1996 Congressional Hearings
Intelligence and Security


Chairman Specter, Chairman Simpson, and other Members of the Committees, I am pleased to appear before you this morning to discuss our ongoing efforts related to reports of possible exposure of our troops to chemical or biological agents in the Persian Gulf. Our Director strongly supports CIA's work on this important issue and continues to encourage us to bring forth important results of our study. Today I will provide CIA's key findings, background from our analysis on this issue, and a historical account of our assessments related to Gulf war illnesses.

Key Findings

On the basis of a comprehensive review of intelligence, we assess that Iraq did not use chemical or biological weapons or deploy these weapons in Kuwait. In addition, analysis and computer modeling

indicate chemical agents released by aerial bombing of chemical warfare facilities did not reach US troops in Saudi Arabia. However, we have identified and will discuss potential fallout concerns in the case of a rear-area chemical weapons storage bunker in southern Iraq.

CIA Analysis of Iraqi Chemical and Biological Warfare Program

CIA has made a concerted effort to conduct a comprehensive review of intelligence related to Gulf war illnesses since March of last year. Our systematic review of intelligence has been done in parallel with DOD's Persian Gulf Investigative Team. Our study is a detailed investigation into intelligence information--not troop testimony, medical records, or operational logs. The CIA's effort seeks to complement that of DOD. CIA analysts draw upon and examine DOD information to clarify intelligence, to obtain leads, and to ensure a thorough and comprehensive intelligence assessment. CIA and the Investigative Team continue to coordinate our work. We inform the Investigative Team ofrelevant information on potential chemical or biological exposures for follow-up. Likewise, the Investigative Team shares relevant results that aid our study.

Our study involves two areas: research and focused investigations. We have reviewed thousands of intelligence documents. Intelligence reports that relate to possible chemical and biological weapons use, exposure, or location are scrutinized to determine their credibility and whether follow-up is warranted. In addition, we have expanded and more fully documented our assessments of Iraqi chemical and biological warfare capabilities at the start of Desert Storm. Using this research base, an investigation is then made into each of the key areas-use, exposure, and location--and specific areas are examined when possible leads are found. This was a necessary process to assure that our study is comprehensive.

Timeline of CIA Activities

What follows is a chronological account of key events related to CW agent release. We have decided on this approach because of the complexity of the topic.

CIA has long followed Iraq's chemical and biological programs as part of its mission to assess CW and BW capabilities worldwide. Before the Gulf war, we assessed that Iraq had a significant CW and BW capability, including chemically armed Scuds, and had used chemical weapons on numerous occasions against Iran and its own citizens. At the start of the air war and continuing to the end of Desert Storm, the Dl's Office of Scientific and Weapons Research established a 24- hour chemical and biological watch office. These analysts screened incoming intelligence for evidence of chemical or biological weapons use and followed every Scud launch. The CIA participated in targeting studies for CW and BW facilities that resulted in targeting of 32 separate sites. It is important to note that Khamisiyah was not identified or targeted as a CW facility during the war.

Chemical Fallout From Aerial Bombing in Iraq

Starting at the left of the chart you see that during the air war the Coalition bombed suspected CW sites. On the basis of all currently available information, we conclude that coalition aerial bombing resulted in damage to filled chemical munitions at two facilities-- Muhammadiyat and AI Muthanna-both located in remote areas west of Baghdad. According to the most recent Iraqi declarations, less than 5 percent of Iraq's approximately 700 metric tons of chemical agent stockpile was destroyed by coalition bombing. In most cases, the Iraqis did not store CW munitions in bunkers that they believed the Coalition would target. The Iraqis stored many of the CW munitions in the open to protect them from Coalition detection and bombing. In addition, all known CW agent and precursor production lines were either inactive or had been dismantled by the start of the air campaign.

Our modeling indicates that fallout from these facilities did not reach troops in Saudi Arabia. At Muhammadiyat Storage Area, Iraq declared that 200 mustard-filled and 12 sarin-filled aerial bombs were damaged or destroyed by Coalition bombing. Bombing of this facility started on 19 January and continued throughout the air war. Analysis of all available information leads us to conclude that the earliest chemical munition destruction date at Muhammadiyat is 22 January. We have modeled release of 2.9 metric tons of sarin and 15 metric tons of mustard for all possible bombing dates. For these days, as for the whole time period of the bombing, southerly winds occur on only a few days. The board in front of you shows the maximum downwind dispersions in the general southerly direction for sarin and mustard cut off at about 300 and 130 km respectively. Neither the first effects nor the general population limit levels reached US troops that were stationed in Saudi Arabia.At AI Muthanna, the primary Iraqi CW production and storage facility, Iraq declared that 2,500 chemical rockets containing about 17 metric tons of sarin nerve agent had been destroyed by Coalition bombing. Analysis of all available information leads us to conclude that the earliest chemical munition destruction date is 6 February. Of the days that the bunker at Muthanna could have been bombed, winds were southerly on only 8 February. For the general population limit dosage the most southerly dispersion on 8 February is 160 km, again well short of US troops.

Chemical Weapons in Kuwait Theater of Operations

Again referring to the timeline, on 4 March 1991 US troops destroyed nerve agent-filled 122mm rockets in a Bunker at Khamisiyah. On 10 March 1991 they also destroyed CW rockets at a Pit area near Khamisiyah. The munitions were not marked, no acute injuries resulted and thus the troops and the CIA were unaware at the time that chemical munitions were destroyed.

UNSCOM inspected chemical munitions at or near Khamisiyah in October 1991 and identified 122mm sarin/cyclo-sarin (GB/GF) nerve agent-filled rockets and 155mm mustard rounds. At the time it was not clear whether

the chemical weapons identified had been present during the war or whether, as was suspected at other locations, the Iraqis had moved the munitions after the war and just prior to the 1991 UNSCOM inspection. This uncertainty was only cleared up through the recent comprehensive review of all intelligence information and an UNSCOM inspection in May 1996. The following information was obtained by UNSCOM during its October 1991 inspection.

- At a pit area about 1 km south of the Khamisiyah Storage Area, UNSCOM found several hundred mostly intact 122mm rockets containing nerve agent--detected by sampling and withchemical agent monitors (CAMs).

- In an open area 5 km west of Khamisiyah; inspectors found approximately 6,000 intact 155mm rounds containing mustard agent, as indicated by CAMs.

- At a third location, a single bunker among 100 bunkers, called "Bunker 73" by Iraq, remnants of 122mm rockets were identified.

The Iraqis claimed during the October 1991 inspection that coalition troops had destroyed Bunker 73 earlier that year. These Iraqi statements were viewed at the time with skepticism because of the broad, continuous use of deception by the Iraqis against UNSCOM.

During the 1992 to 1995 time frame, CIA's effort focused on identifying Iraq's residual CW and BW stockpile. This effort consisted of assessing Iraq's declarations, refining collection requirements, and interpreting intelligence to attempt to root out remaining Iraqi CW capabilities. The issue of Gulf war illnesses surfaced to national prominence in about mid-1993. CIA was not brought into this issue until March of 1995.

As mentioned earlier, CIA initiated a comprehensive review of all intelligence related to Gulf war illnesses in March of 1995 In September 1995, CIA identified Khamisiyah as another site for potential CW agent release and asked the DOD's Investigative Team to look into whether US troops were there. We continued researching the issue together and by early March 1996, information was developed that enabled us to conclude that US troops did blow up Bunker 73. However, we still had some uncertainty as to whether the rockets in the bunker were actually chemical.

UNSCOM lacked specific documentation on the type of rockets in Bunker 73 creating concerns for UNSCOM regarding chemical munitions accounting. These concerns about type of munition, especially given more recent UNSCOM understanding of the many varieties of rockets, motivated them to perform a new inspection at Khamisiyah.

UNSCOM's May 1996 investigation removed uncertainty about the type of munitions present in Bunker 73 because they documented the presence of high density polyethylene inserts, burster tubes, fill plugs, and other features characteristic of Iraqi chemical munitions. In addition, Iraq told the May 1996 UNSCOM inspectors that Iraq moved 2, 160 Unmarked 122mm nerve agent rockets to Bunker 73 from the AI Muthanna CW Production and Storage Facility just before the start of the air war. According to Iraq, during the air war they moved about 1, 100 rockets from the bunker to the pit area 2 km away.

Modeling of release of agents from Bunker 73 at Khamisiyah

Modeling of the potential hazard caused by destruction of Bunker 73 indicates that an area around the bunker at least 2 km in all directions and 4 km downwind could have been contaminated at or above the level for causing acute symptoms including runny nose, headache, and miosis as you see in this figure. An area up to 25 km downwind could have been contaminated at the much lower general population dosage limit.(1) Based on wind models and observations of a video and photographs of destruction activity at Khamisiyah, we determined that the downwind direction was northeast to east.

Some of the modeling assumptions we used were based on data from US testing in 1966 that involved destruction of several bunkers filled with GB rockets of similar maximum range to Iraqi rockets found in Bunker 73.

Mustard Rounds Near Khamisiyah

During the May 1996 inspection, Iraq also told UNSCOM that the 6,000 155mm mustard rounds UNSCOM found in the open area at Khamisiyah in October 1991 had been stored at one bunker at An Nasiriyah until 15 February 1991, just before the ground war. Iraq claims that fear of Coalition bombing motivated An Nasiriyah depot personnel to move the intact mustard rounds to the open area 5 km from the Khamisiyah Depot, where the rounds were camouflaged with canvas. Subsequently, we have been able to confirm that the munitions were moved to this area about this time. Therefore, based on the inspection and confirmation we conclude that the bombing of An Nasiriyah on 17 January 1991 did not result in the release of chemical agent.

Ongoing Analysis of Pit Rocket Destruction

Iraq told UNSCOM in May 1996 that they believed occupying coalition forces also destroyed some pit area rockets. DOD's investigation into this possibility has indicated that US soldiers destroyed stacks of crated munitions in the pit on 10 March 1991. From analysis of all information, we assess that up to 550 rockets could have been destroyed. Modeling of weather conditions indicate that the wind was almost due south. We are now modeling the actual hazard area and plan to finish our analysis on the pit in the near future.

Closing Statement

We will continue to be vigilant in tracking any lead that surfaces in the future. If we find any information pointing to chemical or biological agent exposures or impacting significantly on the issue of Gulf War veterans' illnesses, wewill again work with the Department of Defense to announce those findings.


1 This dosage from Army manuals is for protection of the general population and is a 72 hour exposure at 0.000003 mg/m3--significantly lower than the 0.0001mg/m3 occupational limit defined for 8 hours.