Our investigation indicates that before and during the Gulf War, while there was considerable concern that attacks on Iraqi chemical or biological warfare facilities held the potential of releasing contaminants into the environment and possibly threatening Coalition forces, no modeling or simulations to predict such effects were available in a timely manner. The president and his leadership team relied on the expertise of the senior military planners to conduct the air campaign, and the opinions of chemical and biological experts were crucial to the successful execution of that campaign. Chemical weapons experts believed that chemical warfare agent contaminants would be contained within the confines of any production or storage facilities attacked. Biological weapons experts believed there could be risks to Coalition forces if biological warfare agent production and storage facilities in Iraq were bombed. However, these same experts advised that any biological release would degrade upon release to minimize the risk to Coalition servicemembers. Our investigation found no evidence that any government or civilian agency used computer modeling and simulation tools to evaluate the possible release hazards of Coalition air attacks on Iraq's chemical or biological weapons production and storage facilities in time to provide this information to the decision-makers before Coalition attacks.

The report mentioned in USA Today and the Army Times articles was not an in-depth study nor was it computer-based modeling of an attack against an Iraqi chemical warfare storage bunker. The report consisted of a memorandum from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory demonstrating its ability to conduct chemical dispersion modeling. Unfortunately, the report released under the Freedom of Information Act was not the complete Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory memorandum and erroneously included dispersion graphics from another project dealing with possible nuclear fallout.

As part of the Office of the Special Assistant’s continuing investigations, we are gathering information related to the possible release of chemical warfare agents during the Gulf War. Post-war inspections and Iraqi declarations indicate that chemical warfare agents were present at three locations bombed during the Gulf War, but intelligence community assessments and preliminary computer modeling conducted after the Gulf War concluded that any agents possibly released would not have reached Coalition forces.

This information topic remains open. Should additional information become available, it will be incorporated. If you have records, photographs, recollections, or find errors in the details reported, please call 1-800-497-6261.

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