10 two to the 24th. That's a factor of 16 million in the
11 impact on the distribution. Is that understood?
12 MS. COPELAND: That's not the decay rate
13 of the agent, however.
14 MR. BALDESCHUIELER: What is it?
15 MS. COPELAND: I'd have to go back to our
17 MR. BALDESCHUIELER: In Jeff's model he
18 assumes it doesn't decay at all if I heard you
20 DR. GROTTE: In the models that we have
21 seen that model this type of transport and diffusion,
22 we don't have this type of hydrolytic decay model.
1 MR. BALDESCHUIELER: So you assume the
2 lifetime is infinite --
3 DR. GROTTE: We assume -- well, we --
4 MR. BALDESCHUIELER: -- which certainly
5 makes the whole analysis absurd.
6 DR. GROTTE: Well, it certainly overstates
7 the coverage, that's for sure.
8 MR. BALDESCHUIELER: But it makes it
9 absurd, isn't that right, because that certainly
10 dominates any mathematical --
11 DR. GROTTE: I need to know what the decay
12 rate actually was.
13 MS. COPELAND: It's 40 hours for neutral
14 pH in water but I'm sure the rain was not neutral
16 DR. BROWN: But, John, the other thing you
17 have to consider is even if you have a fairly short
18 atmospheric half life the material maybe even leaked
19 out over a continuous period. We don't know exactly
20 the details.
21 MS. COPELAND: Exactly.
22 DR. GROTTE: Which at least some of the
1 photographic evidence would suggest is not an
2 unreasonable scenario.
3 MS. COPELAND: Right.
4 MR. BALDESCHUIELER: But I guess it's not
5 clear to me what leakage over a long period of time,
6 that that --
7 DR. BROWN: If it was being continuously
8 replenished, even if it had a half life of say 12
9 hours, if that -- you know, it would go --
10 MR. BALDESCHUIELER: But that depends on
11 the size of the source --
12 MS. COPELAND: Exactly.
13 MR. BALDESCHUIELER: -- and fooling around
14 with a factor of two and the size of the source seems
15 to me to be utterly irrelevant.
16 MS. COPELAND: And it depends on whether
17 it was vapor or liquid droplets and since these are
18 not going to be fused perfectly, more likely most of
19 it was droplet vapor and then you have the re-
20 evaporation time and then you have the absorption into
21 the sand and re-evaporation.
22 MR. BALDESCHUIELER: But aren't those the
2 MS. COPELAND: There's a lot of variables.
3 MR. BALDESCHUIELER: Aren't those the
4 critical parameters in this?
5 MS. COPELAND: Yes.
6 MR. WALPOLE: Yes, and those are some of
7 the factors that we will get at with the ground truth
8 testing. The ground truth testing will not effect how
9 many rockets we finally decide were effected here.
10 That will effect these types of questions, what the
11 dispersion patterns was, what the leakage, what would
12 happen with the -- how much vaporizes and so on, and
13 that gets to your question.
14 MR. TURNER: Mr. Walpole, to do ground
15 testing that would simulate a desert environment, I
16 assume that you're talking about June, July, August at
17 Dugway? Is that a reasonable inference?
18 MS. COPELAND: No.
19 MR. WALPOLE: I don't know the answer to
20 that. I would have to check with DOD.
21 MR. TURNER: Well, when might it be? You
22 don't have any answer?
1 MR. WALPOLE: I would think it would be
2 sooner than that but I do not have the answer to that.
3 MS. COPELAND: From our point of view you
4 wouldn't have to simulate the time. You'd just have
5 to simulate the agent and the mechanism in which --
6 MR. BALDESCHUIELER: Atmospheric
8 MS. COPELAND: The atmospheric conditions
9 is a separate model. What we're looking at is a
10 source and what we're also looking at is how it reacts
11 in sand and those tests can be done separately.
12 MR. BALDESCHUIELER: So they could be done
13 tomorrow. There's no meteorological imperative. It
14 could be done tomorrow as far as you're concerned in
15 terms of getting data that you could then use as an
16 input; is that correct?
17 MS. COPELAND: It can be done at any time.
18 DR. GROTTE: As soon as the test could be
19 set up, it could be done.
20 MS. COPELAND: Right, that was tomorrow.
21 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Okay, we'll thank the
22 panel. We appreciate that an enormous amount of hard
1 work is going on but I think you must be open to our
2 frustration here and we encourage you to move forward
3 as rapidly as you can. Thanks.
4 DR. GROTTE: Thank you.
5 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: We'll take a 15
6 minute recess.
7 (Whereupon, a short recess was taken.)
8 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Let's see if we can
9 get going here and ask you next panel to come forward.
10 Before our next witnesses begin, just let
11 me bring you up to day on how we're going to handle
12 the schedule. We'll hear from this panel and take the
13 questions that are relevant to this panel's testimony,
14 Doctor Rostker, and then we'll break for lunch and
15 continue with Ms. Davis and Colonel Morris and carry
16 on from there, just so you all know.
17 So, Doctor Rostker, we're pleased to
18 welcome you this morning.
19 DR. ROSTKER: Well, thank you very much.
20 It's my pleasure to be here. In reflecting on today's
21 testimony, I think it was your last meeting before
22 your final report when Doctor White made a
1 presentation and part of that was the announcement of
2 the stand-up of my organization. Subsequent to that,
3 there has been the publication of the PAC report.
4 Both the work of the PAC before that and subsequent to
5 the publication have in fact been important inputs
6 into the revitalization of the DOD effort and I'm
7 pleased to today brief on the changes that we have
9 A point I want to make in this first chart
10 is that DOD was concerned with issues of potential
11 illness of Gulf War veterans even as the war was going
12 on. The first concern, of course, was the oil fires
13 and there had been substantial work on that. Within
14 a year or so, however, the phenomenon that we now call
15 as Gulf War illnesses started to show itself and here
16 are some of the -- in this chart some of the early
17 efforts to get our handle on those illnesses.
18 In 1994 Defense, following the lead of --
19 can you hear okay?
20 MS. NISHIMI: No, can you pull it up a
21 little bit. I'm sorry, but we have to balance us
22 hearing it and your ability to transcribe it. I
1 appreciate it.
2 DR. ROSTKER: Okay, is that better, Robyn?
3 Okay. Following the lead of the Department of
4 Veterans Affairs, DOD established the CCEP and that
5 was and remains a major effort on the part of the
6 Department of Defense. Our first and foremost concern
7 is the health of our veterans and I want to repeat our
8 often mentioned concern about anyone who is ill, who
9 remains the responsibility of the Department of
10 Defense, to please use the facilities of the
11 Department and come into the CCEP.
12 In 1995 the PAC was stood up and in late
13 1996 Khamisiyah becomes the major focus of a lot of
14 our activities. Next slide. Doctor White often
15 refers to Khamisiyah as a watershed event. It broke
16 some of the notions that were held and it resulted in
17 a substantial re-orientation and re-emphasis on Gulf
18 War illness within the Department of Defense and I'd
19 like to illustrate that in the next few moments.
20 Last September the Deputy Secretary took
21 several actions to strengthen our efforts. The first
22 was to ask me to come in and do a complete
1 reassessment of the activities within the Department
2 of Defense and I think you know that my paycheck at
3 least is provided by the Department of the Navy where
4 I am the Assistant Secretary for manpower and reserve
5 affairs. But my association with the Deputy Secretary
6 goes back more than 30 years and this was not the
7 first time that he has asked me to step in and take a
8 critical look and advise him and we did that in the
10 In September, he also took a number of
11 additional actions, strengthening our clinical program
12 and our medical research program. He initiated a
13 number of independent reviews of Khamisiyah. The
14 Department of the Army IG was asked to look at the
15 military operations around Khamisiyah and I believe
16 they will be talking to you today.
17 The Assistant to the Secretary of Defense
18 for intelligence oversight was asked to review the
19 handling of Intel data at Khamisiyah and then a little
20 later the Deputy Secretary in concert with the CIA
21 asked the Institute for Defense Analysis to establish
22 an expert panel to review the so-called plume analysis
1 around Khamisiyah. We also asked the National Academy
2 of Sciences to provide some help in overseeing our
3 activities and particularly looking at the efforts we
4 were taking to protect, in the future to protect our
5 forces. Next chart.
6 It was some weeks after I started in
7 September, it was actually into late October when we
8 were preparing to make an announcement on Khamisiyah
9 that the Deputy Secretary turned to me and said, "How
10 do I make sure there are no more Khamisiyah's",
11 meaning that, "How do I make sure we are looking
12 thoroughly at all of the information to identify any
13 other potential releases of chemical information.
14 And I said to the Deputy Secretary then
15 that he had a problem. I didn't realize that it was
16 going to turn into my problem but his problem was that
17 the resources that we, in the Department of Defense,
18 were putting on the analysis, particularly operational
19 information, was quite inadequate to the task. That
20 the small team that had been stood up the year before
21 was so consumed with Khamisiyah and all of the
22 activities around Khamisiyah that it had no
1 opportunity to look at anything but and had not fully
2 expanded its horizon.
3 He then asked me for suggestions and to
4 make a long story short, when I gave him a menu of
5 things that I thought needed to be done, he said,
6 "Don't tell me what to do, go do them", and I found
7 myself with an additional job as the Special Assistant
8 for Gulf War illnesses. Next slide.
9 I'm sorry, would you go back? This was
10 taken from the press release at the time and it
11 emphasized the need to look at the concerns for
12 incidents and incident reporting. I might say that
13 the PAC had come to the same conclusion and had
14 criticized DOD for its lack of focus and resources in
15 this and I completely concur with the PAC's judgment.
16 It also pointed out that we had done --
17 the PAC had pointed out and my group had also found
18 that we had done a very poor job in communicating with
19 our veterans. For example, we had an 800 hot line.
20 We had received over 1,000 phone calls that had not
21 adequately been processed and dealt with. This group
22 was totally unable to keep up with the contact with
1 the veterans and the research that was required.
2 In the announcement of the standing up of
3 my office, the Secretary and the Deputy Secretary
4 reiterated their support for Doctor Joseph and his
5 authority as the senior medical officer of the
6 department in charge of all of our health related
7 programs, the CCEP and the medical research program
8 but gave me additional oversight and coordination with
9 Doctor Joseph and we'll talk about that in a minute.
10 I took as my charter the missions that we
11 had established for my review group and continued
12 those as the mission of my office. The first concern
13 we have in Defense is for our veterans and we want to
14 make sure that they received the appropriate care.
15 Sort of the tag line here is that people are our first
16 concern and we truly believe that. We need to do
17 everything possible to explain to our veterans and to
18 ourselves for the future of what may be causing people
19 to be ill.
20 The President has talked about leaving no
21 stone unturned. We think it's very important that we
22 be able to do this because if we can't explain what
1 went on in the Gulf, then we will have a very poor
2 ability to do the third item and that is to put in
3 place those military doctrine personnel and medical
4 policies and procedures that would allow us to avoid
5 these kinds of problems in the future. I might say
6 that many of the lessons have already been learned but
7 more has to be done and that is our long term
8 interest. Next slide.
9 This is the organization that we have
10 stood up and it represents the full range of functions
11 that it's necessary to accomplish. As you know, I am
12 the Special Assistant. After a long search we brought
13 on the team retired Lieutenant General Dale Vesser,
14 who has substantial experience. During the Gulf War
15 he was a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense. He
16 had been a Division Commander, a Rhodes scholar and a
17 very important member of the team.
18 I'm not going to go through all of those
19 boxes but I would say that many of them reflect your
20 guidance in your report, particularly the emphasis on
21 Veterans Affairs and outreaching to the veterans and
22 our responsibilities under public affairs. The quick
1 reaction team is an attempt to be able to work on
2 specific problems as they develop without destroying
3 the continuity of the organization and the last box
4 deals with the coordination with Doctor Joseph and the
5 Department of Veterans Affairs and HHS in overseeing
6 our medical program.
7 The heart of the organization is the
8 investigation and analysis directorate and I'll talk
9 a little bit about that and Ann Davis will brief you
10 after luncheon. This little schematic represents the
11 basic process that we go through and I'll take a few
12 moments and a few slides to walk you through that so
13 you can get an idea of what our philosophy is as we
14 try to move forward with our understanding of what
15 went on in the Gulf.
16 The first thing I would point out is that
17 everything that we are concerned with really comes
18 down to two issues and those issues come directly from
19 our mission statement. The first is the cause of
20 illness and how we approach that problem and the
21 second is the doctrine, policy, procedures and
22 equipment that we need in the future to accomplish
1 DOD's mission.
2 I instituted two major changes consistent
3 with those -- that mission. First, a formal case
4 management system. The organization that I inherited
5 had a very ad hoc way of defining a case. They were
6 very uneven. We had no real structure for organizing
7 ourselves as we went out into the future. And the
8 second is a commitment to communicate with our
10 Basically the way the process works is we
11 have case managers and cases can be a number of
12 things; for example, an incident like Khamisiyah, an
13 issue like pryridostigmine bromide or the kind of
14 analysis you were talking about earlier in terms of
15 the units and where they were. We researched these
16 cases with data that we received from the operational
17 data that we have and a great deal of which has been
18 declassified and is out on Gulflink, intelligence
19 data, medical data from the CCEP, from the Department
20 of Veterans Affairs' data base as well as individual
21 surveys which we've sent out and observations from the
22 veterans themselves.
1 Now, that's not greatly different in terms
2 of source of data, but it is very different in terms
3 of the way we've involved our veterans and I'll come
4 back to that in a few moments. Let me walk you
5 through an example.
6 We've actually spent quite a bit of time,
7 almost soul searching time, to try to define what's a
8 case and how we handle it and how they relate to our
9 overall mission and this is an example. Here are the
10 two causes, the two factors we work on, cause of
11 illness and doctrine and then the case structure that
12 supports that. For example, under cause of illness we
13 have two efforts going on as we speak. One is to
14 better understand the medical issues and a series of
15 review papers, not to necessarily draw conclusions but
16 to allow us to understand what the medical issues are,
17 and then the experience that we had in the Gulf, what
18 actually happened and there's a whole range, not only
19 chemical weapons which you've been talking about this
20 morning, but other things like pesticides or other
21 environmental hazards.
22 On the doctrine side, we need to
1 understand what our doctrine and systems were but,
2 again, importantly, what happened. For example, in
3 pesticides it's nice to know what the doctrine for
4 spreading pesticides are but you really need to
5 understand what the actual procedures were and then
6 where do we need to build and strengthen for the
7 future. Next slide.
8 These are an example of the kinds of
9 questions our inquiries are trying to get at, this
10 particular example, is the exposure to chemical
11 warfare agents. The kinds of questions our review of
12 medical issues are looking at and then the kinds of
13 questions our experience in the Gulf, the main portion
14 of our in-house resources are looking at. Next slide.
15 The medical review papers are under the
16 direction of Captain Dave Trump, who works for me, and
17 we are using the facilities of the RAND Corporation to
18 pull together teams to provide us with that insight.
19 On the right-hand side are a list of the various
20 chemical cases that we are looking at and you can see
21 they are substantial. One of those cases is
22 Khamisiyah and, as you know, we published a case
1 narrative on Khamisiyah and you'll hear about that
2 later today. Next slide.
3 This is the cover from the Khamisiyah case
4 narrative. It emphasizes the fact that this is an
5 interim report and asks those who may have additional
6 information concerning Khamisiyah to call our 800
7 hotline. What's behind it -- no, I'm sorry, go back
8 one slide. What's behind it is the way we are putting
9 together the case narrative. We hope that later,
10 either later this week or probably next week, we will
11 put on Gulflink a version of the case narrative where
12 you could go to the footnote and actually click on the
13 footnote using the hyper-text facility and bring up
14 the supporting document. So it's not just a document
15 with footnotes, but we want to be able to provide the
16 American public with all of the supporting information
17 and the techniques of the Internet allow us to do that
18 and we hope to have that on next week.
19 Now, in terms of the way we are working
20 with our veterans -- oops, you've got a slide out of
21 order. That's okay. This was the case narrative
22 slide and it just simply shows the process that we are
1 going through from the footnotes to creating a
2 hypertext so that the underlying and supporting
3 documents will be fully available to the American
4 people. Go ahead.
5 The process of keeping in touch with our
6 veterans has been built around our veteran case
7 managers. When a veteran calls in we take their name
8 and we take a quick blurb of what they have requested
9 and then we call them back and we have trained
10 interviewers talk to them. Those interviews have
11 taken anywhere from a half hour to several hours. The
12 interview information then is available to our case
13 managers. It further gives us the information of what
14 the veteran is concerned about and allows us to then
15 communicate back to the specific veteran in terms of
16 their concerns.
17 The numbers here represent the initial
18 phone calls in our 800 number since December 13th and
19 we've accomplished 89 percent of the people who called
20 in we have fully debriefed. Next slide, please.
21 We also had some 1200 phone calls that we
22 had not adequately responded to and as you can see
1 from this slide, we have attempted to contact almost
2 all of them at this point, made contact with over 65
3 percent and that process is continuing. We're also
4 using the phone interview capabilities to follow up on
5 our Khamisiyah questionnaires for people who have
6 indicated that they have a health problem or that they
7 were concerned with some chemical event surrounding
9 The information that is available from
10 these veterans' numbers -- veterans' phone calls go
11 into an array of data bases and this is actually a
12 screen produced for our analysts which shows how we
13 link the data bases and every one of those icons are
14 a data base that the analysts can retrieve. So in
15 this particular case in the analyst is working the
16 Khamisiyah story, he has available the CCEP data from
17 the 37th engineers who did the demolition at
18 Khamisiyah, he has all of the call-back information
19 from people from that unit who called in and he has a
20 great many other data bases to pull together the
21 Khamisiyah story.
22 I mentioned Gulflink and Gulflink has been
1 a significant way that we have communicated with our
2 veterans. We are changing Gulflink or have changed it
3 in several significant ways. We are in the process of
4 putting in a two-way E mail capability and have
5 providing -- we are providing a series of news items.
6 One of the things that's very difficult in the way we
7 were structured is how do we communicate what we're
8 doing on a day to day, week to week basis to help the
9 veterans understand? How do we tell the veterans
10 about the fact that we're briefing you today or any
11 follow-up that we have with the PAC, for example?
12 The way we were doing it was simply to
13 publish transcripts of testimony. We're now putting
14 in a news article format the things that we are doing
15 and we're trying to do this in a way that doesn't spin
16 the news. I want to talk about what's going on in my
17 organization. I don't need to have editorial comments
18 about what other people are saying. The veterans can
19 get that directly from them. But it is important that
20 we communicate with the veterans in a way that is
21 informative to them and just transcripts of hearings
22 is not a very informative way.
1 So we've change the Gulflink to do that.
2 And I hope by next week we will have the first of our
3 case narratives with the ability to pull the source
4 information to the text and that will give the
5 veterans a much enhanced way of following the story of
6 each of our narratives and the first one, of course,
7 being Khamisiyah.
8 We've had an aggressive program of
9 reaching out to our veterans through our veterans
10 service organizations. One of the things we did in
11 December was to invite the veterans service
12 organizations and congressional staffers to the
13 Pentagon and had a display for them of all of the
14 chemical gear, test equipment, including a FOX vehicle
15 that we talked about in the -- in much of our
16 testimony and the reaction was very substantial, very
17 positive, because people got a chance to talk to
18 experts to, if you will, kick the tires. And on a FOX
19 vehicle you literally can kick the tires.
20 It went over very well and we've initiated
21 a monthly round table with our veterans service
22 organizations. Later this spring I will go on the
1 road and I'm committed to several weeks of meeting
2 with veterans organizations throughout the United
3 States to talk about what we are doing in the Defense
4 Department to meet their concerns.
5 I want to end by bringing us back to the
6 mission of my organization. It is really important
7 that we keep, certainly I keep at center the three
8 basic concerns that we have. First and foremost for
9 the health of our veterans, our attempt to understand
10 what went on in the Gulf and doing that not only for
11 their well-being but also so that we can build towards
12 the future.
13 With that, I thank you very much and would
14 be happy to take any questions you have, sir.
15 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Thank you, Doctor
16 Rostker. Questions from the panel or staff.
17 MS. KNOX: Doctor Rostker, you mentioned
18 what your mission was for the veterans and as you may
19 know last year we were very deeply disgusted
20 concerning the memo that Mr. Paul Walner wrote
21 instructing that all declassified information be
22 routed to his office before FOIA requests were
1 granted. Now, you say today that your mission is that
2 people are your first concern, that there shouldn't be
3 no stones that are left unturned and that you need to
4 inform veterans and the public of progress and
6 And yet we understand that all FOIA
7 requests related to Gulf War illnesses are being
8 referred to your office before documents are released
9 to the public. Can you explain that?
10 DR. ROSTKER: Sure. First let me say the
11 first time I saw that message actually was at a
12 congressional hearing and I think I used the word
14 MS. KNOX: It was.
15 DR. ROSTKER: And I have formally
16 rescinded that message and we had an example
17 subsequent to that where there was a piece of critical
18 information as we were doing the Khamisiyah narrative
19 and within a half hour of gaining that piece of
20 critical information I had called the PAC and notified
21 them that we had what I considered to be a critical
22 piece of information.
1 So that procedure is not at all applicable
2 and we, I think, have a good record over the last
3 several months of sharing with the PAC on an immediate
4 basis all information that I certainly believe you
5 would find critical. As far as coordinating any
6 Freedom of Information Act, there has to be some
7 process to do that and I am the coordinator for the
8 Department of Defense, but it is not our intent to sit
9 on this information. We've been trying to get things
10 out as fast and as comprehensively as we possibly can
11 and we've worked, I trust, well with your staff in
12 trying to do that.
13 MS. KNOX: So but indeed all FOIA requests
14 are going to your office before they're sent to the
15 public; is that correct?
16 DR. ROSTKER: This is the first I've heard
17 of it, but I believe that would be a logical place for
18 them to go as -- coming in as the focal point for the
19 Department of Defense. I would have to -- those
20 requests would come to a certain person in the
21 department to coordinate and that should be myself.
22 MS. KNOX: Why wouldn't it be fair to give
1 a copy of the FOIA requests say for instance that Mr.
2 Tuitte has requested and then you get a copy after
3 he's received a copy?
4 DR. ROSTKER: I'm not sure of the
5 specifics of what you're talking about, but I'll be
6 happy to look into it.
7 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Doctor Rostker, I
8 know you were in the room for the previous testimony
9 when we --
10 DR. ROSTKER: Part of it, yes.
11 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: -- or at least part
12 of it, right, when we were discussing the difficulties
13 in modeling and I wonder if in parallel with that as
14 the folks on the modeling side of the house continue
15 their work if it might not be time to begin at least
16 on a contingency basis setting up to do some clinical
17 and/or epidemiologic studies of the -- of the groups
18 of people whom you know were most exposed.
19 There's obviously going to be some
20 disagreement and maybe ultimately just some frank
21 uncertainty about who was exposed around the margins,
22 but we know probably who was in the middle and isn't
1 it time to --
2 DR. ROSTKER: It's already been done.
3 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: -- something like the
4 Operation Ranch Hand that was done after Vietnam.
5 DR. ROSTKER: It's already underway as we
6 speak. First of all, one of the things I've been very
7 concerned about is that we not draw our conclusions
8 from the CCEP itself, but we do it from the entire
9 data base. The CCEP is roughly a quarter to a third
10 of the veterans who have presented themselves to the
11 government. We are one government. We work together.
12 The Department of Veterans Affairs have been
13 forthcoming and we have been working towards a
14 consolidated data base that is -- will be put on the
15 computers up at CHPPM at the environmental health
16 group up at Aberdeen to do exactly what you want to
18 We don't have to wait for the plume
19 analysis or the fallout analysis to be able to array
20 certainly the clinical data that we've gotten from the
21 two health registries to see, for example, if there is
22 a higher incident of participation in the registries
1 around Khamisiyah or in any vector, particular vector
2 from Khamisiyah. I think that needs to be done and we
3 are in the process of doing that. I'll be happy to
4 share that with the PAC at the earliest opportunity.
5 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Thank you very much,
6 but I think maybe we're talking a little bit at cross
7 purposes. You're talking about starting from the
8 registry, if I understood your answer and what I'm
9 suggesting is the notion of starting from the roster
10 of the troops who were in a particular unit, who were
11 in a particular place, using them as the denominator
12 and then doing a study within that population.
13 DR. ROSTKER: And that's exactly what we
14 are doing.
15 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Okay.
16 DR. ROSTKER: If you want a participation
17 rate, you need a numerator and a denominator. And so
18 we are looking at that. Let me also say that we have
19 sent over 20,000 questionnaires to soldiers who we
20 believe were within 50 kilometers of Khamisiyah.
21 Unfortunately, we've only received back about 25
22 percent of those and that's part of our analysis
1 together with several hundred who indicated they may
2 have seen or heard about significant chemical events
3 or sickness or other things.
4 So we're trying to get a handle on what
5 went on in Khamisiyah from several different
6 directions and, again, we'll be happy to share that
7 with the PAC at the earliest possible date.
8 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: That sounds like a
9 heroic effort. Of course, sometimes less is more and
10 if you were to focus right -- instead of 50,000 which
11 is an awful big number to trace, I know I've done
12 cohort studies that have had 25,000 and it took us
13 four or five years, if you could focus on perhaps the
14 2,000 who were right in the middle, is that possible?
15 DR. ROSTKER: Absolutely and again,
16 because we only had a 25 percent response rate from
17 the Khamisiyah veterans, we're putting a lot of
18 emphasis on the participation in both the CCEP and the
19 VA registry and the units and the numbers around
20 Khamisiyah and those who were not at Khamisiyah at
21 all. I must say, and this is an observation that you
22 had made in your report, that we're not very sanguine
1 about the quality of the unit location, time, unit
2 location data. We have the 20,000 observations around
3 Khamisiyah within a 50 kilometer range of Khamisiyah.
4 That has to be taken as a minimum number, not a
5 maximum number and we will be doing things later this
6 spring to try to get a better handle on it.
7 The data base is a bottom up data base and
8 we will be working with the Army to see if we can get
9 some more precision top down to identify different
10 units. One of the problems, however, is that as I
11 believe you know, Khamisiyah sits adjacent to the
12 major sort of north/south highway and during those
13 early days in March, there were troops from many, many
14 units detailed out moving along that highway, so the
15 potential for exposure of people who may or may not
16 have been there over the days around Khamisiyah has to
17 be viewed as much greater than just the 20,000. And
18 again, through the questionnaire approach we're trying
19 to get a better handle on that.
20 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Do you have a rough
21 figure of how many troops were actually detailed to
22 the demolition activity and spent a few days right
1 there doing the work?
2 MS. DEE MORRIS: Yes, sir, we do. Talking
3 to the folks who were actually there, the numbers that
4 were developed was somewhere between 300 and 350
5 people split between the 37th engineers, the 307th
6 engineers and the 60th EOD. There were also a couple
7 of other units that were in the area in much smaller
8 numbers and we've identified those but talking to the
9 leadership of those units, 300 to 350 is their
10 estimate as to how many people were physically there.
11 The remainder of the folks from the 37th
12 in fact had retrogrades to Saudi Arabia and were
13 preparing to redeploy home. Some of this had also
14 occurred with th 307th but the 307th was also
15 operating at other installations in the area.
16 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: I wonder if it would
17 be possible to build off that sort of information and
18 come up with a relatively small group of people and
19 really subject them to the sort of intense testing
20 that one needs to pick up subtle effect, clinical
21 effects as was done, you'll recall, with the Ranch
22 Hand folks in Vietnam who were actually involved in
1 spraying the Agent Orange from the aircraft.
2 DR. ROSTKER: There has -- Doctor Joseph's
3 people have done some work on that in terms of the
4 CCEP and there was almost -- for the immediate around
5 Khamisiyah there was almost no difference to the
6 decimal point of participation in the health
7 registries, the DOD health registry, vis-a-vis, what
8 one would have expected of the rest of the division
9 compared to those who were at the pit or at the bunker
10 on the days of the explosion, but as you heard this
11 morning, we now believe there are two explosions.
12 All of that has to be redone again to see
13 what can be found and I'm very concerned that we do it
14 with the full set of both registries and not just with
15 a registry that represents only some 25 to 30 percent
16 of the total. Moreover, I don't think that's a random
17 25 or 30 percent because we're talking about people
18 who six years later are still within the DOD family
19 versus those who would have gotten out, so that we
20 need to make sure we capture the best population we
21 can. But I agree with you, we will look at that as a
22 priority and again, work with your staff to make sure
1 you have full access to it.
2 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: I think it's
3 reassuring at a first level of analysis to know that
4 those folks haven't come forward in greater numbers.
5 That's good but at the same time that is, after all,
6 in essence a passive system and what I'm talking about
7 now and I think you are, too, is more active or
8 proactive --
9 DR. ROSTKER: One of the issues that is
10 before my group and we will report out is concerns
11 about just general epidemiology and baseline
12 populations and the like and as you know, how
13 difficult that has been. One of the things we're
14 going to have to do when we get to the environment is
15 become much more proactive to understand other things
16 and we can explore opportunities to do that.
17 We can't obviously force people to take
18 physical exams who don't want to. In the CCEP we have
19 already in a sense violated what a pure academic study
20 would want us to do because we've gone out and beat
21 the bushes and encouraged people to come in, including
22 the Khamisiyah announcements in October, which created
1 a flood of people who were concerned. So, again, our
2 interests here are not to create a sterile population
3 for an academic study but to encourage people who may
4 have any health concern to come into the registries
5 and be assessed.
6 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: If it makes you feel
7 any better, if it's any source of comfort, I'm an
8 academic and when I'm pursuing a group whom I think is
9 at high risk, I leave no stone unturned. We give them
10 cab fare. We give them subway tokens. We get them
11 into the hospital.
12 DR. ROSTKER: Exactly, exactly.
13 MS. KNOX: I just have a comment there.
14 I think that the presumptive period that the President
15 just listed, the 10-year period, will extend that. I
16 think the fault of the CCEP is that it didn't start
17 until 1994 and the forces were downsized tremendously
18 so you either downsize many of the people that were
19 effected or you put out because their health was not
20 good, they were either discharged early from the
21 military before the CCEP even began.
22 DR. ROSTKER: And you're making exactly
1 the point I've made, that we should not be doing
2 separate analysis on the CCEP. It is not a random
3 sample of the larger population and that's why we're
4 working with the Department of Veterans Affairs to try
5 to do our future analysis on a combined data base to
6 be able to capture that because as you know, the
7 Department of Veterans Affairs' registry was a year or
8 so earlier than the DOD registry, but your point is
9 exactly right.
10 MR. TURNER: Doctor Rostker, the 50
11 kilometer estimate that DOD is using is obviously a
12 lot smaller than the 275 kilometer downwind plume that
13 has been generated by some modeling efforts. Could
14 you tell the Committee what the status is of your
15 office's efforts to do troop locations and get some
16 handle on the size of potential exposure that would be
17 in that footprint?
18 DR. ROSTKER: Well, the first effort has
19 to do with the footprint itself and that has to do
20 with the CIA and IDA's attempt to get a better
21 estimate. I would comment that I think it's very
22 important that we get good estimates. We don't want
1 to scare people. I was very concerned when we put out
2 the first Khamisiyah announcement that we would, in
3 fact, scare people and we did, and I think it was very
5 So I think a little time and effort to
6 make sure that we're not saying things that might be
7 misconstrued by the public and our veterans is very,
8 very important. The quality of the units within the
9 50 kilometers is, frankly, what it is based upon a
10 bottom up approach. We have -- one of the division
11 commanders was somewhat critical indicating that he
12 had units that he believed were closer to Khamisiyah
13 and referred us back to his division journals. When
14 we went back to the division journals it provided no
15 more information than we previously had, but it did
16 raise the issue of pulling together the operations,
17 senior operations officers from the units around
18 Khamisiyah and see if we could get a better tracing of
19 what might have -- where units might have been that
20 were not captured in the bottom up approach and we're
21 working with the Army to do that over the next short
22 period, month or so.
1 It takes a bit of planning to pull a
2 conference like that together but we're committed to
3 do that.
4 MS. KNOX: But that would be the
5 commanders for how big a radius or --
6 DR. ROSTKER: We haven't set it but I
7 think all of the commanders in that sector of not just
8 limited to 50 kilometers. We want to capture -- we're
9 going to get a conference like that, we'll capture the
10 commanders that are in the Iraqi, northern Kuwait
11 sector who possibly could have been exposed. We're
12 interested --
13 MS. NISHIMI: So the commanders within the
14 275 conceivably.
15 DR. ROSTKER: I hadn't set a point but if
16 we're going to do it, we'll do it right and bring in
17 all of the commanders that possibly could have been
18 exposed. We want to get the best data base that we
19 possibly can.
20 MR. CROSS: Do you have a slide of troop
21 locations today?
22 DR. ROSTKER: We can get you one. I've
1 seen it. We call it the measle slide because it looks
2 like a bunch of dots and we'll make that available to
3 the Committee.
4 MR. CROSS: Okay.
5 DR. ROSTKER: The output of that -- let me
6 say, the output of that was contained in the original
7 Khamisiyah message and is contained in the Khamisiyah
8 narrative. One always has the concern of what level
9 do you report; at the company level, at the battalion
10 level, at the brigade level and so we've reported at
11 the higher echelons but the list of the parent units
12 is well-known, was published with the original
13 Khamisiyah message and is contained in the Khamisiyah
15 MR. TURNER: Doctor Rostker, I think we
16 all understand the overwhelming need for precision and
17 trying to nail things down as accurately as you can.
18 Can you give some order of magnitude feel to the
19 Committee of what the difference is between a 50-
20 kilometer zone and a 200-kilometer zone?
21 DR. ROSTKER: I really can't, Jim. I have
22 not sat down and plotted that. Moreover, we went,
1 because of the imprecision in the wind patterns at the
2 time we went with a radius around Khamisiyah and so
3 I'm not sure what that might look like.
4 MR. TURNER: When do you think you'll be
5 in a position to give that kind of again order of
6 magnitude? I understand the precision is difficult to
8 DR. ROSTKER: Well, let me go back and
9 just look at the data. The problem becomes, and I'll
10 be happy to share this with the PAC, but again, your
11 admonishment to be concerned with risk communication
12 is exactly right and I would hate to scare people in
13 saying, "You were potentially under a plume". Moreover
14 the important thing, if you really look at the
15 Khamisiyah message the letter, it says, "If you have
16 a health concern, please come and be evaluated".
17 I want to extend that invitation again and
18 again to anyone in the theater who has a health
19 concern. And so I don't want to overly scare people
20 but if anyone has a concern for their health, the
21 facilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs and
22 the Department of Defense are fully open to those
1 individuals. These are very extensive physical
2 examinations as you know. The efficacy of the
3 examination given the potential of chemical exposure
4 from Khamisiyah is being reviewed by the Institute of
5 Medicine. We're prepared to change it if that's
7 So the prize of being near or at
8 Khamisiyah is a letter which says, "Please come to
9 DOD", and we extend that invitation and encourage
10 people to do that.
11 MS. KNOX: Doctor Rostker, I mean, I can
12 certainly appreciate the need to be attentive to risk
13 communication because certainly this Committee's
14 recommendations on that is very clear. What I'm not
15 hearing is I think as much emphasis to balance that
16 against the perception that the Department of
17 Defense's credibility is shot and you must be
18 sensitive, I think, I'm sure you are, to the notion
19 that the time that is taken to conduct this modeling
20 and move forward with a new assessment of the number
21 of troops who were possibly exposed, just serves to
22 undermine the credibility to a point where it may not
1 matter how you communicate any risk.
2 DR. ROSTKER: You know, I think we'll have
3 to live with some of that. The first we've put in
4 place an orderly process to get to the issue of what
5 the fallout has been. You've heard today the issue
6 discussed by both the CIA and IDA. Let me assure you
7 that DOD is fully behind that. We will expedite the
8 ground truth test the CIA has asked for. We have made
9 all of our resources available to IDA. You asked a
10 question of is this going to fall through the cracks?
11 Who will do the modeling?
12 I can assure you the modeling will be done
13 in a forthright way, quickly with your full oversight
14 as we have done over the last few months. So we would
15 like to get to that as soon as we possibly can. I'm
16 reluctant to simply publish troops that were within 50
17 or 75 or 200 kilometers if there's no basis for
18 publishing that in terms of exposure.
19 MS. KNOX: What's your reluctancy about
21 DR. ROSTKER: I think it scares people.
22 MS. KNOX: I think people are already
1 scared. I think, as Mr. Walpole said earlier, and I
2 think he slipped and said, you know, the government's
3 interest and then the public's interest and I think in
4 your meeting, talking about risk communication in your
5 meetings with the staff, apparently Ms. Davis was
6 quoted as saying that if you use the maximum amount of
7 troops located in that distance of 275 kilometers,
8 that you would be concerned about compensation.
9 DR. ROSTKER: No, I -- let me -- the
10 President has been very clear of the extension of the
11 presumption. The presumptive period is very clear.
12 This is not an issue about compensation. As I think
13 you understand, in this country we do not compensate
14 for exposure. We compensate for illness and if
15 somebody is ill, they will be compensated for
16 regardless if they were near Khamisiyah or not near
17 Khamisiyah. As long as they were a veteran of the
18 Gulf, as long as a manifestation of their illness
19 occurs now within a 10-year period, they are eligible
20 for compensation. There is nothing that we are doing
21 concerning Khamisiyah that relates to the issue of
1 MS. KNOX: Well, if that's true then you
2 shouldn't be reluctant about publishing who may have
3 been exposed and who isn't.
4 DR. ROSTKER: But you said "who may have
5 been exposed". We believe that a reasonable approach
6 was 50 kilometers. Let's look at the health data
7 which will extend past 50 kilometers. Let's look at
8 the analysis that will be provided through the works
9 of our colleagues at IDA and at CIA to get to exactly
10 the issue you said; who may have been exposed.
11 The fact that you within 275 kilometers of
12 Khamisiyah does not necessarily at this point talk to
13 the exposure issue. I want to do just what you said,
14 get the best information about who may have been
15 exposed, but there's too much uncertainty to -- I
16 think, to go around scaring people on arbitrary
17 numbers. Why 270 kilometers, why not the entire
18 theater? In fact, the entire theater is under notice
19 that if they are concerned about their health, we
20 welcome their participation in one of the health
22 MR. CROSS: We're back to the same
1 discussion we had before, a best and worst case
2 scenario. I think the best case scenario is troops
3 within a 50-kilometer radius were exposed but the
4 worst case scenario, I think you have to go out
5 further than that and maybe it is 250 kilometers?
6 DR. ROSTKER: Well, why 250? What basis
7 is the 250?
8 MS. KNOX: Those were the numbers that IDA
9 presented. I mean, that's what we're basing that on,
10 on their data, not ours.
11 MR. CROSS: Your office has been aware of
12 that model.
13 DR. BROWN: Doctor Rostker, you say you're
14 concerned about frightening the veterans and you say
15 you want to use good risk assessment and I guess the
16 first thing that jumps into my mind when you say those
17 words is to do that you would go ahead and tell
18 veterans who -- our best information that we have now,
19 who was exposed, who we think might have been exposed
20 and then you reassure them. The risk communication
21 part comes when you tell people what do we know about
22 the medial effects of those types of exposures which
1 we have a substantial amount of information.
2 DR. ROSTKER: We have now gone from a
3 presumption of exposure from a point of where were
4 people relative to a geographic point. It is no great
5 secret where the units were. People know where the
6 units -- what units they were assigned to. And that's
7 -- you know, that's a matter of data. Now you've
8 drawn the conclusion about presumption of exposure and
9 I'm concerned about people drawing that conclusion.
10 It's not a big deal to say we're -- what we believe
11 the location of units were on the 4th of March.
12 DR. BROWN: I guess the thing I hear, I
13 think, some of our Committee members and some staff I
14 know are a little bit surprised at is this idea that,
15 you know, the fear of making veterans afraid of what
16 happened is a driving force here. I think as
17 Marguerite said, you're running a bigger risk of
18 making people more afraid by the slowness by which
19 this is coming out. If I were a veteran, that would
20 frighten me more than --
21 DR. ROSTKER: You've heard the witnesses
22 this morning talk about the uncertainty in the process
1 we're going through. I can't do more than say that
2 we're fully cooperating. We will expedite that. We
3 will provide the funds necessary to do the ground
4 troops. We will provide the facilities. We are not
5 waiting until the summer or October. We hope to do
6 that as fast as a legitimate test can be put forward.
7 We're trying to move this as forward as possible.
8 We've taken the steps of bringing the
9 health data in now so we don't do things serially.
10 That we do things as simultaneously as we possibly
11 can. We'll be analyzing the health data to -- the
12 distance around Khamisiyah. We welcome your
13 participation in that analysis. We'll be happy to
14 bring any rings and do any analysis you'd like us to
15 do to see if we can ferret out any health patterns
16 within that. I think that's all very constructive and
17 gets to, I think, the issues that you would like us to
19 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Sometimes it's
20 something we all know from medicine that curing
21 uncertainty is very helpful. Yeah, one last question.
22 MR. BALDESCHUIELER: Can I ask what
1 exposure levels of say atmospheric concentrations that
2 you assume -- to draw any particular contour, say a
3 50-kilometer contour, you must assume something about
4 both the concentration and the time of exposure. What
5 are the numbers that you use?
6 DR. ROSTKER: What we did was to take the
7 very preliminary work that the CIA had done through
8 the summer and frankly double the distance and extend
9 the wind vector to 360 degrees. It was arbitrary. It
10 took all of the uncertainty that CIA had and just
11 simply said, we'll arbitrarily double it and since the
12 wind is the big factor that at that point we will not
13 be constrained by the wind and we will go in all
15 But I must say again that that led to a
16 letter in which it simply said, "Please come in and
17 have a health exam if you have any concerns".
18 MR. BALDESCHUIELER: You're not quite on
19 my question here.
20 DR. ROSTKER: Okay, all right.
21 MR. BALDESCHUIELER: What I wonder is how
22 do you see the minimum concentration for drawing the
2 DR. ROSTKER: We didn't do that.
3 MR. BALDESCHUIELER: But then the contour
4 becomes infinity, doesn't it?
5 DR. ROSTKER: It was an arbitrary contour
6 based upon the very preliminary work the CIA did times
7 two and going in all directions.
8 MR. BALDESCHUIELER: But there must have
9 been some threshold exposure.
10 DR. ROSTKER: It was again, very
11 preliminary and it was a swag. We did exactly what I
12 think your chairman has asked us to do and not be tied
13 down to precision and took a best guess to start the
14 process. We saw it as only an interim and we wanted
15 to encourage those who were closest to come in. It
16 gives us a start on the analysis. It has nothing to
17 do with compensation. It just gives us a start.
18 We followed up with questionnaires to
19 those people.
20 MR. BALDESCHUIELER: So neither the of the
21 50 kilometers or the 275 kilometers is based on
22 exposure threshold?
1 DR. ROSTKER: No, it's at this point
2 totally arbitrary.
3 MR. TURNER: My understanding was that the
4 25-kilometer footprint was based on a general
5 population exposure level as was the 275 kilometer
6 downwind hazard from the pit. Is that not correct?
7 DR. ROSTKER: But let me point out as the
8 CIA has pointed out before this morning, that these
9 were very preliminary numbers.
10 MR. TURNER: The answer is yes, isn't it?
11 DR. ROSTKER: No, Jim, let me finish.
12 That these were very preliminary numbers that the CIA,
13 when it came to publishing stood back and said, "No,
14 we have no confidence in these numbers". Now, that's
15 why --
16 MS. GWIN: Actually, CIA published the
17 plume at Bunker 73 in August. So there is a basis.
18 DR. ROSTKER: For the pit?
19 MS. GWIN: Yeah -- no, for the Bunker 73.
20 DR. ROSTKER: Oh, Bunker 73, oh, I'm
21 sorry, Bunker 73, right, right, Bunker 73.
22 MR. TURNER: That was a general population
1 exposure level that was modeled to there.
2 DR. ROSTKER: I'm sorry, that's right.
3 MR. TURNER: My understanding is the 275
4 kilometer model reflects that same level. Is that
5 your understanding?
6 DR. ROSTKER: At the bunker.
7 MR. TURNER: Right.
8 DR. ROSTKER: Yes.
9 MR. TURNER: Okay, thank you.
10 MR. CROSS: Based on, you mentioned
11 preliminary, you also mentioned the word interim. Are
12 we at a point now where maybe we can make a
13 determination that the 50-mile radius is not going to
14 be adequate enough and maybe we should rethink and
15 extend that, you know, use the basis of the military
16 chemical downwind exposure rates that they have. Is
17 there something else we can look at here?
18 I'm just -- my only concern is that 50-
19 mile radius, if you draw that line in the sand, we
20 might miss that at the 55-mile radius that's where,
21 you know, a preponderance of illnesses start to appear
22 and we're going to miss that. And then at that point,
1 when we determine that, we have to start all over
2 again and start looking further out.
3 DR. ROSTKER: Let me say that in terms of
4 the epidemiological work, in terms of units and
5 distance, we're not stopping at 50 kilometers. In
6 terms of pulling the data bases together, the CCEP and
7 the Department of Veterans Affairs data base, we're
8 not stopping at 50 kilometers. Fifty kilometers was
9 only significant in terms of who got a letter in
10 October and who got a questionnaire in January.
11 MR. CROSS: And that was how many, 20,000?
12 DR. ROSTKER: Twenty thousand
13 questionnaires and as I indicated, only about 25
14 percent of those have been returned.
15 MR. CROSS: Okay, now if we just take a
16 look at scientific review, send out 20,000
17 questionnaires and you can extrapolate you're going to
18 get a certain percentage to come back. Does that make
19 it a valid study?
20 DR. ROSTKER: If I might, 25 percent is a
21 pretty low return rate for this kind. We were hoping
22 to have substantially greater and you get into the
1 issue of response bias. We haven't analyzed it. My
2 hypothesis would be that there is substantial response
3 bias. We'll be able to look at that in terms of
4 participation and non-participation in the CCEP but I
5 suspect, again my hypothesis, that those who return
6 the questionnaire will be those who feel that they
7 have a health problem which then creates an unknown
8 capability to analyze it.
9 That's why for the epidemiological work
10 we're merely not emphasizing that questionnaire but
11 the full CCEP Department of Veterans Affairs
12 participation in their registries and we're looking at
13 that both before and after the Khamisiyah
14 announcement. And that, as I said, is in no way
15 restricted to a 50-kilometer radius. We're very
16 careful. That will be out to the whole theater in
17 looking for whatever patterns that may develop. We
18 have divided the 360 degrees into quadrants so that
19 we're looking for epidemiological trends in vectors or
20 in patches so that we could see any local catchment,
21 all of that subject to the quality of the underlying
22 data which unfortunately we're not very sanguine
2 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: That was the basis,
3 Tom, for my notion that there may be some virtue in a
4 highly focused study on the 1,000 or the 2,000 people
5 that were --
6 DR. ROSTKER: Exactly, and we will do
8 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: -- in the middle.
9 It's not to dismiss the idea that there may be
10 problems further out but it's an old axiom that the
11 dose makes the poison and the dose was probably --
12 with all due respect to the modeling, the dose was
13 probably most intense close to ground zero.
14 DR. ROSTKER: Exactly and by working in
15 quadrants, you don't have to -- you can test the
16 hypothesis of wind vectors and patterns. So it's not
17 just in a ring in all directions but in segments that
18 will allow us to have a much finer accounting and then
19 we'll use appropriate statistical techniques to see if
20 we can find any of the cells in which there is a
21 higher prevalence of participation and then see if
22 that could possibly relate to any wind patterns.
1 All of that has to be done and we're not
2 waiting for the plume analysis and that's -- that
3 becomes part of the whole picture.
4 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: One or two question
5 down here and then we're going to kind of wrap it up.
7 MS. GWIN: I have a questions, Doctor
8 Rostker. A few weeks ago we asked your office for
9 some information about interviews that you had
10 conducted with veterans from Khamisiyah and other
11 places so that we could do some independent follow-up
12 on that.
13 DR. ROSTKER: Right.
14 MS. GWIN: And what we got back from your
15 office were sheets of paper so heavily redacted that
16 it makes it impossible for us to do any kind of
17 independent follow-up. What kind of sense does that
18 make if you're supposed to be cooperating?
19 DR. ROSTKER: We work under the provisions
20 of the Privacy Act. I understand that you have a
21 legal construct which would, for this purpose, include
22 you as part of the Defense Department. If that
1 construct is acceptable to the DOD general counsel, we
2 would certainly support that. I'm trying to get you
3 the most information you possibly can have consistent
4 with the law and I understand your frustration and we
5 will work with you to try to eliminate that problem
6 and give you the full access consistent with the law.
7 MS. GWIN: Part of the frustration is that
8 your office went through this procedure of redacting
9 the documents without even consulting counsel's office
10 as I understand it. That it was not until we objected
11 that you bothered to get an opinion on that.
12 DR. ROSTKER: We had actually gone through
13 this issue of redaction when we were preparing the
14 Khamisiyah narrative.
15 MS. NISHIMI: That's a document that's
16 being released to the public, not a document that's
17 being released to us.
18 DR. ROSTKER: I understand but the
19 provisions of the Privacy Act as you, I believe know,
20 require in the initial part to indicate who in the
21 government is going to get it and just because you're
22 in the government doesn't mean that you can get it.
1 We've had this in terms of some information that the
2 Department of Veterans Affairs is legally obliged not
3 to share with us and this has been a long term --
4 MS. GWIN: But we're not talking about
5 medical records here and we are an authorized
7 DR. ROSTKER: Let me assure you that we
8 will work with you to get -- find a legal construct.
9 If one can be made to exist, we will support it. I
10 want you to have that information I agree that it
11 would be important to audit our activities by calling
12 and checking on the efficacy of our case files. I
13 completely support that and if we can possibly make
14 that information available to you, we will make that
15 available to you.
16 MR. TURNER: Doctor Rostker, it's just
17 astonishing to me, I've practiced law for many years,
18 to see this kind of interpretation of the Privacy Act.
19 This Committee is acting and working at the direction
20 of your commander and chief and you are withholding
21 relevant information. That's not cooperation --
22 DR. ROSTKER: I --
1 MR. TURNER: -- that's obstruction.
2 DR. ROSTKER: I have said that I will work
3 with you to -- and the DOD general counsel to provide
4 that information to you if I legally can provide it
5 and I completely concur that you should have that
6 information and subject to the interpretation that
7 I've been given by counsel, I will provide that to you
8 and if we can find a -- and I believe we can find a
9 construct to handle that, we will do that.
10 MS. KNOX: I'm sure the President will
11 appreciate that, Doctor Rostker.
12 DR. ROSTKER: I agree that it should be
13 made available to you if I possibly can make it
14 available to you and I think we can work something out
15 where you can have full information.
16 DR. CASSELLS: Doctor Rostker, in medicine
17 we're frequently forced to draw conclusions based on
18 probabilities rather than possibilities because you
19 could be paralyzed otherwise. In your remarks you
20 indicated that the review of risk factors that the
21 RAND Corporation was undertaking would not necessarily
22 lead to the drawing of conclusions but just what does
1 the science say and in our briefing at IAD we were
2 told that their case narratives likewise would not
3 draw conclusions but at some point, conclusions have
4 to be drawn.
5 Now, who will do that and when do you
6 think that can be done?
7 DR. ROSTKER: I want to see what the data
8 looks like and quality of the -- of the data, just as
9 we said in terms of the plume. I don't want to charge
10 -- I want the medical reviews to be as objective as
11 possible. And on the basis of that, we will do the
12 best job we can to draw conclusions or to point to
14 And I -- you know, medical science may
15 have to do it, but I -- you know, just look at any
16 medical journal and they deal with uncertainty also
17 and not necessarily with definitive statements. To
18 the extent that we can make a definitive statement, we
19 certainly would like to, but it is important that we
20 try to get as objective treatment as possible and I
21 don't want to turn researchers loose and tell them
22 their job is to come to a conclusion when I believe
1 their job should be to present the data as objectively
2 as possible.
3 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Maybe I can make a
4 definitive statement at this point that it's about
5 lunch time. So I'd like to thank Doctor Rostker for
6 your testimony. We'll invite Ms. Davis and Colonel
7 Morris to come back after lunch.
8 I've got about seven minutes after 12:00.
9 If we could ask people to be here by 1:00, I realize
10 that's a slightly short hour but if we could shoot for
11 that it would expedient the afternoon. Some people
12 have flights back to the East. So thanks very much
14 DR. ROSTKER: My pleasure, sir.
15 (Whereupon, at 12:07 p.m. the above-
16 entitled matter recessed, to reconvene at 1:00 p.m.
17 the same day.)
1 A-F-T-E-R-N-O-O-N S-E-S-S-I-O-N
2 (1:18 p.m.)
3 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: My apologies to those
4 who were here on time. We just got involved in
5 getting lunch. So let's continue with the afternoon
6 schedule and Ms. Davis, are you going to go first?
7 DR. ROSTKER: If I might make --
8 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Please, sorry.
9 DR. ROSTKER: An issue was raised this
10 morning about the position time data base around the
11 Khamisiyah events. Unless there is some
12 classification reason or something that I don't
13 understand, I'm prepared to make the entire theater-
14 wide data base for those days available to the PAC and
15 to the public.
16 MS. GWIN: Very good.
17 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Yeah, thank you very
18 much. Thank you. That's good. All right, Ms. Davis,
19 please introduce yourself and carry on.
20 MS. DAVIS: Thank you, Doctor Landrigan.
21 Members of the Committee and staff, I am Anne Rathmell
22 Davis, Director of the Investigation and Analysis
1 Directorate. Is my mike where it needs to be for
2 everybody to hear me or does it need to be closer?
3 You requested that I appear here today to
4 provide a briefing on the staffing and general
5 methodology of my office and on the status of cases
6 currently under investigation. Under Doctor Rostker's
7 leadership, as he noted, there have been fundamental
8 changes in the way my organization functions. How we
9 are organized, the structure and methodology of the
10 investigations and the development of case narratives
11 all result from these changes.
12 I appreciate the opportunity to explain
13 those changes to you today. As Doctor Rostker has
14 already mentioned in his brief, the Investigation and
15 Analysis Directorate or the IAD is one of the elements
16 within the Office of the Special Assistant to the
17 Deputy Secretary of Defense for Gulf War Illnesses.
18 The IAD comprises the largest element of the Office of
19 the Special Assistant presently staffed with 62 people
20 directly supporting the investigative and analytical
22 The mission of the IAD is to perform an
1 operational review of the event surrounding the Gulf
2 War, that is to identify what happened before, during
3 and after the war and to assess how events and issues
4 relate to potential causes of illnesses and to the
5 need for future changes in equipment, policy and
7 As I noted to your staff when we met in
8 mid-February, one of the first tasks I had to grapple
9 with upon assuming leadership of the IAD on the 18th
10 of January was what would be an appropriate
11 organization to accomplish the mission with which we
12 had been tasked.
13 While the bulk of the work that had been
14 done by the Persian Gulf Illnesses Investigation Team,
15 the IAD's predecessor organization related to possible
16 chemical exposures, it was clear that there were many
17 other theories of Gulf War illnesses that required a
18 thorough operational review in order to put them into
19 context both for medical research purposes and for the
20 veterans and the American public.
21 Further, I was concerned that the
22 organization be flexible and efficient as possible
1 while allowing for cross fertilization of knowledge
2 and ideas. As a result of my review of the issues
3 which needed to be studied, I determined that the most
4 effective organization was one that was task organized
5 into subject matter teams. We also needed to insure
6 that appropriate levels of support and veterans' input
7 were provided to the individual investigation teams
8 and so have additional teams task organized for those
10 The directorate is a combined government/
11 contractor team. At present there are only a few
12 government billets although we're looking to obtain
13 others to insure we have the appropriate skills
14 represented on the team.
15 We are also looking into the possibility
16 of adding activated reservists to the team not only
17 for the specialized skills they bring but also to
18 insure that we fully understand the reserve culture
19 that plays such a part in the lives of the veterans
20 who have been effected by their Gulf War experience.
21 Our use of contractors to provide the
22 primary analytical support to the directorate insures
1 that we have ready access to particular types of
2 background and experience and that we can easily
3 adjust the size and composition of the IAD as needed
4 for the variety of ongoing investigative and
5 analytical efforts. The investigations we are
6 conducting require people with the expertise and
7 knowledge to reconstruct and understand battlefield
9 My team consists of people who are trained
10 and experienced in such areas as chemical weapons,
11 intelligence, operational research, policy and
12 doctrine, preventive medicine, medical planning and
13 command control and communications. I note that
14 approximately 75 percent of the IAD personnel are
15 veterans of all branches of the services.
16 In the slides which follow I've outlined
17 the current staffing and responsibilities of the IAD
18 teams as they are presenting configured. At present
19 our support assets generally support the investigation
20 teams, without specific identification with any one
21 team. I envision that most of the computer search
22 analysts ultimately will be assigned to each of the
1 three investigation teams so as to become thoroughly
2 familiar with and will fully contribute to the ongoing
4 The Special Projects Preliminary Analysis
5 Team has a number of responsibilities which are
6 fundamental to the achievement of the IAD mission.
7 While we have several analysts who are primarily
8 responsible for continuous review of the issues we are
9 monitoring to determine whether sufficient information
10 is available to establish a case, this team also is
11 instrumental in our coordination with other parts of
12 the Federal Government and their ongoing efforts
13 relating to Gulf War illnesses.
14 Our intelligence analysts meet regularly
15 with the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense
16 Intelligence Agency to share information and to
17 identify new avenues of investigation. This team also
18 helps monitor and coordinate exchange of information
19 with efforts such as the several declassification
20 efforts, the intelligence oversight study, the Army
21 Inspector General inquiry, the DOD Inspector General
22 investigation and the recently formed CIA task force.
1 In addition to coordinating regularly with these
2 studies, the IAD has also provided an analyst to the
3 CIA task force.
4 Not surprisingly the Chemical and
5 Biological Warfare Agents Team is presently the
6 largest team within the IAD with the most number of
7 cases under investigation. We are just beginning to
8 stand up the Environmental and Exposures Team,
9 reviewing and revalidating the issues which the team
10 must study and identifying the resources which will be
11 necessary to accomplish these investigations. I would
12 anticipate that the manning of this team will increase
13 steadily over the next few months.
14 The Medical Planning Issues Team is in the
15 process of definition. One of the key issues for this
16 team is to determine what operational review is
17 necessary and appropriate to support the many medical
18 research efforts ongoing both inside and outside of
19 the Department of Defense. As the investigations
20 relevant to these issues are defined, the team will be
21 staffed appropriately.
22 The Veterans Data Management Team is
1 central to our investigations. This team works
2 practically around the clock, calling veterans to
3 obtain their Gulf War recollections and insights. The
4 contact managers on the team attempt to contact not
5 only those veterans who have called the 1-800 number
6 but also those veterans who have been identified by
7 the investigation teams as possibly having information
8 that it would inform our investigations and analyses.
9 An effort which has just commenced is the
10 call back of the veterans who responded on the survey
11 relating to Khamisiyah that they had additional
12 information about events at Khamisiyah. This survey
13 was sent to approximately 21,000 veterans identified
14 as being with units in the vicinity of Khamisiyah at
15 the time of the weapons demolition in March of '91.
16 The purpose of the survey and of the calls to those
17 responding to the survey is to obtain information to
18 further the investigation of what actually happened at
20 Shifting from the staffing of the
21 directorate to the methodology employed in our
22 investigations, as Doctor Rostker mentioned in his
1 brief, the investigations are organized by a case
2 management structure. Different types of data are
3 pursued to reveal as much as possible about what
4 happened regarding specific incidents, units or issues
5 which in turn are related to either potential causes
6 of illness or doctrinal questions.
7 As you may see from this slide, a key
8 element of each case to be investigated is what was
9 the Gulf War experience. That operational
10 investigation is the responsibility of the
11 Investigation and Analysis Directorate. Other aspects
12 of various cases are being studied by the RAND
13 Corporation and the Institute for Defense Analyses as
14 shown on this slide.
15 The cases are organized around the
16 potential causes of Gulf War illnesses. In general,
17 RAND is conducting medical literature reviews while
18 IDA is doing policy reviews.
19 The IAD will be doing some limited policy
20 reviews, mainly to put the operational reviews into
21 context. The medical review coordinator liaison
22 within the Special Projects Preliminary Analysis Team
1 will insure that our investigations are fully
2 coordinated with these efforts so that the results are
4 Cases are initiated by the identification
5 of a potential contributing factor to or cause of Gulf
6 War illnesses. Information may come from such sources
7 as previous investigations and analyses, eye witness
8 accounts and testimony to Congress. All cases undergo
9 a preliminary analysis to collect initial facts and
10 data and to determine the scope of the potential case.
11 Once the IAD has compiled preliminary information, the
12 case is reviewed.
13 If further study falls outside the IAD's
14 scope of responsibility such as a proposal for a long
15 term epidemiological study, the issue may be referred
16 to other more suitable experts for review or analysis.
17 If the issue is operational in nature and further
18 investigation is warranted, the case will be assigned
19 to an IAD investigation team.
20 One it has been determined that a case is
21 properly an IAD case, it will be assigned to a subject
22 matter team such as the Chemical or Environmental Team
1 and then to a case manager, who is responsible for
2 managing the investigation supported by a team of
3 analysts with particular expertise. The case manager
4 will develop an investigative strategy which focuses
5 the operational review and investigation plan to
6 outline the sources and methods which will be used to
7 research what happened, such as telephonic interviews
8 of key personnel, personal visits and interviews and
9 document research.
10 Of necessity, this investigation plan will
11 be dynamic since it may change as new and additional
12 information becomes known. At the present time the
13 IAD has available almost a million pages of documents
14 for operational research. As much as possible, we are
15 trying to use original source documents in our
16 investigations rather than the results of other
17 studies. As we pursue leads in our investigations, we
18 work with the various declassification efforts to
19 obtain additional records.
20 We are looking at battlefield
21 intelligence, unit logs and other original documents.
22 We are also asking the veterans that we interview to
1 share with us any logs, journals or photographs they
2 might have in addition to eye witness accounts to
3 further the investigative efforts. The product of
4 each investigation will be a case narrative which is
5 released to the public both in hard copy and on
7 These case narratives are a factual
8 statement of what we know based on information
9 gathered by the investigations. The source of each
10 fact is identified so the public can see why we are
11 saying what we are saying. We hope that the Gulflink
12 narratives will stimulate feedback from veterans and
13 other sources and so have structured the investigation
14 process as an interactive one.
15 Once the initial interim case narrative
16 has been released, the case will remain open pending
17 receipt of additional information to further the
18 investigation. Revised narratives are expected to be
19 released as new information is available.
20 Finally, you requested the status of cases
21 under investigation. There are currently 61 cases in
22 some phase of investigation by the Investigation and
1 Analysis Directorate. This slide displays the 25
2 cases which fall under the purview of the Chemical and
3 Biological Warfare Agents Team. These cases consist
4 mainly of the investigation of suspected or reported
5 chemical detections. One interim report, the
6 Khamisiyah case narrative, has been issued and one
7 case has been transferred to the DOD Inspector General
8 for further investigation.
9 We have four cases with reports in
10 progress and in the process of having the research
11 reviewed. I anticipate releasing the Camp Monterey
12 case narrative within the next month with the other
13 three to follow soon thereafter.
14 The cases shown under data collection
15 analysis are in various stages of investigation and
16 analysis ranging from active data collection to
17 analysis of collected data to determine what
18 additional investigation is required. The five cases
19 being validated are depicted in this way to indicate
20 that the Chemical Team is reviewing these cases to
21 determine both whether they are properly IAD cases and
22 whether they are cases which should fall under the
1 cognizance of one of the other investigation teams.
2 A good example in this regard is the dead
3 animals case which might more properly be handled by
4 the Environmental Team rather than the Chemical Team.
5 The cases being monitored label is applied to those
6 cases which have been identified as warning
7 investigation but which have not yet been fully
9 The Environmental and Occupational
10 Exposures Team is currently assigned these 11 cases,
11 most of which relate to the conditions under which
12 Gulf War veterans lived and worked. As I mentioned
13 earlier, this team is in the process of organizing
14 now, so the cases undergoing data collection and
15 analysis are in the very early stages. Three cases
16 are undergoing validation.
17 These cases had been researched by the
18 Persian Gulf Illness Investigation Team but we need to
19 review what has been done to determine whether the
20 appropriate operational review has been conducted.
21 Again, we show cases being monitored which still need
22 to have their scope defined.
1 These are the seven cases which the
2 Medical Planning Issues Team will be focusing on as it
3 stands up. I want to stress that the IAD will not be
4 doing medical research on any of these cases. Rather
5 the focus will be to determine what happened from a
6 medical planning and execution standpoint. Similar to
7 my comment regarding the cases being validated by the
8 Environmental Team, the Medical Planning Issues Team
9 will need to validate the work that has already been
10 done by the Persian Gulf Illnesses Investigation team
11 to see if further operational investigation is
13 In addition to the cases shown on those
14 three slides, the Preliminary Analysis Team is
15 actively monitoring 18 cases to determine whether
16 there is sufficient information to assign them to
17 teams. There are also a number of miscellaneous
18 medical theories which are the subject of both medical
19 review by the RAND Corporation and a number of medical
20 research studies.
21 The Investigation and Analysis Directorate
22 is committed to conduct extensive in-depth
1 investigations of what happened before, during and
2 after the war relating to potential causes of
3 illnesses and to the need for future changes in
4 equipment, policy and doctrine. We will conduct our
5 investigations through active data collection from
6 original sources where possible and we will keep the
7 public informed on everything we are doing, everything
8 we find, everything we know and everything we learned.
9 I'd like to end on a more personal note.
10 My dad is a World War II veteran, my brother was
11 killed in Vietnam. My husband retired recently after
12 21 years in the Marine Corps. I've spent the last 22
13 years working in one way or the other for the
14 Department of Defense, either as an active duty
15 Marine, as a reservist and as a civil servant. All of
16 us served our country because it was the right thing
17 to do but also because we really believed that the
18 United States Armed Forces embody fundamental values
19 like honor and integrity and loyalty.
20 I take doubts about whether the Department
21 of Defense is acting in good faith in Gulf War
22 illnesses very, very personally. This is not just a
1 job for me. Taking care of our own is something that
2 has been deeply ingrained in me by the Marine Corps
3 and by my family. You have my personal commitment
4 that my team will do everything they can to determine
5 what happened so that the Department of Defense can
6 take care of those who served in the war, who are
7 still on active duty and who will be serving in the
9 I'm prepared to answer any questions you
10 might have a this time.
11 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Thank you very much
12 for that fine testimony. I mean, I think speaking
13 personally from my side, you should understand that we
14 ask questions because we care.
15 MS. DAVIS: Of course.
16 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: And that's why we're
18 MS. DAVIS: Uh-huh.
19 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: So I'll turn to my
20 colleagues and open the floor.
21 MR. CROSS: I have a question. The RAND
22 Corporation reviews, when are they due to be released,
1 finalized and released?
2 MS. DAVIS: At this time their schedule
3 shows that they will have basically interim drafts
4 available for peer review towards the end of June of
5 this year and then working through the peer reviews
6 and subsequent revision, I think they are looking for
7 the finals towards the end of the year.
8 MR. LONGBRAKE: I think the Committee
9 would like to know at what point does the information
10 gathering stop, or not stop but become a case? When
11 does a file become a case? What warrants that?
12 MS. DAVIS: I wish I could give you a date
13 certain answer. At this point, as I think you all
14 know, we are in the process of standing up an
15 organization, laying in processes, defining what we
16 are doing, while we're still trying to produce things.
17 The notion, frankly, that I have and that we've shared
18 with the Preliminary Analysis Team is that when we
19 have sufficient understanding to fully understand what
20 the question is that we are trying to ask, the case
21 will be assigned to a team.
22 I would hope, and my plan is that we are
1 going to have regular weekly reviews of cases that are
2 being monitored for want of a better label, to
3 determine whether we're there yet. For instance,
4 there are a number of data, name and cases we are
5 identifying as wanting because in the 1-800 calls and
6 the call-backs to veterans, they've indicated, "Well,
7 I was some place and something happened and I don't
8 know what it was but this is -- you might want to look
9 into the events at a particular place".
10 Some of it has been a function of frankly,
11 staffing. It has only been within the last month that
12 we have applied three people to do nothing but look at
13 those cases and go through the documents that we have
14 available to see if there's enough there to make a
16 DR. ROSTKER: We're committed to give to
17 the American public and to you the cases as soon as we
18 possibly can. When we really run out of leads, when
19 we think we have the story as best and as reasonably
20 as we can present it, we'll make those public, as we
21 did in the Khamisiyah case. It was a great
22 frustrating to me in early December, for example, to
1 hear congressional testimony about events that we knew
2 something about and when I questioned where our
3 knowledge was, it was locked up in files and we hadn't
4 written a thing down.
5 And it was at that point that I said it
6 really is important that we get the story out for
7 ourselves. We will now know what we don't know until
8 we sit down and write it. And I think as any of --
9 talk about academics, that's the background I come
10 from. Until you sit down and start writing a paper,
11 you really don't know what you don't know and so the
12 Khamisiyah narrative is the example for us and
13 hopefully for you.
14 When we think we have a coherent story, we
15 run down the appropriate leads, we'll publish it
16 because we need your help and the help of the American
17 people to fill out that story. So we see a steady
18 flow of case narratives not completed, not the final
19 story but the interim report to stimulate a dialogue
20 with the American people on these important events.
21 MR. LONGBRAKE: How are those events, the
22 priorities determined? I mean, it's a large number of
1 cases and in all likelihood will grow at least a
2 little. How are you determining which cases are
3 tackled first?
4 MS. DAVIS: At this point certainly within
5 the cases that are presently assigned to the various
6 teams, the priorities have, for want of a better word,
7 have been given to us, Khamisiyah obviously being one
8 of the critical things that we had to take a look at.
9 Some of the cases are further along because, frankly,
10 they were much narrower in scope.
11 Of the remaining ones, it's a case of how
12 -- trying to work on as many of them at the same time
13 as we can, priority based more on what is -- what data
14 do we have available to us as opposed to this is more
15 important than that.
16 We think they're all important but in some
17 cases the information that we can get, that we can
18 find is not sufficient, as Doctor Rostker said, to
19 take it past a certain point. And so that's really
20 what's determining our priorities at this point.
21 MR. TURNER: Doctor Rostker, you've stated
22 before that you're staffing up to about 120. Is that
1 still the target?
2 DR. ROSTKER: Well, we've far exceeded the
4 MR. TURNER: So of the 120, if I
5 understood Ms. Davis' testimony about 19 are working
6 on CBW cases, chemical biological warfare cases?
7 MS. DAVIS: At the moment, that's correct.
8 MR. TURNER: At the moment. How many of
9 those are trained investigators? As you may remember,
10 our Committee was somewhat critical of the earlier
11 efforts of DOD for the lack of having people who like
12 Lieutenant Colonel Morris have conducted depositions
13 and done interviews in a professional context before.
14 How many of the 19 people that are assigned have that
15 kind of experience?
16 MS. DAVIS: As I mentioned in my
17 testimony, the investigations that we are conducting
18 are investigations basically of battlefield
19 operations. Yes, they involve, among other things,
20 talking to people, but they also involve a great deal
21 of document research, taking -- working with the other
22 communities within DOD and other agencies and the
1 people that we have available to us right now frankly
2 are all trained in all aspects of those sorts of
4 MR. TURNER: So is the answer none?
5 MS. DAVIS: No, the answer is all. The
6 answer is --
7 MR. TURNER: All of them have been -- have
8 conducted depositions and done interviews in an
9 adversarial kind of context before, have developed
10 witnesses? I mean, is that what you're testifying?
11 MS. DAVIS: Well, but we're not in the
12 process of conducting things in an adversarial
13 context, frankly. What we are about is looking into
14 operational records, talking to people who are our
15 peers and who have been where we have been and
16 frankly, yes, all of the people that I have are very
17 experienced in doing all those sorts of things.
18 MR. TURNER: All of your people are
19 trained investigators, all of those 19; is that what
20 you're saying?
21 MS. DAVIS: I would characterize all of my
22 people as trained investigators, yes.
1 MR. TURNER: What kind of experience have
2 they had before that leads you to say they're trained?
3 MS. DAVIS: As I noted, most of them have
4 spent time on active duty. Many of them are retired.
5 I've got extensive experience on my staff with people
6 who are involved in things like chemical weapons, who
7 understand not only the structure of the units and how
8 they work but also the training that the people who
9 work in them have gotten and so know how to speak that
10 language and talk to the folks.
11 I have people that have extensive
12 experience in intelligence and intelligence analysis
13 and everything from frankly electronics intelligence
14 and imagery to human intelligence. I have folks who
15 are extensively experienced in command control and
16 communications who understand how records were kept
17 and why they were kept and what the chain of command
18 is for finding those records.
19 The list, frankly, goes on and on and I
20 can provide you a list of the experiences.
21 MR. TURNER: All of those experiences are
22 very relevant to bringing expertise about the subject
1 matter. However, I still think that it's a legitimate
2 question that your effort ought to include the same
3 kind of expertise in interviewing individuals and
4 tracking down leads. If you cut off the investigation
5 when you have no more leads and you don't have people
6 who are well equipped to track down every lead and
7 know what they're doing, you're going to have a self-
8 defeating effort and we're going to be here in the
9 same place months from now.
10 DR. ROSTKER: We believe that we have the
11 people who can track down the leads because
12 understanding the subject matter is critical in
13 tracking down the leads. I would -- I think you had
14 a slip of the tongue, which I'd like to amplify. We
15 don't believe this is an adversarial relationship that
16 we have with the veterans, we have with the people who
17 were in the Gulf.
18 We believe it's a collegial relationship
19 in which we are gaining technical information or
20 understanding their experiences so we can portray what
21 happened in the Gulf. When it becomes necessary to go
22 beyond that, we have the resources throughout the
1 Department of Defense and in my own organization to do
2 that. I believed it was important to have a more
3 thorough account of the records as it pertained to the
4 chemical logs, so we changed our procedures and we put
5 people on that who had the requisite skills.
6 So the skills are available and are used
7 in an appropriate time, but this is not an adversarial
8 relationship that we're trying to foster with people
9 who were in the Gulf.
10 MR. TURNER: Of course not. I used
11 adversarial in the context of the kind of experience
12 that would equip one to be able to do interviews.
13 That was not my meaning whatsoever.
14 DR. ROSTKER: I think --
15 MR. TURNER: If I could just finish what
16 I was trying to say, Doctor Rostker. My point is,
17 that there is a different set of skills that is very
18 valuable in terms of digging and interviewing people
19 which I do not frankly see on the CBW team as you've
20 described it. I hope that there will be some
21 assurance in the future that we are not repeating the
22 same mistakes that happened with the Persian Gulf
1 Investigation Team.
2 DR. ROSTKER: Well, I would point out that
3 two leaders of the organization that are sitting to my
4 right are both lawyers.
5 MR. TURNER: I understand that.
6 DR. ROSTKER: And that provides an
7 oversight. You might, you know, lawyers, but it
8 provides an oversight in the way that you're talking
9 about. We don't want to make this into an adversarial
10 relationship. It is a collegial relationship in which
11 we're asking people to come forward and share with us
12 their experiences. We've been aggressive in trying to
13 link that to follow all the leads and I'm quite
14 confident that we have the supervisory functions well
15 in hand with all of the skills necessary and we are
16 backed up in critical areas, for example, by the DOD
17 IG and the Department of the Army IG.
18 So the Department of Defense has all of
19 the skills necessary and I believe the appropriate
20 supervision to do exactly what you want.
21 MR. TURNER: So to call on those skills,
22 you have to kick it to the Army IG or the DOD IG?
1 DR. ROSTKER: No, I indicated that the
2 leadership of the Investigative Directive is now
3 headed by two lawyers and I'm confident in their
4 ability to supervise their staff. Our emphasis has to
5 be on subject matter experts who have the requisite
6 knowledge to be able to communicate in a collegial
7 manner with those who served in the Gulf.
8 MR. TURNER: To beat it totally dead, the
9 two are not mutually exclusive.
10 DR. ROSTKER: No, they're not and that's
11 why we have appropriate oversight and appropriate
13 DR. CASSELLS: To what degree does staff
14 rotations effect the continuity of your operations?
15 How do you deal with that?
16 MS. DAVIS: Well, in all honesty, staff
17 rotation to some extent has hurt us to date. As I
18 mentioned we have a small number of permanent military
19 billets. In order to ramp up to do some of the things
20 that were necessary to do, as Doctor Rostker took
21 over, there were a number of folks who were detailed
22 to the office. We're seeing those people leave as
1 their details are up.
2 Frankly, it makes it really hard to plan
3 an organization. So one of the things I've set as my
4 priority is first, making sure that we've got the bulk
5 of the analytical support occurring by our support
6 contractors, because, frankly, there we can guarantee
7 the kind of continuity that we need and also working
8 to augment the number of active duty billets with
9 reservists and get them in there for as long as we
10 need to get them in there.
11 We're working with the DOD personnel
12 office and the detailers to have people assigned for
13 we'd like to say indefinitely. The detailers have a
14 little bit of trouble with us asking for indefinite
15 PCS orders but we're working that issue.
16 MS. GWIN: I'd like to go back to the
17 implementation plan that we discussed earlier this
18 morning. DOD said that they intend to investigate all
19 confirmed positive detections that meet the standard
20 of Recommendation 227 will be thoroughly investigated
21 and so my first question on that is what does it mean,
22 all confirmed positive detections? Do they have to
1 have been confirmed at the time of the war?
2 MS. DAVIS: Well, at this point as you
3 know, the difficulty that we have is that we have a
4 number of reports of chemical detections without at
5 the moment having anything to indicate that they were
6 other than a report. So when we talk to confirmed
7 reports, we're looking to reports that are
8 corroborated in some way as having been real.
9 One of the experiences that we're seeing
10 frankly with, for instance, the returns on the
11 Khamisiyah survey is that when people talk about
12 whether they heard or saw or heard about a chemical
13 alarm, they're reporting that they heard about it from
14 somebody else. And so what we're trying to do is make
15 sure that we have point source the detection and then
16 corroborated the fact that it actually occurred.
17 MS. GWIN: Well, if you have a log entry
18 that an M257 detection was made and was positive at
19 the time, what are you going to do with that? How are
20 you going to follow up? What will your investigation
21 consist of?
22 MS. DAVIS: Okay, if we have a log entry
1 that indicates that there is a 256, that it was
2 positive and there are no other documentary -- no
3 other evidence basically that the test had, for some
4 reason, been indicated as not positive for that
5 substance. As you know we have any number of
6 instances where you'll have a log entry and then a
7 follow-on entry that says, "No, we checked and it
8 really was not whatever", or a good example is with
9 the FOX vehicles, where you get a positive and then
10 the 256 would indicate that it was not, in fact
12 Once we trace to make sure there are not
13 any similar kinds of contradicting, that's not the
14 right word, but negating documentary evidence for the
15 log, then we'll identify the units that were in the
16 area, we'll identify the people that were in those
17 units and we'll start to interview those people to
18 determine if there is anything else that would
19 indicate whether the detection occurred, what caused
20 it, where -- what was going on around it at the time,
21 and then follow the exposure data from there.
22 MS. NISHIMI: But what I just heard was
1 that you would weigh negating information more heavily
2 than the initial detection.
3 MS. DAVIS: That's not what I had intended
4 to say. What I'm suggesting is that when we have a
5 report on a log, that a particular detection occurred,
6 one of the things that we have to look at is to make
7 sure that there was not a subsequent entry that said,
8 "Followed up that detection with a subsequent test
9 that indicated that it was negative and the all clear
10 was sounded".
11 All I'm suggesting is that a single log
12 entry all by itself without knowing whether there are
13 any other log entries that relate to that event may
14 not tell you very much.
15 MS. NISHIMI: But if there is only a
16 single log entry, then what criteria will you use to
17 determine whether it's in or out?
18 MS. DAVIS: In or out?
19 MS. NISHIMI: In or out as a case.
20 MS. DAVIS: Oh, detections as a general
21 proposition are all going to be cases. The only thing
22 that -- I won't try to pretend to you at this point
1 that we have all of them captured. I also -- one of
2 the things that we are trying to do to put some of
3 these things in context is group them into cases, like
4 Khamisiyah or 11th Marines, some of the things that
5 you see on the list, where we had multiple detections
6 relating to particular operations that were going on
7 at a point in time but certainly the position that
8 we're taking and I think have taken is that detections
9 are something that are going to be looked at either
10 individually or as cases to determine as much as we
11 can about those detections.
12 DR. ROSTKER: And each one will be the
13 subject of a narrative. The narrative will tell you
14 what we know, who we've been able to interview, how
15 far we've been able to carry it. It's an appeal to
16 those who were at that time and place to provide
17 additional information. So there's, in a sense, no
18 closure to this in terms of a criteria. There is an
19 event. We will report as thoroughly and as completely
20 on that event as possible and let the information
21 stand where it may.
22 We're not ruling anything in and we're not
1 ruling anything out. We're trying to get as factual
2 an understanding of what occurred in these cases as a
3 given point in time as we possibly can.
4 MS. PORTER: Perhaps it would be helpful
5 to have a specific illustration and I'd like to ask
6 about this. For example, the Sabahiyah Girls School,
7 the Kuwait Girls School, in which there were
8 apparently 21 detections, mustard detections for an
9 agent which burned a British soldier which was being
10 emitted from a tank of agent, how are you going to
11 confirm those detections. There are FOX detections,
12 there are cam detections, and what will it take to
13 come to a conclusion about what happened and what is
15 MS. DAVIS: I'd like to ask Lieutenant
16 Colonel Morris, who has conducted the bulk of the
17 investigation on that case to respond to that
18 question, if I may.
19 LT. COL. MORRIS: The Kuwaiti girls school
20 presents somewhat of a dilemma as you indicated
21 because there are 21 separate detections on a variety
22 of detection devices ranging from color changing paper
1 to the FOX, which were reported at the time to be
2 mustard. There were also at least some reports where
3 phosgene oxime was also reported. We also have
4 reports from the British Government that indicate that
5 they analyzed samples taken from that same tank and
6 have identified it as different compound, specifically
7 red fuming nitric acid.
8 The report that we're currently preparing
9 on this specific subject essentially goes through a
10 chronology of the events and lists in as great a
11 detail as we can using reports from people who were
12 physically there, what conflicts we have and what
13 information we've drawn or what information or test
14 results have been made.
15 And essentially at that point in time we
16 throw it out and let people make their own judgment.
17 DR. ROSTKER: She didn't mean throw it
19 LT. COL. MORRIS: It's sort of like
20 running it up the flagpole and say, "You know, okay,
21 let's take a shot at this", but that's basically the
22 point, we have conflicts.
1 In that particular case, the soldier --
2 MS. PORTER: Specifically, how are you
3 proceeding to resolve the conflicts?
4 LT. COL. MORRIS: Well, we're talking to
5 the people who were there, although I understand that
6 the commander of the 54th chemical troop seems to take
7 exception to some of the conversations that he and I
8 have had. One of the things is he has talked to me
9 recently about some information where he believes that
10 there was some extraordinary interest in those two
11 particular FOX vehicles after the war and I've asked
12 him to give me some more leads on that so that I can,
13 in fact, follow them up.
14 That's one case that I'd like to follow up
15 because unlike -- not unlike another case that we did
16 look at, the Camp Monterey case, where we had tapes
17 and we could document where the FOX alarmed for a
18 particular compound but when it went through the full
19 spectral analysis, it was clearly shown on the tapes
20 that it wasn't exactly what it had alarmed for.
21 We went into excruciating detail with the
22 manufacturer of the equipment to say, "How can this
1 be", and at this time there are tests being done on a
2 variety of detection equipment to find out what
3 spectral analysis or what specific reaction would be
4 generated by coming on contact with red fuming nitric
5 acid just to rule it out.
6 So we're actually trying to figure out why
7 something could happen not just what one person
8 reported and what another person reported.
9 MS. NISHIMI: Maybe I can raise another
10 case then on the Czech detections where DOD has
11 previously testified before the Committee that they
12 conclude that those are valid and does what I'm
13 hearing now mean that DOD is going to put out a case
14 narrative and now not conclude that they are valid so
15 that the checks are an open determination? You've
16 previously reached a conclusion that they're valid.
17 DR. ROSTKER: I think the conclusion was
18 that we had no basis for questioning it, that we
19 believe the equipment was working correctly and it had
20 a reading. I haven't read or reviewed the case
21 narrative for the Czech detection but I don't know
22 whether there's anything that would cause us to draw
1 a different conclusion.
2 MS. NISHIMI: So in that particular
3 narrative you would reach a conclusion?
4 DR. ROSTKER: Well, the conclusion is that
5 the -- we believe the equipment was working correctly
6 and it signified it. We don't have any other
7 information at this point, I don't believe, to
9 MR. TURNER: They were characterized to
10 this Committee as credible detection.
11 DR. ROSTKER: Yes.
12 MR. TURNER: Do you stand behind that?
13 DR. ROSTKER: Yes.
14 LT. COL. MORRIS: Yes.
15 DR. BROWN: Well, I guess what the
16 Committee is concerned of here is, how your group
17 decides. What really everyone wants to know is was
18 there a chemical agent present? Were these detections
19 real or were they something else? In the case of the
20 girls school you have a bunch of evidence, somewhat
21 conflicting, there's some ambiguity. How do you
22 decide -- what criteria do you use to decide was this
1 a real incident where there was really mustard there
2 or was it something else?
3 For example, if the report that you
4 mentioned from the British, this British analysis
5 saying that it was RFNA, if you didn't have your hands
6 on that, what would you conclude then? Would you
7 conclude then that this was a real detection or how do
8 you -- I guess what it boils down to is how do you
9 decide, what's enough evidence to say, "We have a real
10 detection here. This looks like it was a real
11 chemical agent", or vice versa, what's enough evidence
12 to rule it out?
13 DR. ROSTKER: Oh, I think you have to look
14 at each case individual and we're prepared to do that
15 and bring that forward for your consideration. I
16 think the main thing to say in all of this is that
17 every one of these case narratives will be considered
18 an interim report and we will ask for public
19 participation in the process to try to find additional
20 information that's not captured in the report.
21 Right now, we have, as you know, a number
22 of FOX vehicle readings. We shared with your staff
1 the fact that we wanted to pull these together into
2 meaningful cases rather than each individual and I
3 think you concurred in that notion and we're in the
4 process of preparing our reports. I don't want to,
5 frankly, get into a discussion of what may or may not
6 be in a report until we're prepared to present it, but
7 there will be as honest a presentation of what we know
8 and what we don't know and looking for a preponderance
9 of the evidence but that depends upon each individual
11 MS. NISHIMI: Well, I think one of the
12 concerns, Doctor Rostker is that if you leave it too
13 open-ended, then you don't have the triggering event
14 that might lead to some of the follow-on activities as
15 you have done with Khamisiyah and so we're trying to
16 get a grip here on, you know, when do you perceive
17 beyond an open-ended recitation of the facts.
18 DR. ROSTKER: It depends upon the
19 individual cases and what we've concluded on the
20 individual case. I can't answer that until we present
21 to you the work. We're not trying to just simply lay
22 it out. If there is an appropriate follow-on in the
1 epidemiological area, we're prepared to do that.
2 MR. KOWALOK: Doctor Rostker, I'm sorry to
3 interrupt, this is where you lose me at least.
4 Earlier you said in the process of providing
5 narratives it's an interim process and you're going to
6 publish something and let the facts state what they
7 state and let that be the story. How does that
8 translate into making a conclusion about an exposure
9 potential? Are you making conclusions or not about
10 exposure potentials?
11 DR. ROSTKER: It depends upon the
12 individual case. It depends upon --
13 DR. BROWN: It almost sounds like you
14 expect us to look at these reports and decide whether
15 this is a real cased or not.
16 DR. ROSTKER: No, it depends upon the
17 individual case. You know, we provided a detailed
18 accounting of Khamisiyah as best we understand it. In
19 the case of Khamisiyah we drew some conclusions about
20 probable exposure. We followed in with a great deal
21 of activity as you've heard this morning. Each
22 individual case is different. There's not a single
1 rule that can be applied to each individual case.
2 Let me give you an example. In the
3 December 10th testimony before the House Veterans
4 Affairs Committee, there was testimony about a FOX
5 vehicle coming across an ammo dump on the 28th of
6 February and that chemical detections were observed.
7 If you go to the now famous CENTCOM chem logs, that
8 event is documented the 28th of February. On the 1st
9 of March the same person who phoned in that
10 documentation indicated that they had thoroughly
11 inspected the bunkers and there was nothing there.
12 Okay, that whole event constitutes a case.
13 So in that case we may, after we put all
14 of the information together, conclude that there was
15 no exposure. We will, by the preponderance of the
16 evidence, draw a conclusion. In another case we may
17 not draw a conclusion that there was or was not. I
18 have to deal with each -- the facts of each case
20 MR. KOWALOK: What would trigger you to
21 look at that case and make that distinction one way or
22 the other?
1 DR. ROSTKER: Well, in this particular
2 case, the fact that the person who reported it came
3 back 12 hours later and said they examined the bunker
4 under question and found nothing seems to me to be a
5 compelling piece of information but there may be other
6 pieces of information from that particular event that
7 we're putting together and one would look for a
8 preponderance of the evidence.
9 I'm not shy to make a conclusion but I
10 can't tell you what the conclusion is until we examine
11 each case.
12 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: I would take it in
13 writing one of these cases up you would do what one
14 does typically in writing up a case report; you
15 describe your methods, you present your data and then
16 you draw the conclusion to the extent that you can
17 draw it.
18 DR. ROSTKER: I think writing it up is
19 most clear in the case of the Khamisiyah narrative.
20 We've already done one for the American public and for
21 yourselves and are in the process of hopefully within
22 the next week or so to improve even the documentation
1 of that case for further public scrutiny.
2 MS. PORTER: I'd like to go back to the
3 Sabahiyah Girls' School case for a moment if I could
4 because a question exists about the documentation
5 that's available from the British. How far are you
6 going back to work with the British Government, the
7 British Ministry of Defense in looking at the types of
8 data that they have available to help resolve that
9 case and do you feel that that data is credible
10 especially in the face of numerous reports of
11 difficulty with the superficiality of the information
12 that's been prepared by the British Ministry of
13 Defense on several issues at this point; OP
14 pesticides, animal testing? What kind of cooperation
15 do you have and what are you willing to take as the
16 truth in that matter?
17 LT. COL. MORRIS: We've asked the British
18 Government several times over the last couple of
19 years, both IAD and the predecessor organization, for
20 a variety of information. The British Government has
21 also been asked for information as part of the
22 Merriman report which was part of the Defense Science
1 Board and this has been assembled over time. We
2 continue to deal with the British Government and they
3 continue to give us additional information as it
4 becomes available. It's one of the factors or one of
5 the items that we take into account when we're looking
6 at all of the facts.
7 We're not necessarily in a position to
8 evaluate the veracity of a government and so we take
9 their information, we take it for what it states.
10 DR. BROWN: But, you know, it sounds
11 unsatisfactory about this whole process and maybe I'm
12 misunderstanding this. It sounds like this report on
13 the girls school incident is just going to be
14 incomplete. You're going to say, "Well, there are 21
15 cases where we detected chemical agent. We had FOX
16 vehicle detections, some 256 detections, I think there
17 were some cam detections thrown in. We have an
18 injured individual, a person who was -- got the stuff
19 on them and was injured and we have this one report
20 from the British Government of unknown quality saying
21 that it was something else".
22 You know, don't you have to take it one
1 more step and say, "And this means we think",
3 DR. ROSTKER: Why don't we wait and see
4 what the report says? You don't have a report to --
5 DR. BROWN: I'm not trying to prejudge
6 what it will say. I'm just saying, doesn't it have to
7 say something? Don't you have to make some kind of
8 conclusion about what that means?
9 DR. ROSTKER: Let me read the report and
10 see where we are. You're -- you know, we did not
11 bring the report before the Committee because the
12 report is not finished.
13 DR. BROWN: I'm talking about the process
14 now, not the actual -- the process, doesn't the
15 process require a coming to closure or coming to some
16 kind of conclusion?
17 DR. ROSTKER: The process requires that we
18 faithfully account for the information and if we
19 believe there's a preponderance of the data pointing
20 to a conclusion, to draw that conclusion. I would
21 agree with you but we haven't brought it forward.
22 We're not ready to bring it forward.
1 DR. BROWN: Okay, well, I guess I
2 misunderstood you. I thought you were describing a
3 process which would rule out that final step.
4 DR. ROSTKER: Oh, absolutely not.
5 DR. BROWN: You're saying that's not the
6 case. All right.
7 DR. ROSTKER: If there's a preponderance
8 of the evidence, you know, we did that in the
9 Khamisiyah case, we will do that in all of the cases
10 but there needs to be a preponderance of the evidence.
11 Our first requirement always is to faithfully report
12 to you and the American people the information that we
13 found. We're not going to walk away from drawing a
14 conclusion if a conclusion is warranted.
15 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: I think that's very
16 helpful. I think we should thank you, Ms. Davis, for
17 your testimony and --
18 MS. KNOX: I'd like to make a comment
19 before you close this session if I could, Ms. Davis,
20 back to your original testimony particularly your
21 personal testimony, I want to commend you for that and
22 I hope you understand that we have those same
1 feelings. You have to look and see that we've been
2 doing this for a year and a half now and the
3 credibility of DOD has gone down steadily during that
5 And as an active guard member of my state,
6 it saddens me to know that fact as well. And I owe
7 you an apology. Apparently a comment that was made
8 concerning the maximum range of possible chemical
9 exposure and the concern for compensation was not your
10 comment but apparently Lieutenant Colonel Morris' and
11 I do apologize for that.
12 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Okay, Lieutenant
13 Colonel Morris, let's move forward. Please introduce
14 yourself and carry on.
15 LT. COL. MORRIS: Doctor Landrigan,
16 members of the Committee and Committee staff, thank
17 you for the opportunity to appear before you today.
18 I am Lieutenant Colonel Dee Dotson Morris, Deputy
19 Director of the Investigation and Analysis Directorate
20 of the Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War
22 Your Committee has requested that I
1 present testimony concerning the status of the
2 Khamisiyah investigation. As Ms. Davis has mentioned,
3 we recently released an interim case narrative for our
4 Khamisiyah investigation. I will now provide details
5 of that interim report, the status of our ongoing
6 investigative efforts as well as how our investigation
7 fits into the overall U.S. Government inquiry
8 concerning Khamisiyah.
9 As you can see, there are several
10 organizations involved in the effort to investigate
11 the demolition activities at the Khamisiyah ammunition
12 storage point during March and April 1991 the
13 information within the U.S. Government before and
14 after those activities and how those events possibly
15 relate to why our Gulf War veterans are sick.
16 The role of the Investigation and Analysis
17 Directorate is to determine from an operational point
18 of view what happened at the Khamisiyah ASP from the
19 beginning of the air war in January 1991 through the
20 conclusion of demolition activities in April 1991.
21 Next slide, please.
22 To put our efforts into context, inquiry
1 into the possible presence of chemical warfare agents
2 at the Khamisiyah ASP during the U.S. demolition
3 activities at the site can be traced to May 1991 when
4 in response to United Nations Security Council
5 Resolution 687, which outlined the terms of the Gulf
6 War cease fire, the Iraqi's declared Khamisiyah to be
7 a chemical storage facility.
8 I'd like to note at this point that the
9 place we call Khamisiyah today was once also known to
10 coalition forces during the war as Tallal Lahm, that
11 the general area was known to U.S. forces as Objective
12 Gold or more specifically Battle Position 102 and that
13 in May 1991 the Iraqi's declared the site to the U.N.
14 as Khamisiyah with the word Nasiriyah in parenthesis.
15 In response to the Iraqi declaration,
16 inspection teams from the U.N. Special Commission
17 implementing the cease fire resolution visited the
18 site at least three times; October 1991, March 1992
19 and May 1996. On their first visit the Iraqi's showed
20 the inspectors three separate areas where the Iraqi's
21 said that they had stored chemical warfare agent
22 filled munitions during the war. The UNSCOM team
1 confirmed that the munitions stored in two of those
2 areas did contain chemical warfare agents.
3 The first area located in the desert
4 several kilometers west of the facility contained over
5 6,000 mustard filled projectiles. We have found no
6 indication that any coalition forces ever encountered
7 those projectiles which were later transported to Al
8 Muthanna, Iraq and destroyed there. During their
9 March 1992 visit UNSCOM destroyed on site
10 approximately 500 122-millimeter serine filled rockets
11 which had been recovered from the second area which we
12 now refer to as the pit.
13 Another almost 300 additional rockets
14 unearthed from the pit at the end of and after this
15 UNSCOM visit were also subsequently transported to Al
16 Muthanna for destruction. During the October 1991
17 inspection, members of the inspection team did visit
18 the third area which the Iraqi's referred to as Bunker
19 73 and check the crater with chemical agent monitors.
20 Those monitors indicated no detectable agent presence
21 at that time and UNSCOM inspectors did not thoroughly
22 search the destroyed bunker until their May 1996
2 In November 1991 the U.S. intelligence
3 community was advised of the results of the October
4 1991 UNSCOM inspection of Khamisiyah. The U.S.
5 intelligence community did not believe Iraqi accounts
6 to the U.N. that chemical weapons had been blown up at
7 Khamisiyah by coalition forces at the end of the war.
8 However, in spite of their doubts, intelligence
9 analysts did initiate a search for any U.S. units
10 which might have been involved in blowing up munitions
11 at Khamisiyah.
12 While we now know that the engineer units
13 assigned to and in direct support of the 82nd Airborne
14 Division conducted the demolition of the bunkers and
15 the pit at Khamisiyah in November 1991 the Army's
16 Central Command, ARCENT, identified the 24th Infantry
17 Division as responsible for those demolition
18 activities in the Khamisiyah area and elements of that
19 division's staff were contacted.
20 When we contacted those same staff members
21 recently they had no specific recollection of being
22 contacted in late 1991 or of any subsequent actions
1 they might have taken. Between late 1991 and late
2 1994 there were at least two congressional inquiries
3 into whether Iraqi chemical weapons had been found in
4 the Kuwaiti theater of operation as well as the
5 Defense Science Board's inquiry into Gulf War health
7 None of these efforts were unable to
8 unravel the events at Khamisiyah in March 1991 largely
9 because accurate troop disposition information was not
10 then available, there was still some confusion as to
11 where Khamisiyah was actually located and the U.S.
12 intelligence community continued to think that the
13 Iraqi reports of demolition by coalition forces were
14 part of an ongoing deception against UNSCOM.
15 In November 1994 Congress directed that
16 the DOD Gulf War registry, previously limited to
17 identifying those veterans who had been exposed to the
18 oil field fires in Kuwait, be expanded to include all
19 Gulf War veterans. Next slide, please.
20 In September 1995 the CIA identified
21 Khamisiyah as a key unresolved chemical weapons
22 release issue, informed the DOD Persian Gulf War
1 Veterans Illness Investigation Team, the predecessor
2 organization to IAD, of the site's possible relevance
3 to the chemical agent exposure issue and asked whether
4 U.S. forces had been at the site. DOD queried the new
5 constructed unit locator data base and learned that
6 the 37th Engineer Battalion had reported a location
7 near Khamisiyah but that there was no indication of
8 their mission. At that time we did not follow up on
9 the unit's activity.
10 Since January of 1996 CIA and DOD efforts
11 have been coordinated and focused, resulting in a time
12 line of events which we believe constitutes a basic
13 understanding of the operational events at Khamisiyah
14 during the January through April 1991 time period. We
15 released an interim case narrative on 25 February 1997
16 which details the current state of our knowledge.
17 Next slide, please.
18 Before I discuss the current state of our
19 knowledge of the demolition activities at Khamisiyah,
20 let me comment on the composition of the IAD
21 investigation team for the Khamisiyah case.
22 Khamisiyah is one of the 25 cases assigned to our
1 Chemical Biological Warfare Agent's Team. Currently
2 seven members of this team are devoted to
3 investigating the events at Khamisiyah.
4 These seven people all have operational or
5 chemical warfare backgrounds. Previous key members of
6 the Khamisiyah investigative staff have included an
7 Army engineer officer and a specialist in chemical
8 stockpile emergency preparedness. With the recent
9 release of the interim case narrative, as well as the
10 Khamisiyah survey which was distributed beginning this
11 January, the team is continuing its efforts to
12 establish the details of specific events at
13 Khamisiyah. Next slide, please.
14 This very busy slide details quite frankly
15 a very short and very busy period.
16 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Could we perhaps turn
17 it 90 degrees?
18 LT. COL. MORRIS: The time line presented
19 here is based on a compilation of information gathered
20 by the Khamisiyah case investigative staff. Key
21 sources of information within operational and personal
22 logs, veterans' reports to our incident reporting
1 line, many of which have been clarified and expanded
2 upon during call-backs by our veterans' data
3 management team, over 135 personal interviews and
4 extensive coordination with the intelligence
6 U.S. presence at the Khamisiyah ASP began
7 with the 24th Infantry Division on February 26th, 1991
8 and the 82nd Airborne Division on March 1st. The
9 first major demolition at the site occurred on March
10 4th which included the destruction of what the Iraqi's
11 refer to as Bunker 73. Of prime continuing interest
12 is the destruction of the area which has become known
13 as the pit. Records indicate that the 37th Engineer
14 Battalion discovered 122-millimeter rockets in the pit
15 on March 9th and detonated them on March 10th.
16 There are also reports that the 60th EOD
17 Detachment destroyed rockets on the pit on March 12th.
18 Since we still do not have a clear picture of the
19 events surrounding the identification and destruction
20 of munitions in the pit, this is one area upon which
21 we are focusing our continuing investigation. Next
22 slide, please.
1 And this morning the CIA went into
2 somewhat greater detail about their specific
3 assessment and we are, in fact, cooperating with them
4 in their effort. Our continuing investigation into
5 what happened at the Khamisiyah ASP is focused on
6 these questions here. Last week in conjunction with
7 the DIA and CIA analysts, we interviewed the 37th
8 Engineer Battalion S2NCO. This soldier confirmed
9 details of his activities in the pit which we had
10 obtained during previous interviews.
11 His demolition party was small and he knew
12 all of them. He also only remembers rigging three
13 stacks of rockets for demolition. We are continuing
14 to search for the 15 to 20 engineer soldiers reported
15 to have been detailed to assist an NCO from the 60th
16 EOD Detachment and the rigging of from seven to nine
17 stacks of rockets as well as to establish conclusively
18 the date or dates on which all of the pit demolition
19 activities occurred.
20 In order to answer all of the questions
21 the IAD is conducting an analysis on the surveys that
22 have begun to be returned by the Veterans, continuing
1 to search for the other personnel who assisted in the
2 pit destruction, and is continuing to collect
3 information provided by veterans who called the
4 incident reporting line.
5 Next slide please.
6 Our efforts to establish what happened at
7 Khamisiyah will provide input to the ongoing modeling
8 efforts to predict who was possibly exposed, to what
9 levels of chemical warfare agents during the
10 destruction of munitions at Khamisiyah.
11 Research efforts by the Scientific and
12 Medical communities are required to answer questions
13 regarding the impacts of any possible exposures to the
14 soldiers in the area at the time.
15 In summary, the IAD investigation plays a
16 key role in the overall DOD effort to investigate the
17 events at Khamisiyah and their implication to the
18 health of U. S. forces.
19 Thank you for the opportunity to bring you
20 and the committee up to date on our Khamisiyah
21 investigative effort, and I am now ready to take your
1 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Thank you very much
2 Colonel Morris. Members of the committee, staff, it's
4 MR. TURNER: Colonel Morris, on February
5 26, 1991, the 24th Mechanized Infantry Division
6 received a warning that there were chemical munitions
7 at Khamisiyah or objective gold. What did the 24th
8 Mechanized Infantry Division do in response to that
10 LT. COL. MORRIS: The 24th Infantry
11 Division along with the 101st Airborne Division did,
12 in fact, receive that message from the 18th Airborne
13 Corps. And the information that we have is that they
14 did, in fact, follow the instructions on their
15 warning, which was to be aware of the fact that there
16 were possibly chemicals in the area, and to check for
18 MR. TURNER: They were instructed to lead
19 with FOX vehicles if I recall correctly, is that
20 right? And did they do that?
21 LT. COL. MORRIS: We're still looking for
22 that. We have indications right now that the 82nd
1 Airborne did in fact when they went through the area
2 do that.
3 MR. TURNER: Let's talk about the 82nd in
4 a second --
5 LT. COL. MORRIS: I understand.
6 MR. TURNER: -- but for the 24th, why
7 don't we stay with that for a moment.
8 LT. COL. MORRIS: And I think I answered
9 your question when I said that we're still trying to
10 find out whether that did, in fact, occur.
11 MR. TURNER: The 82nd you think did go in
12 with FOX vehicles and sweep the area?
13 LT. COL. MORRIS: Yes. We have a
14 statement from the 82nd Airborne Division Chemical
15 Officer that they did, in fact, search the area.
16 MR. TURNER: We now know that the Iraqis
17 did not mark chemical munitions with colored bands or
18 other distinctive markings, don't we?
19 LT. COL. MORRIS: Yes, that is true.
20 MR. TURNER: When did the intelligence
21 community find out that Iraqi munitions were not so
1 LT. COL. MORRIS: There are a variety of
2 reports in the intelligence traffic. Some of them are
3 in fact dated and reported prior to this particular
4 effort, in other words prior to late February 1991.
5 One of the things that we are doing is to
6 track information flow, that is also something that
7 several other investigative groups are doing, is to
8 track the flow of intelligence information. And we're
9 trying to find out where that particular piece of
10 information didn't get transferred.
11 MR. TURNER: Okay. If munitions are not
12 marked, and you're sweeping with a FOX vehicle, the
13 only way you're going to detect chemical agent is if
14 some of the munitions in the area are leaking. So
15 without leakers in the area the 82nd sweeping through
16 would not have detected munitions would they?
17 LT. COL. MORRIS: No. You do have to have
18 some sort of airborne concentration to detect.
19 MR. TURNER: Can we talk about the Bunker
20 73 incident? I believe that your Khamisiyah narrative
21 reports that one or perhaps two Nuclear Biological and
22 Chemical Officers had positive M256 tests during the
1 time frame that Bunker 73 was undergoing explosive
2 ordinance demolition, in that personnel went for at
3 least a brief period to Mock 4 protective masks and
4 gears. Who were the individuals that reported those
5 positive 256 kits?
6 LT. COL. MORRIS: We can provide those
7 names to you. I would have to go back and actually do
8 some research to figure out which specific people they
10 MR. TURNER: The individuals that did
11 those tests maintain that they did get a positive
12 M256, don't they? You've interviewed them haven't
14 LT. COL. MORRIS: Yes, we have.
15 MR. TURNER: And they say those were
16 positive 256's, don't they?
17 LT. COL. MORRIS: At least one of them has
18 had a rather dynamic story on that in that regard.
19 MR. TURNER: So the answer is yes?
20 LT. COL. MORRIS: He started out saying
21 no, he now says yes.
22 MR. TURNER: If I understand the way a 256
1 kit is used, when you're in chemical gear you run a
2 256 kit test or when an alarm goes off you run a 256
3 kit test to determine if you can declare an all clear,
4 so that people can unmask. Is that the appropriate
5 doctrine for the use of those in this kind of
7 LT. COL. MORRIS: Yes, it is.
8 MR. TURNER: So, that if there is
9 suggestions that there were weak positives or that the
10 test was somehow not as conclusive as the kit may
11 perhaps be able to produce, the operative fact is that
12 you were not able to declare an all clear so that
13 people stayed in mock gear. Isn't that correct?
14 LT. COL. MORRIS: That is our doctrinal
15 response to that. The 256 kit is essentially a go or
16 no go, positive or negative type of test. And one of
17 the things that we teach people to do is if they've
18 got a result that they're uncomfortable with that
19 doesn't appear conclusive to them, to run another one
20 but they do stay in mock gear.
21 MR. TURNER: They do stay in mock gear
22 until they can declare an all clear, right? They stay
1 in mock gear until they can give an all clear?
2 LT. COL. MORRIS: Yes.
3 MR. TURNER: All right. Now, you've seen
4 a video tape of the March 4th demolition that was
5 provided by Brian Martin. The personnel on that tape,
6 that are portrayed in that video tape, were not in any
7 mock gear. And this is right around the same time
8 that these positive M256 kits were being taken at
9 Khamisiyah weren't they?
10 LT. COL. MORRIS: It's my understanding
11 that the actual chemical alarm occurred after the time
12 that's depicted in Mr. Martin's video tape.
13 MR. TURNER: How long after, Colonel
15 LT. COL. MORRIS: Less than -- it's
16 essentially a matter of minutes, less than an hour.
17 MR. TURNER: So, it's within the same time
19 LT. COL. MORRIS: Yes. But we did not --
20 we have not seen a video that includes that particular
21 M8 alarm going off.
22 MR. TURNER: What time, as best you can
1 place it, was the M8 alarm going off, ballpark, I
2 understand you
3 may --
4 LT. COL. MORRIS: I think it's about 45
5 minutes after the demolition.
6 MR. TURNER: Okay.
7 MS. PORTER: I would like to ask something
8 related to the Khamisiyah investigation as I
9 understand what it encompasses.
10 On March 27, 1991, the 2nd Armored Calvary
11 Regiment was ordered to conduct reconnaissance of
12 seven suspected chemical or biological storage sites
13 in the Kuwait theater of operations including
14 Khamisiyah. What was found in those recons?
15 LT. COL. MORRIS: The ACR reported that
16 they found no positive confirmation of anything at any
17 of those sites.
18 MS. PORTER: Have you interviewed the
19 second ACR personnel to find out how they missed what
20 the U.N. found there in October of 1991?
21 LT. COL. MORRIS: Not yet.
22 MS. PORTER: And you are planning to do
2 LT. COL. MORRIS: It's part of the ongoing
4 MS. PORTER: DOD has known about this
5 recon order since last July or August of 1996. What
6 have you done to investigate the other possible
7 chemical sites on that list?
8 LT. COL. MORRIS: I believe that what
9 you're asking is whether or not we have gone out to
10 look at the other sites that the U.N. has inspected
11 and found chemical weapons?
12 MS. PORTER: No. I'm asking if in
13 addition to the sites for which a determination has
14 been made, that you followed the other sites on the
15 list of seven. Have you been able to pursue any other
16 situation reports or identify any personnel who would
17 know about the other sites on the list of seven?
18 LT. COL. MORRIS: I'm still not sure if I
19 understand your question.
20 MS. DAVIS: If I might. What if -- my
21 recollection of the list is, for instance, one of the
22 sites that's on there is Tallil. And Tallil is a case
1 that we are looking at, and that would be part of what
2 we look at.
3 Off the top of my head, I couldn't tell
4 you the other five. I know you have been talking to
5 the staff and we've been working through that. We
6 can, you know, let you know if there are any other
7 cases that we currently have that relate to things
8 that are on that list.
9 MR. TURNER: Yeah, Ms. Davis, I guess our
10 concern is that there is this fragmentary order that
11 tasks reconnaissance of suspected chemical sites and
12 one of those sites turned out to be real, Khamisiyah.
13 And in keeping with Dr. Rostker's concern about no
14 more Khamisiyah's, you know, that seems to us to be a
15 fairly substantial lead that ought to be run to earth
16 soon. And what is being done to pursue those?
17 LT. COL. MORRIS: Well, I think one of the
18 things that -- and again this is -- I'm -- I -- I'm
19 doing this off the top of my head --
20 MR. TURNER: Sure.
21 LT. COL. MORRIS: -- without having a list
22 of sites in front of me. One of the things, because
1 I asked that question when we had originally had the
2 discussion about that message, was that except to the
3 extent that things had turned up for other cases, and
4 Tallil is a good example, for the most part at least
5 at this stage of the game, we were relying on the
6 UNSCOM reports and investigations of not only what was
7 reported to them by the Iraqi's post war, but also the
8 leads that UNSCOM developed themselves to look at
9 other sites.
10 The other thing that goes to are there
11 other things out there, are the calls then that we're
12 getting from the 800 numbers and then the call backs.
13 I can do a cross check on site names, but my
14 recollection as I said is that the Khamisiyah and
15 Tallil were the ones that because of other leads had
16 surfaced as cases.
17 MR. TURNER: Yeah. I guess there's not
18 much more to say except this is a very specific lead.
19 It's got coordinates in it, it has specific sites, and
20 it's got specific tasks. So, tracking down who
21 actually went out on the ground and went to those
22 areas and what they looked at should be something
1 that's doable, and doable pretty soon.
2 MS. GWIN: I'd like to go to the narrative
3 for a minute and ask you some questions about that.
4 It says at one point, and I quote, "UNSCOM
5 acknowledged to that Bunker 73 appeared damaged but
6 did not thoroughly inspect the bunker." But I'd like
7 to know how you sort that out from the intelligence
8 cable from November of '91 that states, and I quote
9 "Inspectors found Tallal Lahm littered with damaged
10 and destroyed serine filled 122 millimeter rockets.
11 The inspectors also noted that the buildings were
12 destroyed by demolitions as opposed to arial
13 bombardment, and they also found an empty U.S. crate
14 labeled M48, which are shape charges used by the U. S.
16 That seems to point to the problem of
17 presenting the narratives as just a lot of information
18 but not using them to draw some conclusions about what
19 really happened, or where mistakes might have been
21 LT. COL. MORRIS: Specifically on that
22 point, there are additional sources available which
1 also talk about what UNSCOM did and did not see. And
2 basically when they were talking about a facility
3 littered with these chemical weapons and munitions
4 they were, in fact, talking about the pit.
5 In terms of the specific Bunker 73, they
6 did go there and they did acknowledge that it was
7 destroyed. The point, and the operative point, at
8 that particular point in time is that they didn't go
9 down in there to check and see if it had in fact had
10 anything that indicated that it had contained chemical
11 weapons as the Iraqis were claiming. They didn't do
12 that at the time.
13 MS. GWIN: But as far back as November of
14 1991, we did have information that at least pointed to
15 U.S. troops conducting the demolition activities and
16 the need for further investigation.
17 LT. COL. MORRIS: And we did in fact look
18 into it at that time, unfortunately it died then.
19 MS. GWIN: Okay. The narrative also
20 quotes the Defense Science Board conclusion that, "The
21 site visited by the UNSCOM team was not a site
22 targeted during the air war." But that's not a true
1 statement is it? Khamisiyah was targeted and bombed.
2 LT. COL. MORRIS: Khamisiyah was bombed as
3 a conventional facility. It was not specifically
4 targeted as best we can tell as a chemical facility.
5 And the damage that did in fact occur to it was
6 largely in the warehouse area. There were only two
7 Bunkers that were actually bombed as a result of
8 coalition activity.
9 MS. GWIN: But the narrative does cite an
10 inaccurate DSB conclusion. I mean we know now that's
11 not true.
12 LT. COL. MORRIS: And I think that that
13 goes to laying out part of the story where this is an
14 evolutionary information process and if the DSB did in
15 fact make that conclusion and then we've subsequently
16 found something new out.
17 MS. GWIN: Do you know who provided that
18 inaccurate information to DSB?
19 LT. COL. MORRIS: No, I don't.
20 MS. GWIN: Have you tried to find out?
21 DR. ROSTKER: Let me, let me put it in
22 this context. The information provided to the DSB was
1 the information that was the perceived wisdom or the
2 common accepted understanding at the time. DSB did
3 not have any independent ability to investigate. It
4 took testimony from DOD. And the DOD analysts believe
5 that the situation at Khamisiyah had been
6 manufactured, and in fact the United Nations'
7 investigators in their open report to the U.N.
8 Security Council talk about the, their concerns that
9 some of the stories were manufactured by the Iraqis.
10 That was the understanding that the DOD
11 community had testified before Congress and shared
12 with the Defense Science Board. We now believe that
13 to be an incorrect assessment of the information.
14 MS. GWIN: Well, when DOD testified to
15 Senator Riegle's committee back in 1994, did it
16 conduct any investigation at that time?
17 DR. ROSTKER: Well, it had before it the
18 information that had been provided. In 1994 there was
19 no position, yet position specific data base. The
20 conclusions that the DOD drew in 19 -- before the
21 Riegle Commission came out of their assessment from
22 the messages that you read, and we now believe those
1 to be incorrect assessments.
2 MS. GWIN: So, there was completely
3 reliance on those assessments and no attempt to do on
4 the ground verifications of the facts at that time?
5 DR. ROSTKER: Well, in that time as it is
6 today that is in Iraq and the assessments have been
7 done through the United Nations. As you know there
8 were two United Nations' visits, but unfortunately the
9 intelligence community in 1991 and 1992 were convinced
10 that this was a manufactured situation to throw the
11 United Nations off the track.
12 Again, we now believe that that is not the
13 case. Subsequent analysis that was heavily undertaken
14 with let me say superb work by the CIA, bringing
15 overheads and other things into consideration led them
16 to draw a different conclusion and for the community
17 including the Department of Defense to come to a
18 different conclusion.
19 But at the time that was the testimony and
20 the belief of the CIA and DIA that this was a
21 manufactured situation and that was shared with not
22 only the Congress but the Defense Science Board. We
1 now believe that to be incorrect.
2 MS. KNOX: I have one more question. Dr.
3 Rostker, knowing the lack of credibility that's
4 occurred over the last year and a half with DOD, and
5 the concern for risk communication, doesn't it bother
6 you that Lieutenant Colonel Morris would make that
7 kind of statement about the range of possible chemical
8 exposure and the concern for compensation of veterans
9 at the same time to our staff?
10 DR. ROSTKER: I mean I'll let Leiutenant
11 Colonel talk to herself but I've made it very plain in
12 the situation and this Government is very plain that
13 compensation issues don't come to bear on this. It
14 has always been the policy of the United States
15 Government to compensate for disability not for
17 MS. KNOX: Well, Maybe Colonel Morris
18 maybe you would like to speak to that, why you would
19 say that.
20 LT. COL. MORRIS: I think a lot of this
21 needs to be put into context. And unfortunately one
22 of the things when we talk to people is we have an
1 awful lot of folks who will try to get in or outside
2 of the line. And this goes to essentially what Dr.
3 Rostker is saying, is that we compensate for illness
4 not necessarily for exposure.
5 And when I made a reference to the 50
6 kilometer radius as being a compensation boundary,
7 what I was referring to is my opinion about what I
8 thought a number of people were perceiving, is that
9 this particular boundary was a magical line. That if
10 you could get inside of it then perhaps there was
11 something to be gained.
12 However, the bottom line is, as Dr.
13 Rostker has indicated, that if a veteran is ill, the
14 veteran will be treated and if it is appropriate he
15 will be compensated. It's unfortunate that we get
16 into these types of things, but it's a perception that
17 can in fact be drawn, and it's one that, with which we
18 fight everyday.
19 DR. ROSTKER: And I want to mention again
20 the fact that the President, the Secretary of
21 Veterans' Affairs, has reviewed the regulations and
22 has extended the presumptive period to be a 10-year
1 period. We're not even finished with 10 years from
2 the war.
3 So, if someone feels that they are ill
4 because of that there is a presumption that this
5 occurred because of the war and both medical treatment
6 and if appropriate compensation will be forthcoming.
7 It's a unique thing as you I'm sure know
8 that the normal way that our veteran's legislation
9 operates is it's the responsibility of the veteran to
10 prove service connection. That's completely turned
11 upside down here, and in an extended period of time
12 the presumption is that there is service connection
13 and the government has to prove that there is not.
14 So, that the issue of compensation as far
15 as we're concerned is off the table and I believe as
16 far as the entire Federal Government is concerned.
17 We're interested in taking care of our people and
18 doing what's right for them.
19 But as, as Colonel Morris says there, and
20 I think as we even discussed earlier this morning,
21 there is some misunderstanding that being in or not
22 being in a magical ring represents some prize in terms
1 of compensation. That's just not the facts.
2 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: No further questions?
3 Okay. So, we'll thank your panel for --
4 DR. ROSTKER: Thank you very much.
5 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: -- your long service.
6 Thank you very much. We're going to -- in the
7 interest of time we're going to proceed without a
8 break. If anybody needs a break they should take it
9 on their own. But we're going to move directly
10 forward to the next -- is the next group coming up as
11 separate individuals or as a panel?
12 MS. NISHIMI: Two of them, Bates, General
14 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Okay. General Bates,
15 yes sir.
16 MS. NISHIMI: And Mr. Chase.
17 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: And Mr. Chase.
18 MS. NISHIMI: What we would like to do is
19 proceed with General Bates and Mr. Chase from the CIA
20 IG's office. Mr. Hitz was unable to come but we
21 appreciate Mr. Chase coming.
22 And then we'll proceed following this
1 panel to Mr. Lotz and Mr. Walpole. So, George, we
2 plan to take questions, testimony and questions first
3 from General Bates and Mr. Chase and then break and
4 resume again.
5 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Okay. Please go
6 ahead General.
7 GENERAL BATES: Okay. Good afternoon
8 ladies and gentlemen. I'm Lieutenant General Jerry
9 Bates. I'm the Army's Inspector General. I have with
10 me Colonel Stan Meyer who is, in fact, the head of my
11 team that's looking at the Khamisiyah as it's been
12 provided to us by directive.
13 What I would propose to do this afternoon
14 is to describe to you what we have been directed to
15 do by the Secretary of the Army, how we are going
16 about doing that, where we are in that process and
17 then take your questions.
18 And that slide just says that what I've just said,
19 which is our purpose here today it to talk to you
20 about the status of our assessment.
21 This is a summary of the directive that I
22 was issued by the Secretary of the Army on the 25th of
1 September. And it also -- it focuses me and focuses
2 us today on the key issues that I was told to look at;
3 as you can see, and we've already talked about them
4 here today, presence of chemical's detection, was it
5 reported and to what level, and what about force
6 protection, all of those issues that have come up one
7 way or another during the course of conversation
8 today. Okay Stan.
9 Now, on the 18th of October of last year,
10 based on correspondence between Deputy Secretary of
11 Defense White and Secretary West, I received a
12 supplement to my directive that asked me to look at
13 these issues as well; number of weapons destroyed, who
14 was there, potential exposure of these people,
15 exposure of other people who were in the area based on
16 wind patterns and the modeling that we've talked about
17 here as well and any other significant factors, a sort
18 of catch all phrase that keeps IG's busy on day to day
19 basis, and also to look at this issue of other sites
20 that again has been talked about today.
21 Okay. How do we do our business? First
22 of all, in the Army IG business, all of my people go
1 to a school that deals with this issue of training,
2 investigations, putting together interviews,
3 interrogatories, et cetera. But I ought to make note
4 that for those of you from the legal profession these,
5 these are not adversarial in the context of a criminal
6 investigator but rather -- but we are trained in terms
7 of building interviews that get us to the appropriate
9 So, my team is in the business of looking
10 at logs and reports as listed there. Focusing on --
11 the second bullet, focusing on the intelligence
12 methods that were used during the war, that is to say
13 were people focused on this business of chemicals and
14 where they were, were Commanders focused on that, what
15 actions were Commanders taking as a result of the
16 information they were receiving. Did it make sense,
17 was it appropriate, remembering that part of my job as
18 the Army's Inspector General is to look to the future
19 in the context of doctrine and training, and if we've
20 done things in the past that need to be changed,
21 modified, approved, I am to make those kinds of
1 And then the last bullet there, to locate
2 all of the Commanders and other individuals involved
3 in Khamisiyah specifically, and talk to them about
4 what they saw, heard, and did in the context of those
5 demolitions operations. Okay Stan.
6 Okay. Where are we? We went through an
7 extensive train-up before the end of last year looking
8 for the Gulf War declass project. The I-team and CBD
9 Com, the Chemical Biological Defense Command, to get
10 my team members who are, who have various expertise
11 themselves but not necessarily all of these, in all of
12 these areas, get them smart in the areas they need to
13 be smart in and look at the records from all of those
14 agencies listed in the second bullet, which they
15 continue to do.
16 Once we've done that we began an interview
17 process which really now is about 90 percent complete
18 of those individuals who were present in or around the
19 Khamisiyah area. And we expect to be able to report
20 out to the Secretary of the Army about the 30th of
21 April. We believe we will make that date.
22 Okay, 319 interviews as listed there, the
1 numbers that were either memorandum for record or
2 sworn testimony either by telephone or face to face;
3 nine of the veteran's who appeared on 60-Minutes,
4 seven others who had appeared in various print media,
5 as you can see all of the Chemical Officers from
6 CENTCOM, those Commanders or members of the chain of
7 Command from the 37th Engineer Battalion, and the
8 307th Engineer Batillion, and then the soldiers or
10 And then we split that out because some
11 are still serving as soldiers. Many have left the
12 service and are now veterans of both the two Engineer
13 Battalions involved as well as the EOD people,
14 Explosive Ordinance Detachment people and a total of
15 five general Officers, some are still on active duty
16 some who have retired.
17 Now, that's where we are. Now, the issue
18 I guess that I should touch on at this point is that
19 the way the DAIG process works is we don't do interim
20 reports. We don't talk about what we're doing until
21 we kind of close the investigation out and that may be
22 somewhat frustrating to you today.
1 But in the context of the way we do
2 business we found through long and sometimes painful
3 experience that because we talk to people, and will
4 get information where a soldier, or civilian, a person
5 will say, "I saw this, or I heard this, or I think
6 this happened", if we form, and we do form inner
7 conclusions as we go along, they sometimes prove to be
8 incorrect. And so, we like to get the whole thing in
9 a package, cross walk it often with other agencies who
10 have knowledge in the particular subject that we're
11 dealing with.
12 And when we believe we have a story as
13 best we can through our professional expertise, lay
14 that in front of the Secretary of the Army and then he
15 will decide what to do with it.
16 Obviously we are in daily coordination
17 with Dr. Rostker's organization. And in fact when
18 they are preparing to release various parts of their
19 effort, we sort of, we exchange information; "Does
20 this, does this track with your information, yes or
21 no". And we have, in fact, coordinated on people
22 we've talked to so they can talk to the people,
1 understanding in the IG business I offer to people who
2 talk to me or my IG's anonymity if they wish it, that
3 is to say privacy from talking about what we find,
4 because we found again through long experience in the
5 IG business, the important issue here is what
6 happened, why it happened, as opposed to what a
7 particular person said exactly.
8 Again, this sometimes causes frustration
9 with other agencies and gets to the issue of
10 redaction. We obviously do what the General Counsel
11 tells us to do. But that is the status of my
12 investigation to date and I am prepared to take your
13 questions at this time.
14 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Let's go ahead and if
15 we may hear from Mr. Chase and then we'll take
16 questions from everybody.
17 MR. CHASE: Thank you Dr. Landrigan,
18 members of the Committee, Staff. I'm pleased to
19 appear before you this afternoon representing CIA
20 Inspector General Fred Hitz who is unavoidably
21 detained in Washington.
22 As Deputy Inspector General for Audit, I
1 am directly responsible for the efforts of our office
2 related to Gulf War Veterans illnesses. Accompanying
3 me this afternoon is Patricia Lewis the leader of our
4 special assessment team.
5 I would like to cover three areas in my
6 briefing this afternoon. First, I will present an
7 overview of the areas we're covering in our ongoing
8 assessment and the progress that we've made. Next
9 I'll provide specific information regarding the scope
10 and nature of our work on the allegation that the CIA
11 has hidden evidence of the exposure of the United
12 States Armed Forces to chemical weapons during the
13 Gulf War. Our work on this allegation relates
14 directly to the issue of what was known about the
15 presence of chemical weapons at Khamisiyah.
16 Finally, I'll outline how our review
17 differs from the mandate of the agency's Gulf War
18 Illness Task Force.
19 Before getting into the substance though,
20 I'd like to briefly describe for you the role of the
21 Central Intelligence Agency Inspector General. Our
22 office was establish by statute in November of 1989 to
1 initiate and independently conduct inspections,
2 investigations, and audits related to the programs and
3 operations of the Central Intelligence Agency.
4 Like all Statutory Inspectors General, Mr.
5 Hitz, was appointed by the President subject to
6 confirmation by the Senate, and he may be removed from
7 office only by the President. Mr. Hitz reports
8 directly to the Director of Central Intelligence.
9 Our office has complete access to all
10 files, records, and employees of the agency. The key
11 to the function of the Statutory Inspector General at
12 CIA is the independence and accountability of the IAG
13 to the Director of Central Intelligence, the
14 President, and the Intelligence Committees of the
16 Turning now to our ongoing assessment
17 related to Gulf War Veteran's Illnesses, in response
18 to requests from former Director of Central
19 Intelligence, John Deutch on 31, October, 1996, we are
20 conducting an assessment of allegations by former
21 agency employees Patrick and Robin Heddington
22 concerning CIA's handling of information about the
1 possible exposure of the United States Armed Forces to
2 chemical weapons during the Gulf War.
3 Specifically our assessment is focusing on
4 the following four allegations:
5 (1) That the agency has hidden and
6 continues to hide evidence of exposure of U.S. Armed
7 Forces to chemical weapons during the War.
8 (2) That agency officials sought to hinder
9 the Heddington's inquiry into the subject of chemical
11 (3) That agency employees sought to avoid
12 reviewing honestly evidence the Heddington's
14 And finally that the Heddington's careers
15 were with the agency were effectively destroyed
16 because of their insistence on pursuing an inquiry
17 about the exposure of the U.S. Armed Forces to
18 chemical weapons during the Gulf War.
19 In November 1996, agency and components
20 were instructed to provide all relevant documents to
21 our assessment team. The data gathering effort also
22 has included relevant compartmented programs. The
1 nine-person assessment team has reviewed over 4,600
2 documents and interviewed over 100 individuals.
3 Data gathering regarding allegations
4 number two, three, and four is nearly completed, but
5 the team has not yet finished its analysis or reached
6 conclusions. Additional data gathering remains to be
7 done on allegation number one specifically regarding
8 the agency's efforts to identify and release Gulf War
9 Illness documents. At this time the team estimates
10 that it will complete its assessment in early summer.
11 We plan to prepare an unclassified version of our
12 final report.
13 I would like now -- excuse me, I would
14 like now to provide some details about our review of
15 allegation number one, that the agency has hidden and
16 continues to hide evidence of the exposure of the
17 United States Armed Forces to chemical weapons during
18 the Gulf War. I know that this subject is of
19 particular interest to the Committee.
20 The primary concerns underlying the
21 allegation appear to have been related to the removal
22 of documents from the Department of Defense Gulflink
1 Internet Site, and the handling of the Freedom of
2 Information Act requests pertaining to Gulf War
4 We are attempting to determine whether
5 evidence relating to Gulf War illnesses was
6 intentionally or inappropriately hidden. In order to
7 make a judgment as to whether or not the agency has
8 hidden information, the assessment team determined
9 that it would be necessary to explore the procedures
10 used by the agency to identify and collect Gulf War
11 Veterans illness documents, to determine the relevance
12 of those documents, and to review relevant documents
13 for declassification and release to Gulflink.
14 Analysis of these procedures will help us determine
15 whether the agency's efforts to gather and release
16 information to the public have been adequate.
17 Another area that we are studying is the
18 communication of information outside of the agency
19 such as information provided to this Committee and the
20 accuracy of Official CIA statements in the public
21 arena regarding the agency's efforts and findings on
22 Gulf War Veterans illnesses.
1 In addition in light of the President's
2 memorandum to the Committee directing attention to
3 recently declassified documents, we are specifically
4 reviewing the handling of information related to
5 Khamisiyah. We hope that our work will contribute to
6 answering the two questions that the President
7 indicated needed to be resolved, which of course as
8 you know are, when there sufficient evidence to
9 conclude that chemical munitions were present in
10 Khamisiyah, and that U.S. Armed Forces conducting
11 demolition activities there may have been exposed to
12 chemical warfare agents; and secondly, once there was
13 sufficient evidence what actions were taken, and were
14 those actions sufficient.
15 In conjunction with our review of
16 allegation number one, we are analyzing relevant
17 documents concerning Khamisiyah to determine what
18 information they contain, when the information first
19 became available to the CIA, and how credible the
20 sources were. We will determine what actions the CIA
21 took both when the information first became available
22 and when it resurfaced as part of the declassification
1 and analytic reviews that began in 1995.
2 I must emphasize that while we believe our
3 work will help answer these and other questions, the
4 jurisdiction of the Inspector General of Central
5 Intelligence Agency is limited to CIA programs and
6 operations. Work being done by the elements of the
7 Department of Defense will be crucial in any
8 determination of whether the U.S. Government, as a
9 whole, conducted itself appropriately with respect to
10 the possible exposure of U.S. Armed Forces to chemical
11 weapons during the Gulf War.
12 Finally, I would like to outline how our
13 role differs from that of the agency's Gulf War
14 Illness Task Force. The efforts of our office are
15 geared to addressing certain specific allegations made
16 by former agency employees Patrick and Robert
17 Hennington, with some additional focus on the handling
18 of information related to Khamisiyah. As we
19 understand it, the mission of the recently established
20 Gulf War Illness Task Force is primarily to provide
21 ongoing intelligence support of the U.S. Government
22 efforts on Gulf War illness issues, including
1 declassification of agency information.
2 Thank you, sir, for your attention.
3 Ladies and Gentlemen I would be pleased to try and
4 answer any questions.
5 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Thank you, Mr. Chase.
6 And now questions for either of our witnesses.
7 MS. KNOX: I have one. General Bates,
8 sir, and Mr. Chase either one, is part of your mission
9 to establish individual accountability for any
10 mistakes that were made in handling of the demolition
11 of the munitions at Khamisiyah?
12 GENERAL BATES: Well, let me take it from
13 the Army's standpoint. In a general sense, clearly
14 one of the conclusions that we could reach was a
15 failure by someone, a member of the chain of command,
16 or the chain of command as a whole in the context of
17 forced protection or other actions that they took with
18 regard to the orders that they were given.
19 So, yes, the answer is yes. That could be
20 a conclusion that we reach. And it sort of, it's sort
21 of always there when the Army IG operates in the
22 context of okay, did someone do something -- did
1 someone fail to do something and looking to the future
2 how could we do it better.
3 MR. CHASE: I think from our standpoint we
4 would be interested and we will establish personal
5 accountability for any failures regarding the
6 allegations that we're looking at. We are not looking
7 at the substance of what happened at Khamisiyah.
8 MS. GWIN: I have some questions that will
9 help the Committee address the President's most recent
10 memorandum to us. So, these questions --
11 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Go to mike.
12 MS. GWIN: These questions are for both of
13 you. When did the Government first have information
14 indicating that Khamisiyah might be a CW storage
16 GENERAL BATES: If I could look at notes
17 of what we know, I think it touches on that already.
18 And we are certainly -- I mean that is information
19 that we're looking at with regard to our effort.
20 MS. GWIN: But you don't have an answer
22 GENERAL BATES: I may have it in some of
1 my notes.
2 MS. GWIN: Mr. Chase?
3 MR. CHASE: I would prefer not to attempt
4 to answer that question here today. That will be
5 covered in our report.
6 GENERAL BATES: Let me say specifically to
7 that, Ms. Gwin, that that specific charge is not in my
8 directive. That is to say when did the Government
9 know, and what did it know. I mean, you know, I'm
10 focused on the Army and there may be something with
11 regard to the Army's investigation, my investigation,
12 of actions at Khamisiyah that can help answer that
14 But the issue of when did the American
15 Government first know something about this issue is
16 not a part of my investigation.
17 MR. LOTZ: And that is really part of our
18 charter, Ms. Gwin. And I will address that in my
20 MS. GWIN: Okay.
21 MR. CHASE: And let me just clarify if I
22 may. Our charge would include when did the CIA first
1 know anything relevant to your inquiry.
2 MS. GWIN: But you don't have the answer
3 to that?
4 MR. CHASE: I would not want to give the
5 answer now because we're really not finished analyzing
6 the data that we have.
7 MS. KNOX: But you said you would have
8 that the 30th of April, about? Was that a good time
10 MS. GWIN: The Army said the 30th of
12 MS. KNOX: The 30th, okay. The Army --
13 GENERAL BATES: We'll complete our report
14 to the Secretary on the 30th of April.
15 MS. KNOX: Okay.
16 GENERAL BATES: Part of that report will
17 not be a specific addressal of when the U.S.
18 Government knew or didn't know about chemical weapons
19 in the theater.
20 MS. KNOX: Okay. This is along the same
21 lines but I do want to ask it of both of you.
22 When did the government first have
1 information that U.S. Troops might have been exposed
2 to CW during demolition activities at Khamisiyah?
3 GENERAL BATES: Yeah. And again, I would
4 say that that specific charge of looking at when some
5 agency in the government had that information is not
6 a part of the charter I've been given by the
8 MR. CROSS: General Bates let me ask you
9 this. In your investigation of the 37th Engineer
10 Battalion, did they know they were exploding chemical
11 weapons or do you think they were given an order to
12 destroy the ammunition depot and so they just went off
13 and did their thing?
14 GENERAL BATES: Well, let me just answer
15 that in general fashion. And I believe you served in
16 the Gulf. I can't find anybody that served in the
17 Gulf that wasn't concerned about whether or not there
18 were chemical weapons there or not.
19 I mean everybody from General Schwartzkopf
20 to the most junior private serving over there was
21 concerned about this issue. So, I mean, I think what
22 as we can complete our process what will be a part of
1 that process is, all the units involved there as
2 everywhere else had this on their mind; what was the
3 status of chemical weapons, were there chemical
4 weapons, what should we do about it? And that's why
5 they were packaged with, in the case of Engineers,
6 with EOD people who had additional expertise in what
7 a chemical weapon ought to look like. And why they
8 used those people when they had some questions. So --
9 MR. CROSS: And my understanding is there
10 were Chemical Corp Officers on site.
11 GENERAL BATES: There were Chemical NCO's
12 surely because there are Chemical NCO's in company
13 sized units. So, they will always be Chemical NCO's.
14 The Chemical Officer which is assigned at Battalion
15 Headquarters level, and I haven't talked to Stan about
16 this, as to whether -- what his location was.
17 MR. CROSS: But there has been talk about
18 missing operational logs investigation getting into
19 exactly where those are located and if you can recover
21 GENERAL BATES: We are looking at some
22 pieces of that. And as you saw we talked to all the
1 CENTCOM Chemical Staff Officers, which of course
2 focuses on this issue which now Ms. Hill has been
3 asked to look at in the context of the CENTCOM
4 Chemical logs. But when we look at, okay what did you
5 find and who did you report to, that gets us into the
6 log business as well.
7 MS. GWIN: General Bates if I could follow
8 up with you for just a minute, you said you wouldn't
9 be looking Government wide at that question. But will
10 you be looking at whether the Army -- when the Army
11 knew that U.S. troops might have been exposed at
13 GENERAL BATES: Yes. I think the answer
14 to that is just in the context of interviewing people
15 and looking at the sequence of events we certainly
16 will have information in that regard.
17 MS. GWIN: And Mr. Chase, do you want me
18 to read the question again? Or --
19 MR. CHASE: Well, if you're asking will we
20 be looking at when the CIA first had any information
21 concerning whether U.S. forces were exposed at
22 Khamisiyah, yes we will be looking at that.
1 MS. GWIN: And again, one last question
2 for both of you; when did the U.S. Government first
3 seriously examine the possibility, investigate whether
4 U.S. troops may have been exposed to chemical warfare
5 agents as Khamisiyah or in other demolition
7 GENERAL BATES: In my case the answer is
8 very much the same. That's not a part of my charter
9 and we will have some pieces of that question that
10 have and will continue to surface naturally out the
11 process of interviewing, looking at logs, et cetera,
12 because, you know, we are in coordination with Dr.
13 Rostker's organization, in the context of the time
14 lines, and who knew what when. So, we have access to
15 some of that information, not chartered to look
16 specifically at that government-wide question.
17 MR. CHASE: We can't answer the question
18 for the U.S. Government as a whole. We can attempt to
19 answer the question in so far as the CIA is concerned.
20 MS. GWIN: And do you have any answer that
21 you can give us today?
22 MR. CHASE: I can't give you any specific
1 answers today.
2 MS. NISHIMI: General Bates and Mr. Chase,
3 again a question to both of you; will you be comparing
4 current and former departmental or agency officials'
5 public statements about Khamisiyah with information
6 held by the government at the time the statements were
8 GENERAL BATES: I will not.
9 MS. NISHIMI: Mr. Chase?
10 MR. CHASE: Yes, we will do so.
11 MS. NISHIMI: And how far back in time
12 will you go?
13 MR. CHASE: Insofar as the statements are
14 concerned Or insofar as the information held is
15 concerned? I don't think there would be any limit on
16 the degree to which we would go back in time to find
17 information that was held. I think as far as the
18 statements are concerned there's a logical cutoff
19 point. I don't know precisely when that would be, but
20 we would go back to whatever that logical cutoff point
22 MS. NISHIMI: Early 1991?
1 MR. CHASE: Then I think that would be it.
2 MR. TURNER: General Bates, in collecting
3 records have you depended on Bernie Rostker's group as
4 your principle source for documents and other
5 materials that you review and work in coordination
6 with them?
7 GENERAL BATES: (a) We work in
8 coordination with them. We have not been dependent on
9 them as our only source of documents. As I said we
10 looked at the declass project. We've looked at -- and
11 in talking with individuals from units, talked to them
12 about records and --
13 MR. TURNER: But you didn't put out your
14 own call to units and say, "Look and see if you have
15 anything on this".
16 GENERAL BATES: No, Sir.
17 MR. TURNER: So, you are dependent on the
18 other on going efforts in the department, is that
20 GENERAL BATES: That's correct.
21 Do you have anything to add to that sir?
22 MR. CHASE: I think actually part of my
1 team went over an got trained up on the system and how
2 to input so that we could do it ourselves. Pluse
3 we're getting a lot of stuff from individuals.
4 MR. TURNER: You're principally relying
5 upon that data base even though you have the access as
6 I understand it?
7 GENERAL BATES: That's right. We were
8 relying on the data bases that are available plus
10 MR. TURNER: Now given the scope of your
11 effort General Bates, will you be satisfied that any
12 conclusions that you reach by April 30th about the
13 existence of other Khamisiyah's, you know, that extra
14 category that's at the bottom. Can we view that as
15 the final word?
16 GENERAL BATES: I've got 33 years in this
17 business. There were 500,000 soldiers in that
18 theater. At the end of the War they were thinking
19 about from top to bottom one issue, that was get home.
20 I will -- obviously I'm not going to say absolutely
21 I'm sure another Khamisiyah is not going to pop up.
22 We're putting a lot of experience and brain power to
1 thinking about okay, where could these other places
2 have been, and trying to answer that question.
3 MR. TURNER: Do you think that any
4 supplemental effort would be useful after April 30, on
5 that particular question?
6 GENERAL BATES: I'd just give you personal
7 opinion. My personal opinion is no. I think by 30,
8 April, whereas it may -- it may come to pass that
9 someone surfaces another area that needs to be looked
10 at and conceivably another area where chemicals might
11 have been present, and might have been blown up,
12 although I doubt it, to expend additional effort, I
13 don't know what we'll gain out of that quite frankly.
14 In the context of taking care vf our Veterans and our
15 soldiers I don't think we'll gain from that, nor do I
16 think we'll gain the context of how we ought to do
17 business from a training and doctrine standpoint in
18 the future.
19 MR. TURNER: I guess my concern is in
20 part, you were here when we talked to the previous
21 panel about the frag order, and the specific lists of
22 other potential chemical warfare sites. Will you have
1 done as much as can be done --
2 GENERAL BATES: Yes, Sir.
3 MR. TURNER: -- by April 30, to track
4 those down?
5 GENERAL BATES: We are aware of that frag
6 order. We're looking at those issues. And they are -
7 - they are interesting issues that we will provide to
8 you when we're finished.
9 MR. TURNER: Mr. Chase, I believe you said
10 that you anticipated issuing a report in early summer?
11 MR. CHASE: Yes, that's correct.
12 MR. TURNER: When will a declassified
13 version of that report be available?
14 MR. CHASE: Well, I would hope that it
15 would be available -- I would hope that it would be
16 available concurrently or very shortly there after.
17 Because we have in mind -- we've had in mind from the
18 onset that there is such interest in this subject that
19 a unclassified report would be necessary. So, it's
20 not that we would start that process when we issue a
21 classified report. We'll have that in mind from the
1 MR. TURNER: So, when you have a report
2 you expect to have an unclassified version that can go
3 forth into the world.
4 MR. BATES: I wouldn't commit -- I
5 wouldn't commit to having it the same day but I would
6 say shortly there after.
7 MR. TURNER: Fair enough.
8 MR. CROSS: General, based upon what
9 you've seen so far, would you agree that mistakes were
10 probably made a Khamisiyah?
11 GENERAL BATES: In the general sense that
12 almost everything that you look at in the context of
13 military operation, you can see where things should
14 have been done better, that's probably correct. But
15 I'm not prepared to say now based on the information
16 that was available there to the chain of command that
17 there were -- there were significant mistakes done in
18 the context of how they did business.
19 MR. CROSS: And based on that, when your
20 final report does come out, will it contain
21 recommendations of either changes in training or
22 addition to training --
1 GENERAL BATES: Absolutely.
2 MR. CROSS: -- to avoid these things in
3 the future?
4 GENERAL BATES: Absolutely. If those are
5 -- if they make sense that is one of our principal
7 MR. CROSS: And, sir, you mentioned
8 earlier, I'm a Veteran of Desert Storm also and my
9 take on the chemical and biological weapons was we
10 paid lip service for many many years, but that's okay.
11 I think regardless of that once we're over there we,
12 you know, the equipment showed up and the people
13 didn't know how to use it. Although in many cases it
14 was the first time that some of the detector units
15 were in the hands of the guys who were supposed to
16 know how to use it.
17 What is your assessment today of our
18 chemical and biological defenses and our training?
19 And is that something that we continue to need
20 additional work, maybe new equipment, and that type of
22 GENERAL BATES: Maybe the short answer to
1 that is number one, you're probably right over the --
2 well, over the years our focus in the chemical and
3 biological arena was obviously a cold war based focus,
4 because of our concern of what the Warsaw Pact had.
5 And that in fact was the way we entered
6 the Gulf War, with a knowledge of and a focus on the
7 Warsaw Pact equipment and a concern that the Iraqis as
8 a surrogate, or who had receive a lot of training and
9 doctrinal support from the Soviets, would employ
10 chemicals in a fashion that we had been concerned
11 about in Central Europe.
12 We remain concerned about chemical and
13 biological defenses. I think our -- it is fair to say
14 our focus has shifted now because there is no threat
15 out there like there was with the Warsaw Pact during
16 the cold war. Now what we're concerned more about is
17 the sort of -- either the terrorist activity or the --
18 or the sort of random terrorist act that a rogue state
19 could use in the context of a military operation.
20 The fact is even in the Gulf War we knew
21 that Iraq could not be decisive with the use of
22 chemical weapons, decisive in a military context, but
1 if they were able to deploy that kind of weapon on a
2 significant troop population they might have been
3 decisive in a geopolitical sense in the realm of
4 public opinion et cetera.
5 So, the concern for terrorism, the concern
6 for a potential adversary not to have the sort of
7 capabilities that the Soviets or the Warsaw Pact had,
8 but that they could have a capability which could be
9 used in a -- in a what I would call a terrorist sense
10 continues to concern us.
11 Now that said, do we spend as much time in
12 training on those issues as we did during the cold
13 war? And the answer to that is no. Are we spending
14 enough? I don't know. We're still concerned about
15 it, we know it's an issue that has to be addressed and
16 certainly I can't speak with any level of expertise in
17 R&D area. In fact Colonel Morris could probably
18 certainly speak better than I could in that regard but
19 we continue to focus on this issue.
20 DR. CASSELLS: General Bates, we have
21 assumed, but I want to nail it down for certain, that
22 your report which is due to the Secretary the 30th of
1 April, is also going to include a subsequent release
2 of an unclassified version to the public as the CIA
3 has indicated.
4 GENERAL BATES: Of course the Secretary
5 decides what he wants to do with the report. I have
6 not talked to him specifically about this. Obviously
7 he will provide it to Doctor Rostker. I don't believe
8 it will be a classified report. It will become part
9 of public domain when it is released.
10 MR. TURNER: General Bates, just a last
11 question from me. You indicated that you coordinated
12 with Doctor Rostker's group before a narratives are
13 released, do kind of a rough spot check back and
14 forth. Do your preliminary findings on Khamisiyah
15 diverge from what was presented in Doctor Rostker's
16 narrative in any significant respect?
17 GENERAL BATES: A better way to say it is,
18 we don't have any disagreement of what their narrative
20 MR. TURNER: Thank you.
21 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Okay. We'll thank
22 our witnesses and appreciate your coming and Mr. Lotz
1 I invite you to remain at the table. And Robert
2 Walpole, if we can invite you back up and is Sylvia
3 Copeland coming as well? Please come forward.
4 Okay. Mr. Lotz please introduce yourself,
5 and go ahead.
6 MR. LOTZ: Dr. Landrigan and members of
7 the Committee, I am George Lotz. I'm the Deputy
8 Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Intelligence
9 Oversight. And I'm here today representing Walter
10 Jajko who is the Assistant to the Secretary for Intel
11 oversight. And he is not able to be here today
12 because of illness.
13 In accordance to your request, my
14 statement is an outline of the objective, content,
15 organization, process, and time table of the work in
16 progress by the Mitre Corporation pursuant to a
17 tasking to me from the Deputy Secretary of Defense.
18 On the 25th of September, 1996, the Deputy
19 Secretary directed us to investigate what information
20 was available to Defense concerning Khamisiyah and
21 similar chemical warfare sites in Iraq, what Defense
22 did with that information, and whether as a result of
1 the investigation any procedures should be changed.
2 Within days of the Deputy Secretary's
3 direction, we wrote to the heads of the military
4 departments, the unified commands through the Chairman
5 of the Joint Chiefs, and Defense Intelligence and
6 other agencies, plus the CIA and the Department of
7 State to provide us with a list of all pertinent
8 information related to the investigation that had been
9 made available to DOD during four time periods; first,
10 the duration of the Iran-Iraq War; second, from the
11 Iran-Iraq War to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait; third,
12 Desert Shield/Desert Storm and; fourth, from the end
13 of Desert Storm to the time of the Deputy Secretary's
15 We were seeking to examine the collection,
16 processing, analysis, dissemination, receipt and use
17 of any information concerning these sites that had
18 been made available to DOD at any organizational
19 level, in the United States or overseas, preceding,
20 during, and after the destruction at Khamisiyah.
21 When we issued our call for data, I had
22 little idea of the magnitude and complexity of the
1 task. Within weeks however, I found that there are
2 millions of seemingly relevant documents ranging in
3 size from one to several hundred pages, unclassified
4 and at all levels of classification and
5 compartmentation, many of which are in computerized
6 data bases, many others which exist only in paper
8 Collecting, indexing, cross referencing,
9 collating, retrieving, exploiting, and analyzing these
10 documents obviously was too large a task for and
11 beyond the technical competence of our small staff of
12 five professional intelligence officers, especially
13 since our primary mission of oversight inspections had
14 to continue within the department.
15 Therefore our office sought assistance
16 from a private consulting firm with experience in
17 creating computer programs for massive disparate data
18 bases, and in conducting sophisticated sensitive
19 intelligence analysis.
20 Based on consistent advice throughout the
21 department, DOD contracted with the Mitre Corporation
22 of Bedford, Massachusetts and McLean, Virginia, a
1 federally funded research and development center for
2 six months at a cost of $1.9 million.
3 Mitre's task is to conduct an independent
4 objective and comprehensive and analytical study which
5 they will provide to us along with the data base which
6 they have developed for their analysis. It is
7 important to note that this study is based on full
8 access to intelligence and operational information
9 without regard to classification or distribution
10 restrictions. It's also important to note that
11 although Mitre is performing the research and analysis
12 for this investigation, the report will be an official
13 Department of Defense report of investigation from the
14 Assistant to the Secretary for Intelligence Oversight
15 directly to the Deputy Secretary of Defense.
16 Mitre is exploiting more than 55 million
17 documents at all security classifications from a
18 multitude of government agencies, but mostly from DOD
19 organizations. Most of the relevant information is
20 located in a number of disparate data bases which
21 Mitre has had to assemble into some usable and
22 meaningful system. Mitre assigned five full time
1 Senior Administrators, Managers, and Security
2 Technicians to this project and moved and integrated
3 several main computers to create a large information
4 handling system in its McLean, Virginia headquarters
5 to enable its analysis.
6 This computer combination has a total
7 storage capacity of approximately a hundred gigabytes
8 sufficient to handle approximately 30 million pages of
9 documents. Mitre, having assigned eight technicians,
10 has been and is receiving, translating and
11 transferring, indexing and referencing, and processing
12 information 24 hours a day seven days a week. Mitre
13 has assigned 14 analysts to analyze the accumulated
14 materials seven days a week. It's important to note
15 that the Mitre team has exchanged records,
16 information, techniques, and views with the other
17 defense teams to their mutual benefit.
18 As the Mitre team's research and analysis
19 has progressed, exchanges of information with the
20 Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Gulf
21 War Illnesses, Dr Rostker, have increased in volume
22 and in value. An additional source of information
1 that Mitre is exploiting is interviews, conducted
2 jointly with our office, of individuals from DOD and
3 the national security and intelligence communities who
4 held key positions or had some relevant experience
5 during the Gulf War.
6 Unfortunately because of the volume and
7 the priority of the record information that needs to
8 be analyzed not all of these interviews will have been
9 conducted by the time of the final report.
10 Additionally an attempt will be made to interview key
11 members of the coalition forces who were reported to
12 have been involved in a chemical warfare incident or
13 were knowledgeable of the location or employment of
14 chemical weapons.
15 Unfortunately because of the time
16 constraint and the volume of the material Mitre's
17 analytical effort has necessarily been circumscribed.
18 Mitre has limited its research to chemical weapons
19 excluding the other weapons of mass destruction.
20 Mitre also has prioritized its research concentrating
21 on the period from just prior to Iraq's invasion of
22 Kuwait through Desert Shield and Desert Storm to the
1 immediate post-hostilities period.
2 The issues which Mitre is examining
3 include determining what information was known to DOD
5 (1) Iraqi chemical warfare capability, and
6 Iraqi employment doctrine prior to its invasion of
8 (2) The presence or lack of chemical
9 weapons at Khamisiyah and in the rest of the Kuwait
10 theater of operations.
11 (3) The presence or lack of
12 distinguishable markings on chemical weapons.
13 (4) The possibility that actual use,
14 deliberate or accidental, of chemical weapons actually
16 Mitre also is examining the expectations
17 of U.S. Forces in theater as to Iraqi use of chemical
18 weapons, the flow of information relating to chemical
19 weapons in intelligence and operational channels, and
20 the intelligence priority given to chemical warfare.
21 Additionally Mitre is investigating any
22 possibility of critical information having been
1 withheld from U.S. Forces in theater because of
2 restrictions on dissemination due to the sensitivity
3 of the sources and methods of obtaining the
5 Although Mitre was chosen for this
6 investigation because of its intellectual independence
7 and power, we insisted on several independent and
8 parallel checks of our own. We established a so-
9 called B-team of six individuals, each of whom we know
10 well, and each of whom we chose because of their high
11 intelligence and intellectual acuity, perceptiveness,
12 subtlety and integrity, and the rigor of their logic
13 and their ability to look at things differently, to
14 think out of the box.
15 Also at our request the Army assigned a
16 combat arms colonel, who commanded a battalion in the
17 Gulf War, and whose experience and intelligence is
18 limited to his former role as a user. He provides the
19 ground truth of how intelligence is really used in the
20 fog of war in high tempo intensive combat.
21 The B-team has worked selectively but
22 closely with Mitre to insure that anomalies are not
1 ignored, and alternative analysis and explanations are
2 pursued as appropriate. The intellectual rapport of
3 the B-team with the Mitre team and benefit to the
4 analysis have been all that I could have hoped for.
5 Additionally we established a Senior
6 Advisory Committee composed of senior leaders at the
7 General Officer and Deputy Assistant Secretary levels
8 from those elements from the Office of the Secretary
9 of Defense, and the Joint Staff who have a functional
10 policy interest in this investigation. The Committee
11 includes representatives from intelligence, policy,
12 public affairs, health affairs, administration and
13 management, and legislative affairs, plus the Joint
14 Staff's operations and intelligence sides representing
15 the unified commands as well as Dr. Rostker's group.
16 Attached to the committee as a special
17 consultant is General Robert Kingston, United States
18 Army Retired, a former four star Commander in Chief of
19 the U.S. Central Command.
20 We have a fast approaching deadline to
21 complete our investigation. Mitre began its work
22 officially on 3, December, 1996. Since then Mitre has
1 acted with all good speed consistent with providing a
2 complete and useful product. Mitre is to provide us
3 with a preliminary report on 31, March, and a final
4 report on 30, April. Both of these reports will be
5 classified at whatever level is necessary to be
6 responsive to our direction from the Deputy Secretary.
7 However, Mitre, our office, and other government
8 agencies as appropriate will work diligently to create
9 an unclassified report by 31, May for the Deputy
10 Secretary's review.
11 We expect to take each of Mitre's reports
12 as we find necessary and appropriate, add to them our
13 own comments, observations, and recommendations to the
14 Deputy Secretary of Defense in reply to his three-fold
15 recommendation -- direction rather to us.
16 We can never be absolutely certain we have
17 and have examined all the relevant material. But I
18 firmly believe that we're doing our best to insure
19 that this investigation will be as complete and as
20 accurate as possible. Moreover there is a
21 possibility that Mitre will be asked to pursue those
22 issues to conduct that research and analysis which the
1 allotted time did not permit.
2 From the time we received the tasking from
3 the Deputy Secretary, we and the Mitre team have been
4 mindful of the necessity to arrive at the truth so far
5 as the available information will allow and to allay
6 if possible the accusation that the Department of
7 Defense broke faith with its troops. As such the
8 Mitre team and I are convinced that the credibility of
9 this Department of Defense investigation will rest on
10 the rigor, accuracy, objectivity, honesty, integrity,
11 and completeness of the research and analysis.
12 That completes my statement and I'll be
13 pleased to respond to your questions.
14 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Let's go on and hear
15 from Mr. Walpole and then we'll take some questions
16 for both of you.
17 MR. WALPOLE: Well, as I indicated this
18 morning, I have been appointed George Tennant's
19 Special Assistant for Persian Gulf War illnesses
20 issues. In conjunction with that title I also have
21 the title of Chief of the Persian Gulf War Illnesses
22 Task Force that he had start its work on March 3rd of
1 this year. This was to support the President in his
2 goal of getting to the bottom of questions regarding
3 these veterans' illnesses, and to be as helpful as we
4 can to this Committee and its intensified effort.
5 The mission of this Task Force is to
6 provide intensive aggressive intelligence support to
7 the numerous
8 U.S. Government efforts to address these illnesses
9 issues. As to its scope, the Task Force will manage
10 all intelligence aspects of the issue with the goal to
11 get to the bottom of it and to be forthcoming in our
13 Throughout this 60-day effort and by the
14 conclusion thereof, the Task Force will insure that
15 every conceivable stone has been overturned. The Task
16 Force includes 50 personnel drawn from across all of
17 CIA's directorates, as well as from DIA, NSA, NIMA,
18 and others in the Department of Defense. As George
19 Tennant's Special Assistant I attend his morning staff
20 meetings each day and am able to apprise him of the
21 progress that we're making.
22 Responsibilities and activities of the
1 Task Force include reviewing the previous search
2 criteria used in other efforts at the agency, and
3 conducting additional searches as required, managing
4 and accelerating the ongoing declassification efforts,
5 insuring the passage of related classified material to
6 DOD and others in a useful manner, and what I mean by
7 that is, in a manner in which they can quickly
8 retrieve information that bears on a particular
9 question that they have, supporting on going modeling
10 efforts as we discussed earlier this morning,
11 implementing a comprehensive process of communications
12 with DOD, the National Security Council, this
13 Committee, appropriate Congressional Committees and
14 the media and public. A strategic prospective that
15 we'll develop will help drive the completion of all
16 our efforts in a timely manner.
17 And finally providing analysis of relevant
18 information, and this final point is particularly
19 important. While the agency has had other Task Force
20 efforts involved in this search and declassification
21 effort, this is the first time we have fully
22 integrated an analytical component into the Task
1 Force. This component will run to ground every thread
2 of interest we uncover in the issue or have uncovered
3 in the past, and we'll prepare papers providing the
4 analytical context surrounding relevant material.
5 For example, Dee Morris earlier today made
6 a couple of comments from the case narrative, that the
7 intelligence community didn't believe this or did
8 believe this. One of this group's efforts will be to
9 provide the analytical context, what was going on in
10 the analyst's mind that led to those conclusions at
11 that time, what was happening.
12 One of the Task Force's initial efforts
13 has been to insure that we can answer the following
14 questions, particularly as they relate to Khamisiyah.
15 We must be able to answer them clearly, accurately,
16 thoroughly with high competence and for the most part
17 unclassified. That's what did we know when about
18 Khamisiyah, that's what did we the intelligence
19 community know? What did we do with that information
20 internally and when? And what did we do with the
21 information externally and when?
22 During the task force's two weeks of
1 operation we focused on review in the previous search
2 criteria, passing additional classified material that
3 we'd discovered to the Department of Defense, the
4 Hill, and to your Committee, declassify any additional
5 material, analyzing threads that we find on
6 Khamisiyah, meeting with the Department of Defense
7 several times, the National Security Council, this
8 Committee, and appropriate Congressional Committees,
9 I think that we've had six meetings with five
10 different Committees so far, decreasing uncertainty in
11 the modeling inputs, including through our efforts
12 with DOD to pursue the ground testing that I talked
13 about earlier today and implementing elements of a
14 comprehensive communication strategy.
15 Of course in the coming weeks we'll pursue
16 new search efforts, continue declassifying material,
17 and doing the analysis I described a moment ago, and
18 all the regular meetings with the Department of
19 Defense and the others that I mentioned, preparing
20 unclassified papers as necessary, like one of our
21 efforts was the item on the Khamisiyah pit with the
22 photographs that we passed out today, continue
1 implementing elements of the communication strategy
2 and meet with Veteran's groups, and to develop and
3 support further plans for reducing the uncertainty in
4 the modeling.
5 By the end of the 60 days we will have
6 insured the release of as much information as
7 possible. And we want to do this from a strategic
8 perspective, not to have a dripping of information,
9 but to have it come out so that it's a manner that's
10 usable. Also by the end of the 60 days the Task Force
11 will prepare a list of lessons learned, and
12 recommendations for CIA and the intelligence community
13 regarding enhanced intelligence support, especially
14 before, during, and after a conflict.
15 Now in conclusion I would like to stress
16 the agency's and community's commitment to providing
17 this Committee and other appropriate government
18 agencies with the intelligence support that you
19 require. To do any less would be a disservice to the
20 men and women who served this country in the Persian
21 Gulf. We owe them a full and accurate accounting of
22 what happened during the final days of Desert Storm,
1 and the following days and weeks before their return
2 to the United States.
3 Mr. Tennant and I intend to do everything
4 in our power to insure the maximum amount of
5 information is released to you, and to many concerned
6 veteran groups, and the public at large. I know one
7 of the questions that is probably on your mind is, so
8 when 60 days is over you're done. It's a fair
9 question and I guess I would have liked to hope when
10 I started this that the answer to that is yes. I've
11 been into it two weeks now and know that the answer is
12 not a clear yes. Based on what we've heard from Mr.
13 Lotz a moment ago, they're going to have a classified
14 report at the end of our 60 days which happens to
15 follow the 30th of April. They want to have an
16 unclassified report in the following month. I know
17 that some of the people that we have working on the
18 Task Force now will be helping in that
19 declassification effort as part of the other
20 government agencies he mentioned.
21 If our work is not done at the end of 60
22 days, it will continue. As I said before I'm going to
1 stress the commitment to provide this. The 60 days
2 was really laid out to parallel your 60-day
3 intensified effort. We want to get this information
4 completed. We would like to get it done in an
5 expeditious manner. I would be delighted to see it
6 completely done in 60 days.
7 And there are days when I drive home an
8 figure we're going to make it. And there are days
9 when I drive home and think, all right so it's going
10 to go a little beyond 60 days. But every effort is
11 going to be made to get this done in a very quick
13 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: Thank you very much.
14 Thank both of you. And now we're open for questions.
15 MS. GWIN: I have my same three questions
16 that I asked the previous panel.
17 It seems from your testimony that these
18 questions are clearly within the scope of what each of
19 you are looking at, so I would like to see what you
20 can tell us today.
21 When did the government first have
22 information that Khamisiyah might be a CW storage
2 MR. LOTZ: You are correct that that is
3 within our charter. I would prefer not to give you an
4 answer to that today because Mitre's work is still a
5 work in progres, what they have right now, and what we
6 know is very clearly preliminary data which may be
7 overturned by further analysis that they plan to take.
8 But we're really talking about our office receiving
9 their preliminary report when I would hope we would be
10 able to answer that question at the end of March.
11 The full report I look at and I think
12 Mitre does as fleshing out in greater detail what they
13 have learned during these last four months of the
14 cranking of the data and the analysis. So, I think it
15 would be a disservice to really to try to answer that
16 question right now. It will be in the -- it should be
17 in the 31, March report. And as soon as we could get
18 that information declassified, and have the Deputy and
19 the Secretary's approval, I think we could certainly
20 make that available to the Committee.
21 MS. GWIN: Mr. Walpole?
22 MR. WALPOLE: Yeah. Let me provide some
1 context to my answer before I give it. First off, we
2 really want to provide the information in a form and
3 a context that makes sense together. And that's when
4 I made the comment before about dripping of
6 So, we are aggressively pursuing all of
7 the information we have collected up to this point
8 about Khamisiyah. That said, we also want to be
9 forthcoming. So, what we have discovered up to this
10 point is that in 1986, we had some intelligence
11 information that chemical weapons were probably stored
12 at Khamisiyah during the Iran/Iraq War. That doesn't
13 tell us whether they continued up until the point of
14 time that we're discussing in '91. This was part of
15 the sort of looking.
16 As I debated you were asking the question,
17 I was debating when you were asking the IG the same
18 question, I thought, you know, I'm going to be in
19 trouble either way. If I answer the question I'm
20 dripping information. If I don't answer the question
21 I'm withholding information. If I wait until 60 days
22 then I'm really in trouble. So, we're trying to work
1 this out in a manner that addresses your concerns.
2 We are working aggressively to declassify
3 the documents that that is taken from but I know that
4 I can say what I've said at this point in an
5 unclassified manner, and that's fine. And that's
6 really what you're looking for is how early do we have
8 MS. GWIN: So, it's 1986.
9 MS. NISHIMI: So, if I could just follow
10 up because I did have a question on that, and not to
11 interrupt the flow too badly but on February 26,
12 acting DCI, George Tennant, released a statement to
13 which a fact sheet was attached that CIA gave to the
14 Committee. And as part of this fact sheet the
15 statement is quote, "CIA did not identify Khamisiyah
16 as a possible CW facility until 1995, and it was
17 confirmed in 1996."
18 So, today two or three weeks later, what
19 I just heard you say was that in fact is an inaccurate
21 MR. WALPOLE: That particular statement --
22 let me explain because I remember you had an
1 explanation that actually made sense on that. There
2 was a -- go ahead.
3 MS. COPELAND: The fact that we had
4 information in 1986, was not incorporated into our
5 intelligence judgments when we had to come up with
6 what CW facilities we thought Iraq held. So, we did
7 not identify Khamisiyah as a CW facility.
8 When we put together that particular
9 statement that you just read, we were -- we were
10 focusing on the fact of a release at Khamisiyah and
11 that was not confirmed until 1986. And we started
12 looking into it in 19 -- excuse me, I refer to 1996,
13 we did not start looking until 1995. So, we should
14 have added more words to that statement.
15 MS. GWIN: So the correct statement is --
16 MR. WALPOLE: The '95 date, the people
17 that put that together, the '95 date was focusing on
18 when Khamisiyah became an issue here.
19 MS. COPELAND: For release.
20 MS. NISHIMI: Right. But an accurate
21 statement is that CIA did have in 1986, information
22 that identified Khamisiyah as a possible CW facility.
1 That's an accurate statement.
2 MR. WALPOLE: That is correct.
3 MS. COPELAND: Yes. But analytically when
4 we put out a list --
5 MS. NISHIMI: I understand. I'm going to
6 the veracity or -- of the statements.
7 MR. TURNER: And the CIA knew of the
8 existence of this 1986 information when that statement
9 went out. You people knew about the existence of the
10 1986 information, didn't you?
11 MS. COPELAND: Yes.
12 MS. GWIN: Okay. Are either of you
13 prepared to say today when did the government have
14 information indicating that U.S. troops may have been
15 exposed to CW in the demolition activities at
17 MR. LOTZ: I don't yet have a complete
18 picture on that.
19 MR. WALPOLE: In hindsight we had the
20 Iraqi's comments to the UNSCOM inspectors. So, in
21 hindsight that's when we had it. That wasn't
22 interpreted that way at the time.
1 MS. NISHIMI: And then my final question
2 is, when did the Government first seriously examine
3 the possibility that U.S. troops may have been exposed
4 to CW in the Khamisiyah demolition activities?
5 MR. WALPOLE: What is the date on that?
6 MS. COPELAND: Well that one -- that one
7 would just be CIA when we started looking at it.
8 MR. WALPOLE: Yeah. I mean, you want --
9 you want us to focus on CIA, correct?
10 MS. COPELAND: Which is -- which was --
11 yeah, when Larry started this study in -- when we
12 first began the efforts.
13 MS. NISHIMI: In '95?
14 MS. COPELAND: In '95.
15 MS. NISHIMI: Thank you.
16 MR. WALPOLE: So your --
17 MR. LOTZ: That hasn't changed from
18 anything that we've --
19 MS. COPELAND: Yeah. That's -- that was
20 when we started our focus --
21 MR. WALPOLE: What we have focused our
22 efforts on Khamisiyah on was, what documents existed
1 from various searches and various fill-ins on this
2 name Khamisiyah, and Al Khamisiyah, and every spelling
3 that we've come up with. And that's where some of
4 these other documents come up.
5 MS. NISHIMI: Well, if I could -- since
6 you raised the issue of spelling, if I could again
7 return to the fact sheet that was attached to Mr.
8 Tennant's statement on the 26th, the first bullet says
9 quote, "The February 1991 raw unconfirmed intelligence
10 cable informed DOD of the possible presence of
11 chemical weapons in the An Nasiriyah region which
12 includes Khamisiyah though it was not mentioned by
13 name in the report."
14 Is it accurate to say that the
15 intelligence CIA passed to CENTCOM in February 1991
16 did not identify Khamisiyah by any means?
17 MR. WALPOLE: By name.
18 MS. NISHIMI: By any means is my question.
19 MR. WALPOLE: Let me -- let me explain
20 what it did do rather than try to address a negative.
21 That meant the information passed to the Department of
22 Defense was geographic coordinates to the degrees and
1 minutes, it did not include seconds, and stated that
2 this was -- that it was possible that chemical weapons
3 were stored near these coordinates.
4 Now the coordinates certainly fell in the
5 An Nasiriyah region and they fell in the Al Khamisiyah
6 region. But it did not mention Khamisiyah by name nor
7 did the information mention An Nasiriyah by name.
8 MS. COPELAND: But analytically when we as
9 analysts got that information, we interpreted it as An
11 MS. NISHIMI: I guess I would just pose
12 that at this point on February 26th of this year to
13 put out a statement that implies that the raw
14 intelligence from February 1991, went to the general
15 area of An Nasiriyah when you knew that in fact that
16 that intelligence contained map coordinates is
17 somewhat disingenuous.
18 MR. WALPOLE: That fact sheet when it was
19 prepared was trying to get at the information while
20 protecting the sources and methods. When the Task
21 Force was stood up and we looked very hard at this
22 issue, it was determined that particularly since there
1 was some misunderstanding of what was and was not
2 passed, that we would get what was actually passed
3 declassified. We're in the process of doing that.
4 Again, I mean you've caught me where I'm giving you
5 what I can, but coordinates were what was passed, not
7 MR. TURNER: And the coordinates do in
8 fact plot to Khamisiyah don't they?
9 MS. COPELAND: Very close.
10 MR. TURNER: Very close. In response to
11 Ms. Gwin's question just so it's clear, your testimony
12 is that the government first had information
13 indicating that U.S. troops might have been exposed to
14 CW at Khamisiyah in November of '91, is that correct?
15 MR. WALPOLE: I didn't quite answer it
16 that way. What I'm saying is, in hindsight now we're
17 able to look at that information and say, well if I
18 said later than that with the hindsight that we have,
19 that would be wrong. That wasn't how the information
20 was viewed at the time --
21 MR. TURNER: I understand that. I
22 understand that.
1 MR. WALPOLE: -- including by UNSCOM
2 inspectors, but in hindsight that's your information.
3 MR. CROSS: Where did the coordinates come
4 from, the Iraqis themselves?
5 MR. WALPOLE: No. The -- we got the
6 coordinates through foreign intermediaries, from
7 another foreign country.
8 MR. CROSS: Okay.
9 MR. WALPOLE: And that's part of the stuff
10 that --
11 MR. TURNER: But didn't we hear earlier
12 today that that information at the time was not
13 creditable, or the CIA took it as not creditable
14 information? Is that what I heard earlier?
15 MR. WALPOLE: No. I think what you were
16 talking about earlier today was the -- was the UNSCOM
17 inspection stuff.
18 MS. COPELAND: Right.
19 MR. WALPOLE: This -- the Iraqis were not
20 involved in the information that we're just talking
21 about here.
22 MS. COPELAND: But we interpreted that
1 information to be An Nasiriyah that we had been
2 looking at. So when we received those coordinates
3 that was our interpretation of what those coordinates
5 MS. NISHIMI: If there aren't any other
6 questions what I would like to do now is move to the
7 next steps.
8 CHAIRMAN LANDRIGAN: And thank the
9 witnesses. Thank you very much all of you.
10 MS. NISHIMI: Because the Committee is
11 required as you know to issue a letter or a report by
12 April 30th, to the President at the time the plan had
13 been that I discussed with Dr. Lashof that it would be
14 a progress report intervening events as you are aware,
15 the President issued a memorandum to the Committee
16 reemphasizing his interest in the documents related to
17 the Khamisiyah demolitions.
18 And so as part of that effort we
19 rearranged our schedule here and asked to review the
20 efforts of the Army Inspector General, the CIA
21 Inspector General, Mr. Walpole's Task Force, and Mr.
22 Lotz' efforts.
1 The President was concerned about the
2 significance of the February 19, 1991 warnings to the
3 Army about chemical weapons at Khamisiyah. He was
4 also concerned about two questions; when did we have
5 sufficient evidence to conclude that chemical
6 munitions were present in Khamisiyah and that U.S.
7 forces conducting demolition activities may have been
8 exposed to chemical warfare agents, and the second
9 question; once we had that information what actions
10 were taken by whom to investigate this alarming
11 possibility and were those actions sufficient.
12 The Staff has had the opportunity to
13 conduct several Staff briefings, Staff interviews, and
14 a review of both classified and unclassified material
15 and the Committee has now had the opportunity to
16 receive the testimony of many of the individuals who
17 are involved in the ongoing efforts.
18 As you know some of these efforts will not
19 be completed prior to the Committee's reporting. But
20 even that aside, the Staff has made some preliminary
21 assessments on possible findings for the Committee to
22 consider, and Ms. Gwin will present the Staff's work
1 in this regard.
2 MS. GWIN: Okay. First finding, I think
3 it's clear from the testimony that we heard today is
4 that the IG activities alone cannot provide answers to
5 the questions posed by the President.
6 However, with the addition of the
7 activities of the Assistant to the Secretary of
8 Defense for Intelligence Oversight, it is possible
9 that the data necessary to answer the questions posed
10 by the President up to the question of sufficiency
11 will be gathered. But no entity has the clear action
12 on integrating the data to provide a comprehensive
13 assessment of the government-wide response to
14 Khamisiyah, or on actions needed for the future.
15 The scope of the question of sufficiency
16 needs to be clarified. By that we mean is the goal to
17 insure accountability by individuals or institutions
18 responsible for CBW agent safety and service members
19 health or is the goal to establish and to insure
20 implementation of more effective policies and
21 procedures. No current activity appears to be
22 addressed toward the former goal. Fulfilling the
1 latter goal requires a means of integrating the
2 multiple efforts.
3 The National Security Council is the
4 organization best suited to the task of integrating
5 the results of the multiple efforts into a
6 comprehensive government policy. The Committee is not
7 the appropriate entity to address this matter.
8 The recently declassified documents fuel
9 speculation about a cover up but have no substantial
10 impact on the findings and recommendations in the
11 Committee's final report. The Committee there
12 concluded that the evidence of possible exposure of
13 U.S. troops at Khamisiyah was overwhelming. The
14 documents do not alter that finding.
15 The intelligence community clearly
16 possessed information prior to and during the Gulf War
17 that establishes reasonable cause for concern that
18 Khamisiyah was a CW storage facility. Operational
19 records indicate this concern was conveyed to some
20 level of the military services in a timely manner. It
21 is not clear that the appropriate commanders were
22 aware of heightened concern about Khamisiyah compared
1 to other storage depots. And currently it appears
2 that the information did not pass from one command to
3 another when responsibility for the Khamisiyah site
5 No later than December 1991 the
6 intelligence community, the military services, and any
7 other government entity concerned about follow up to
8 the Gulf War had or should have had information that
9 U.S. forces could have been exposed to CW Weapons
10 agents during demolition activities at Khamisiyah.
11 The government acquired additional
12 information that substantiated these reasons for
13 concern during 1992. The final finding that we
14 present for the Committee's consideration today is
15 that no government sponsored investigation of the
16 possibility of CW exposure at Khamisiyah occurred
17 until late 1995, despite congressional and DSB Task
18 Force inquiries prior to that time.
19 MS. NISHIMI: Does the Committee have any
20 questions, the remaining Committee members? Dr.
21 Lashof and I have discussed this on the phone and she
22 had no major comments. But we're interested in
1 whether Committee has -- would like to discuss any of
2 these in particular.
3 MS. KNOX: I would just say in response to
4 this third bullet, the scope of the question of
5 sufficiency needs that needs to be clarified, I think
6 both of those need to be carried out.
7 MS. NISHIMI: Okay. John?
8 Okay then, Ann? The meeting is adjourned.
9 (Whereupon, at 4:00 p.m. the above-
10 entitled matter concluded.)