In December 1993, a memo from the Army’s Fox vehicle experts at CBDCOM concluded that although their analysis could not be guaranteed with absolute certainty, they believed that the original seven incidents on the Fox tapes were false alarms. This conclusion was based principally on the experts’ observation that procedures used for verifying the presence of chemical warfare agents were not followed. During the PAC’s 1997 investigation, the PAC received a second set of Fox tapes which contained an additional alarm incident and some additional test information. In October 1998, after reviewing both sets of tapes together, the Fox experts from CBDCOM felt the additional information further supported the conclusions contained in their 1993 memo and led them to believe with a higher degree of certainty that all eight detections were false alarms.

In the eight incidents (Table 1), the Fox alerted for a variety of chemical compounds that included chemical warfare agents, chemical warfare agent precursors, and compounds used to test the MM-1. Although these initial alerts indicate the possibility of chemical warfare agent presence, there is no confirmatory evidence to support chemical warfare agent detections from any other chemical warfare agent detectors and the Fox tapes contain data that refute the presence of chemical warfare agents. The technical analysis of the Fox tapes found that due to the low ion intensity level for each of the initial alerts and the improper MM-1 operating procedures, all the alerts recorded on the Fox tapes were highly unlikely to be positive detections of chemical warfare agents.

Table 1. Summary Of Fox Alerts



Fox Reported Agent(s)



Feb 1, 10:10 am phosgene oxime and tabun Phosgene oxime not identified in Iraqi inventory, Tabun not deployed and only delivered by aircraft.


Feb 1, 3:24 pm tabun Tabun not deployed and only delivered by aircraft, no Iraqi sorties after January 25.


Feb 14, 9:24 am HT Mustard HD, not HT, in Iraqi inventory.
HT not normally present without HD.


Feb 14, 10:02 am and 10:41 am phosgene oxime, dimethylphthalate and diethylphthalate Phosgene oxime not identified in inventory. Other two gases are simulants. Spectrum identified simulant.


Feb 24, 2:34 am HT mustard HD, not HT, in Iraqi inventory.
HT not normally present without HD.


Feb 26, 8:47 pm VX VX only weaponized for Scuds, no Scuds launched at this time and location. Simulant also present.


Feb 27, 12:08 and 12:32 am precursor GA, lewisite, HT mustard HT and lewisite not in Iraqi inventory.
HT not normally present without HD.
GA only found in two aircraft delivered bombs.
Spectrum does not identify a known CW agent.


Feb 27, 3:57 am and 9:33 am dimethylphthalate, diethylphthalate and HT mustard First two gases are simulants. HD, not HT, in Iraqi inventory. HT not normally present without HD. Spectrum refutes the alert.

CBDCOM limited its analysis to the information printed on the Fox tapes and obtained during the interview with the soldier. It had no access to any operational information. Despite their limited information, CBDCOM was still able to say with a very high degree of confidence that these were not positive detections of chemical warfare agents. Our investigation into these alerts augmented CBDCOM’s analysis of the Fox tapes with information on the operational situation of the 2/4 CAV and 3/7 Infantry, as well as data on Iraq’s chemical warfare capabilities. We also sought to corroborate these alerts by M-8 alarms, M256 kits, possible chemical warfare agent symptoms or injuries

Interviews with key personnel in the 24th Infantry division did not corroborate these alerts; no other chemical warfare agent detector alarms or tests supported these alerts. Additionally, according to unit commanders and medical personnel, none of the unprotected personnel in the units near the Fox vehicle exhibited any symptoms of chemical warfare agent exposure. Furthermore, the commanders of the 2/4 CAV and the Scout Platoon, 3/7 Infantry, have stated that they never ordered their troops to don their protective garments at any of these times, and the medical officers and staff of the units involved reported that they never treated or diagnosed any chemical warfare agent casualties. Additionally, these Fox alerts were not reported to a higher command.

Several of the agents indicated by the eight alerts could not have been present based on our knowledge of Iraq’s chemical warfare agent inventory. Phosgene oxime, precursor GA, and lewisite were not identified by UNSCOM as agents possessed by Iraq. Although Iraq possessed the nerve agent VX, it only filled three Scud warheads and three aerial bombs and these munitions could not have been employed in engagements with elements of the 24th Infantry Division on the date of the VX alert. Iraq also possessed two tabun filled aerial bombs. The last Scud launch of any kind during the war occurred 18 hours before the VX alert and this Scud landed near Doha, Qatar. Additionally, Iraq did not fly any ground attack sorties during the timeframe of any of these alerts. HT mustard was not a part of Iraq’s chemical warfare agent inventory. However, HD mustard that had a trace amount of HT mustard did exist. Any Fox alert for HT would have required a simultaneous presence of HD mustard and this did not occur. The means of delivery for HD mustard, artillery or aircraft, were also absent during these alerts. Finally, three of the alerts involved simulants used to check the operation of the MM-1 and the Fox identified them as such.

Based on our current understanding, there is no reason to believe that chemical warfare agents were present during any of these alerts. CBDCOM analysis of the tapes concluded that the alerts were highly unlikely. The expanded scope of our investigation allows us to go further. The operator performed several spectra and they show conclusively that chemical warfare agents were not present in those possible incidents. The agents indicated by the alerts did not exist in the Iraqi inventory, lacked a known delivery means, or would normally have been present with other chemical warfare agents for which the Fox did not alert. Also, at the time these Fox alerts occurred, Iraqi forces were not present and the area was not under attack. Therefore, we are able to go beyond the CBDCOM’s assessment of highly unlikely, and state that the Fox vehicle definitely did not detect chemical warfare agents.

| First Page | Prev Page | Next Page |