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Chemical and Biological Warfare in DESERT STORM? [U]

Defense Intelligence Report
April 1994

           Chemical and Biological Warfare in DESERT STORM? [U]

                               Key Judgments

Responding to recent Publicity regarding the many unexplained 
medical problems suffered by Gulf War veterans, DIA assesses that 
exposure to chemical or biological agents is not the cause of 
"Gulf War Syndrome."

[   (b)(2)   ]


	Many veterans returned from Gulf War deployments reporting 
medical problems that collectively have come to be known as "Gulf 
War Syndrome" or "mystery illness." Symptoms range from fatigue. 
joint pain, and memory loss to bleeding gums, rashes, and 
lymphoma. Recently, these cases received a great deal of publicity 
from Congress and the media. Based largely on misinformation and 
misunderstanding, exposure to chemical or biological agents was 
speculated to be the cause of the mystery illness. This report 
details the basis for DIA's assessment that no chemical or 
biological weapons were used during DESERT STORM/SHIELD and, 
therefore, are not the cause of the Gulf War mystery illness.


	There were no indications and warnings (I&W) of imminent 
chemical warfare use during DESERT SHIELD/STORM. 
[   (b)(1) sec 1.3(a)(4)   ]

The Iraqis operated in this way to overcome a short shelf life 
problem - because of low agent purity levels - they had with their 
nerve agent. This I&W of imminent use of chemical warfare did not 
occur during the Gulf War.

Figure 1. [   (b)(1) sec 1.3(a)(4)   ]

	Ten Iraqi [      (b)(1) sec 1.3(a)(4)    ] POWs unanimously 
stated that, in their opinion, there was no intent to use chemical 
and biological warfare (CBW) against the Coalition. Their 
reasoning included the fear of massive retaliation, possibly with 
nuclear weapons, and the belief that the Coalition was far better 
prepared than Iraq to fight in a CBW environment.

	Immediately after the war, a massive effort to collect and 
destroy remaining Iraqi equipment throughout Kuwait and occupied 
Iraq began. Not one chemical or biological munition, nor any bulk 
agent, has been found in occupied Iraq or Kuwait. Moreover, the 
primary U.S. contractor for unexploded ordnance removal in Kuwait 
stated recently that, to date, the company had discovered and 
removed over 15,000 tons of all types of ordnance - including 
350,000 mines - and has found no CBW weapons. Nor have any of its 
employees experienced Gulf War syndrome symptoms.

	During the entire Persian Gulf crisis, not one person, 
military or civilian, was treated, hospitalized, or died as a 
result of CBW exposure. If CBW had been used, even on a limited 
basis, this most certainly would not have been the case. An Army 
private who received the Bronze Star and Purple Heart after 
experiencing burns while searching bunkers is the only known 
injury with symptoms similar to CBW exposure. Advanced laboratory 
analysis of his flak jacket, shirt, and the swab used to clean his 
wound, as well as subsequent urinalysis, indicate conclusively, 
however, that the burns did not result from contact with chemical 
agent but from some other corrosive substance.

	There were no confirmed chemical or biological agents 
detected during the entire crisis. Standard operating procedure to 
determine the presence of chemical weapons requires a two-step 
process - detection and confirmation. Automatic detectors alert 
troops by sounding alarms. Because the equipment is very sensitive 
by design, false alarms are often registered. A conservative 
estimate of the number of false alarms during the Gulf War crisis 
would number in the hundreds, if not thousands. Despite this large 
number of supposed detections, the second step, confirmation, 
using equipment and techniques available at the platoon level, 
never resulted in a single confirmation.  Only the highly 
publicized Czechoslovak reports of chemical agent detection on 19 
and 24 January 1991 appear credible. The U.S. Department of 
Defense cannot independently verify the Czechoslovak detections, 
but does accept the Czechoslovak report as valid [      (b)(1) sec 
1.3(a)(4)    ]. At the time, the Czechoslovaks reported extremely 
low, unharmful levels of agent in very localized areas near Hafar 
Al Batin and King Khalid Military City.  According to the 
Czechoslovaks the nerve agent detected on 19 January was present 
for less than 40 minutes. Somewhat suspiciously, no other units in 
the area detected nerve agent.

 [   (b)(1) sec 1.3(a)(4)   
	In addition to all the unconfirmed detections registered as 
false alarms, a variety of soil, liquid, and air samples suspected 
of containing chemical agents were analyzed at state-of-the-art 
labs in the United States and United Kingdom. These samples were 
taken before, during, and after the war from suspected "hot" areas 
in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq. The results from all samples 
tested were negative. Likewise, air samples checking for the 
presence of biological agents were continuously taken and analyzed 
at state-of-the-art labs. As with the chemical agent samples, all 
tests for biological agents were negative.

	A popular theory suggests the cause of the mystery illness to 
be long-term exposure of U.S. troops to low (undetectable) levels 
of chemical agent. This, however, is impossible. The law of 
diffusion states that any gas or liquid naturally moves from an 
area of greater concentration to one of lesser concentration.  
Consequently, if in one area or time the concentration of chemical 
agent is low - as in the Czechoslovak detection - at some other 
area or time, the concentration must have been high. Therefore, 
other detections would be expected nearby, possibly resulting in 
casualties. This did not happen, even though other units were in 
contiguous areas. More to the point, the only possible explanation 
for long-term, low-level exposure below detection range is the 
deliberate, continuous release of very small amounts of agent 
throughout the area where troops are to be exposed. This scenario 
would contaminate much of the Saudi Arabian peninsula rather than 
localize effects. Had this been the case, the mystery illness 
would have been reported by veterans stationed throughout Saudi 
Arabia and Saudi Arabian civilians would have experienced and 
reported symptoms. The facts simply do not support this theory.

	Although it is another popular theory, the Czechoslovak 
detection did not result from chemical agents released from bombed 
Iraqi targets. Under ideal conditions, models indicate that 80 
tons of nerve agent would need to be instantaneously released from 
the closest bombed CBW target (An Nasiriyah, 140 miles north of 
Hafar Al Batin) to register at the low levels detected by the 
Czechoslovaks. An 80-ton release of nerve agent in Iraq would have 
resulted in an area of certain death or casualty that covers 
hundreds of square miles. Detection equipment throughout the area 
would have been triggered, and additional confirmations would have 
been expected - neither happened.  In addition to the law of 
diffusion, weather conditions further argue against this 
possibility. The winds at the time were in the wrong direction 
from the southeast and it rained throughout the region the day 
before the Czechoslovak detection. Even a release caused by a bomb 
from Coalition aircraft striking a secondary target (perhaps an 
unknown CW storage site or convoy near the border) must still obey 
the law of diffusion. People nearby would die or become 
casualties, detection alarms would sound, and confirmations would 
be made. As stated before, this simply did not happen.

Figure 3.  General Map of Area Showing Locations of and Dates of 
Interest.  The worst cases of Gulf War Syndrome have been reported 
by members of a Navy construction battalion unit stationed in Al 


	Ironically, the real intelligence mystery of this story (if 
the Czechoslovak detections are accepted as valid) is the source 
of the agent detected. The low concentration and short duration of 
the detection, the extremely localized area affected, the 
meteorological conditions, the absence of other detections by 
other units nearby, the topography of the area, and the fact that 
no military action took place anywhere near the area all suggest a 
deliberate single release of a very small amount of agent.  At 
this juncture, the best explanation of the agent's presence is a 
possible live-agent test [      (b)(1) sec 1.3(a)(4)    ]

[   (b)(2)   ]

	This report contains information as of 29 March 1994.  [    
b.2.    ] [   (b)(6)   ], 
[   (b)(2)   ].




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