1994 DoD Q&A On Bio/Chem Weapons In Gulf War
SCOOP EDITOR’S COVERING NOTE
The following set of questions and answers was provided to U.S. Senator Riegle by in the early stages of an inquiry into Gulf War Syndrome. In it the Defence Intelligence Agency concludes:
“To date, all of DIAs efforts and contacts point to the unanimous conclusion that coalition troops were not exposed to chemical or biological agents, either accidently [sic.] (as a result of downwind exposure from bombed Iraqi facilities) or purposely (from direct Iraqi use).”
It is important to note that these answers were provided to the Senator in 1994 at the beginning of an intense period of Capitol Hill driven inquiry into the origins of Gulf War Syndrome. By 1996 the DoD had reversed its conclusions given in this document and publicly acknowledged the probable exposure to chemical agents of thousands of American troops during demolition work at Khamisiya – albeit at low levels of intensity.
Interestingly the following transcript was included as a footnote in the April 14 1997 report of the DoD inquiry team who looked at the Khamisiya demolition. However it was dropped from the Final Report which was published in April of this year, 2002.
Finally, when reading this transcript it is very interesting to note the answers to questions 1, 37 and 38.
In answer to question 1 the DIA claims to have no knowledge of any US exports of Chemical or Biological Weapons or equipment to Iraq. In answer to questions 37 and 38 the name of an organisation that Senator Riegle obviously suspects of supplying Iraq with chemical weapons and training has been deleted, but the DIA seems confident that whoever they were they were not involved.
Questions from Chairman Riegle
Filename:0riegleq.894 Aug. 94
Subject: Questions from Chairman Riegle
Ql. Was the Department of Defense intelligence apparatus aware of the items exported to Iraq by the United States which were converted to use in the Iraqi chemical, biological, and nuclear programs prior to the Persian Gulf War? Provide specific details.
Al. During the earlier years associated with Iraq's build-up of its scientific, industrial and military capabilities, Iraq was neither a proscribed nation to be denied military critical technology, nor an enemy. The US intelllgence community is forbidden from monitoring the activities of US citizens and its companies. Consequently, very little was known by the Intelligence Community about US exports of technology with military potential, particularly to a non-proscribed non-enemy nation, unless it was informed of such exports by the Department of Congress. During 1980-1994 Commerce requested review of only 16 dual-use export cases by the DoD. Of these, only two were forwarded to the DIA for technical review. They involved computers and signal processing equipment. DIA recommended denial in both cases. DIA was aware of the illegal export of thiodiglycol to Iraq by the Baltimore company Alcolac. DIA assisted customs and the FBI in their investigation and successful prosecution of that company. DIA biological warfare (BW) analysts were aware of some of the dual-use items purchased by Iraq for its BW program, but generally did not know what U.S. company was supplying the items.
Q2. Were Iraqi chemical and biological facilities among the priority targets hit by Coalition bombers during the first days of the air war?
A2. Yes. Some Iraqi chemical and biological (CBW) facilities were priority targets and were among the first attacked on and around the first days of the air war. Not every CBW target was attacked during the first days however. CBW targets were themselves prioritized, generally by the intelligence community, then specifically, by the operators out of CENTCOM and were attacked accordingly. Generally speaking, CBW targets were attacked at the very beginning and throughout the air campaign.
Q3. Were U.S. national laboratories contacted prior to the war and requested to assess the danger from the fallout of bombing Iraqi chemical, biological, and nuclear facilities? What was their advice?
A3. The Defense Nuclear Agency was tasked to assess the danger of fallout from bombed Iraqi facilities. Their advice was passed to CENTCOM though other than intelligence channels.
Q10. Are all biological agents lethal? Isn't it true that one biological warfare strategy is to debilitate your adversary's capabilities and another is to overload his medical facilities?
A10. No, not all biological warfare agents are lethal; some are only lethal if untreated, while others are almost always lethal, even with medical treatment. Incapacitating BW agents could be used to debilitate an adversary's capabilities and to overload his medical facllities.
Q15. Were any biological agents or materials capable of being used to cause disease or other illnesses discovered by the U.S. or any other Coalition forces in Iraq, Kuwait, or Saudi Arabia? What were those materials?
A15. No such materials were found by U.S. or Coalition forces.
Q16. Were any Iraqi vaccines discovered or did interviews of enemy prisoners of war, or others, reveal what biological warfare-related materials the Iraqis had defended against?
Q17. Did Iraq have a biological warfare program that appeared to be offensive in nature?
A17. Yes. See question 29.
Ql9. Were chemical munitions or binary precursor materials capable of being used in chemical warfare discovered in any area of Iraq, Kuwait, or Saudi Arabia before, during, or after the war by US Forces, US civilian personnel or other Coalition participants?
Al9. The wording of this question requires a three part answer to include responses addressing the Kuwaiti Theater of Operations (KTO), Operation Provide Comfort, and the UN inspections.
The Kuwaiti Theater of Operations (KTO) included southern Iraq south of 31'00 N, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. This was the area eventually occupied by Coalition ground forces before, during and after Operation Desert Storm. Neither chemlcal munltions, bulk agent, nor binary precursors were discovered in the KTO before, during or after the war by US Forces, civilian personnel, or Coalition participants.
On 28 May 1991, several months after the war, during Operation Provide Comfort in Kurdish occupied northern Iraq, four Iraqi expended, unexploded, 122mm chemical rockets were discovered by US forces near the town of Kani Masi 37'13 N 043'26 E. This area is in extreme north central Iraq, about five miles from the Turkish boarder. The rounds appeared to be duds and appeared to have been in the field for years. The rounds were returned to the US, exploited, and found to contain no intact chemical agent, only degradation products of the nerve agent sarin.
This information, along with the location and condition of the rounds indicate they were most likely fired during the reported Iraqi use of chemical weapons against Kurds in 1988. These rounds in no way should be associated with events of Desert Storm nor be used as evidence in the investigation of so-called Gulf War Syndrome. Their only slgnificance ls that, at the time, they confirmed our assessment that such weapons existed in the Iraqi arsenal.
Finally, it has been widely circulated that UN inspection teams found thousands of destroyed and intact chemical rounds in an ammunition depot at Nasiriyah, and that this discovery contradicts our statement in paragraph one of this answer. Nasiriyah technically is outside the KTO, being north of 31'00 N and the Euphrates River. More importantly, it was not in the territory occupied by Coalition forces after the war. Moreover, the following points are relevant because UN inspectors did not really "find" the subject munitions. In reality, the Iraqis declared the munitions to the UN and the lnspectors eventually went to that location to check what the Iraqis had reported: l) the UN inspection occurred at least eight months after the war; 2) the location of the "found" chemical rounds was 15 miles from the widely discussed CBW bunkers bombed at Nasiriyah (the site which was originally expected to be inspected). The bombed bunkers were not inspected until one year later in Oct 1992 and found to contain no chemical or biological weapons;
Q20. What evidence, if any, is there concerning the forward deployment of chemical and biological warfare agents or weapons prior to or during the Persian Gulf conflict? What evidence, if any, is there of Iraqi attempts to avoid the destruction of chemical or biological warfare agents or weapons by Coalition bombings? For example, transshipment activity just prior to the initiation of the air war from chemical production facilities such as Samarra Habbaniyah, or others.
A20. There is no evidence, that Iraq forward deployed chemical and/or biological agents or weapons prior to or during Desert Storm. Even though at the time, many analysts expected and warned against potential Iraqi use of CBW, it is our position now, and has been since the end of the war, that Iraq did not intend to use CBW because of the fear of massive retaliation, and the conclusion that Coalition troops Were too well prepared to fight in a CBW environment, if not, far better prepared than Iraqi troops, thus eliminating their advantage. This conclusion is based primarily, but not totally, on:
- their were no indications and warnings of imminent Iraqi use of CW i.e. heavy transshipment activity of CW transport trucks from Samarra to the forward areas. - not one CBW munition was found in the captured/occupied Iraqi territory.
Even if Iraq intended to use CW against the Coalition, the pace and ferocity of the air ahd ground campaign was such that Iraq's ability to produce, weaponize, forward deploy, and deliver CW on a target was virtually eliminated. The only CW which could have been used had to be pre-positioned in substantial amounts. The pace and ferocity of the air and ground campaign, in our opinion, rendered it impossible to move any CW munitions into or out of the KTO. Because the ground campaign quickly overwhelmed the Iraqi forces, we would expect to find abandoned CW munitions, as was the case for conventional munitions and equipment. It is difficult to believe that under the mass1ve bombardment levied against the Iraqi troops that they somehow managed to move substantial amounts of CBW munitions out of the KTO, undetected, leav1ng not a trace of it behind. Since no CBW was found in the KTO we believe it never was there.
There is evidence that Iraqi attempted to avoid destruction of its CBW production equipment prior to the air war. Besides camouflaging many of its production buildings, cargo trucks did move an unknown amount of CW production equipment from Samarra. Equipment-moving trucks and refrigerated trucks were also observed at the Salman Pak BW facility prior to the onset of bombing, suggesting that Iraq was moving equipment or material into or out of the facility. Information obtained after the conflict revealed that Iraq had moved BW agent production equipment from Salman Pak to the Al Hakam suspect BW facility.
QZl. What evidence, if any, exists of Iraqi chemical and biological warfare defensive measures during or prior to the Persian Gulf War?
A21. Iraq claims it did not have a dedicated BW defensive program. Iraq distributed drugs for the treatment of nerve and mustard exposure to at least some of its Republican Guard Divisions. There was an effort to outfit their troops with chemical protective gear; this usually consisted of a gas mask, gloves, boots, simple poncho, and individual chemical agent antidote kits. Additionally, decontamination stations were established throughout Iraq.
Q22. What evidence, if any, exists of Iraqi command instructions to use chemical weapons prior to or during the war?
A22. There is no/evidence to indicate instructions or orders to use chemical weapons were given by Iraqi command authorities prior to or during the war.
Q23. Were any Iraqi chemical units in Iraq or Kuwait located or reported on by US or Coalition sources during Operation Desert Shield or Desert Storm? Explain.
A23. No. Specific locations of Iraqi chemical units were never reported by US or Coalition sources during Operation Desert Shield or Desert Storm. See question 35.
Q24. In the Department of Defense's final report to Congress on the Conduct of the Persian Gulf War, it was reported that 88 Scud launches were detected. Saddam Hussein has claimed to have launched at least 93 Scuds. Can you explain the discrepancy? Were any Scud missiles launched by Iraq against Turkey or any other location other than Israel or Saudi Arabia? Were U.S. forces and dependent personnel in Turkey ever ordered into MOPP gear?
A24. DIA holds a total of 88 SCUD launches against Israeli and Saudi Arabian targets only. We cannot explain the discrepancy between Saddam's claim to have launched at least 93 SCUDs.
Q26. Did Iraq conduct test firings of Scuds or other short or medium range ballistlc missiles during Operation Desert Shield? What was the assessed purpose for these tests since Iraq already had extensive knowledge of the capabilities of Scud missiles?
A26. No. Iraq did not conduct test firings of SCUDs or other short or medium range ballistic missiles during Operation Desert Shield.
Q27. Did Iraq have the capability to deliver biological weapons via ground based aerosol generators, aircraft, helicopters, or FAW missiles? Did they have any other means of delivering biologlcal weapons?
A27. Iraq had a capability to deliver BW agents from missile warheads and aerial bombs. Iraq also had the capability to disseminate biological agents from ground-based aerosol generators; however we found no evidence that they had attempted to do so. Other delivery systems (helicopters) and munitions (i.e., CW munitions) could be used to disseminate BW agents; however, we found no evidence that Iraq had loaded BW agents into any such munitions.
Q29. What was the Defense Intelligence Agency evaluation of Iraq's chemical and biological weapons programs and delivery means, prior to, during, and after the Persian Gulf War? What delivery means were within range of Coalition forces at the beginning of the air war and by the end of the ground war?
A29. Prior to the Persian Gulf War Iraq was assessed to possess roughly 1000 MT of chemical agent equally split between the blister agent mustard and the nerve agents sarin (GB) and GF. Small amounts (possibly tens of tons) of the persistent nerve agent VX were assessed as possibly available from ongoing R&D programs The nerve agent soman (GD) and the psychochemical BZ were also assessed to be in the R&D stage. Much of the above 1000 MT of agent was assessed to be weaponized in the following munitions with the remainder stored as bulk agent:
155mm * 152mm 130mm 122mm rocket *
250kg bomb 500kg bomb Cluster bombs 90 mm rocket
Note: (l) * Preferred weapon for artillery (2) Landmines were assessed as possible.
SCUD Al Husayn Al Abbas
(3) Frog missiles are capable of CW delivery but no evidence existed for such a warhead in Iraq.
Prior to the Persian Gulf War, DIA assessed that Iraq had BW agents weaponized in aerial bombs and Scud missile warheads, and that Iraq was capable of disseminating BW agents with ground-based aerosol generators. Scud missiles and alrcraft capable of carrying aerial bombs probably were within range of Coalition forces during the war, but we know of no BW munitions for these systems which were ever forward-deployed. Further, we know of no occasion when such dissemination systems or munitions were used to disperse BW agents during the war.
After the war, DIA assessed the CW program to be severely degraded but not eliminated. The BW program was assessed to have retained the infrastructure needed to reestablish itself. UN inspections and ongoing intelligence efforts have resulted in DIA's reassessment that although nearly all known buildings and bunkers associated with CBW programs were destroyed, CW and BW production equipment, precursors and munitions have been hidden or salvaged and that both programs could be reestablished shortly after UN inspections ceased.
Iraqi CBW delivery assets in range of Coalition troops both before and after the war were SCUDs, aerial bombs, and potentially any lSSmm artillery or 122mm mobile rocket launcher within approximately 25 kilometers of Coalition forces. One must keep in mind that during the war, Coalition air superiority largely eliminated aircraft delivery of CBW agents to forward areas, and that by the end of the ground war, Iraqi air and ground forces, as well as its command and control structure were in complete disarray.
Q30. Describe the evolution of Iraq's battlefield employment of chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq war, did Iraq's ability to use these weapons improve over the course of the war?
A30. Generally speaking Iraq's use of CW against Iran during their war improved dramatically as the war progressed. Essentially, Iraq learned how to use CW through on the job training, very inefficiently at first then becoming quite effective towards the end. Iraqi use of CW against Iran can be divided into three distinct phases. The first phase, which continued until 1986, involved the use of CW agents in a strictly defensive role, to disrupt Iranian offensives. In a transitory phase lasting from late 1986 to early 1988, Iraq used CW preemptively against staging areas prior to Iranian offensives. Flnally, and most significantly, Iraq used massed nerve agent strikes as an integral part of its well- orchestrated offensive in the spring and summer of 1988. The success of these offensives prompted Iran to accept a cease- fire in August 1988.
Q31. What chemical and biological agents were assessed to be in the Iraqi operational inventory and test inventories prior to the Persian Gulf War?
Chemical agents assessed to be in the Iraqi operational inventory prior to the Persian Gulf War were mustard, sarin, and GF. Tabun and dusty mustard were known to have been used against Iran but were thought to possible have been dropped from the 1990 inventory. Agents assessed to be in the R&D stage were VX, BZ and Soman.
Biological agents assessed to be in the pre-war inventory were anthrax and botulinum toxin in a limited number of missile warheads and aerial bombs.
Q34. What evidence exists, if any, to indicate that Iraq deployed chemical mines in the Kuwaiti theater of operations?
A34. There is no evidence that Iraq deployed chemical mines in the KTO. In fact, over 350,000 Iraqi mines have been found and removed from Kuwait, none of which were chemical mines.
Q35. Did Iraq deploy any chemical units or establish any chemical decontamination sites in the Kuwaiti or Iraqi theater of operations - or in the disputed territories?
A35. Iraqi defensive chemical units are a standard complement of a typical Iraqi Corp and Division. Our best information suggests that most but not all of Iraqi divisions deployed with their standard chemical units. Dedicated offensive chemical units were assessed to be part of Republican Guard Divisions only, however, theoretically, virtually any 155mm artillery piece or 122mm mobile rocket launcher could fire CW rounds.
Yes. Iraq establish chemical decontamination sites in the KTO as well as throughout Iraq. Similar decontamination sites are located at known chemical training schools and therefore, their appearance is assessed more as standard operating procedure rather than a hard indicator of intent to use CW.
Q36. Which country provided the chemical Scud warheads to Iraq that were later located by the UN inspections? If by another country, how many of these warheads were initially provided? Did Iraq also manufacture its own?
A36. Iraq manufactured all of its chemical SCUD warheads indigenously.
Q37. Was the [ (b)(1) sec 1.3(a)(4) ] suspected of providing chemical or biological warfare training to Iraqi officers either in Iraq, or any other country? Explain.
A37. there is absolutely no evidence to suggest, that they provided offensive chemical or biological weapons training to Iraq at any time. [ (b)(1) sec 1.3(a)(4) ] involved in providing defensive CBW equipment and training to the Iraqis in the early 1980's.
038. Is the Department of Defense aware of any to the Iraqis in setting up any chemical training center or production facility in Iraq? Explain.
A38 [ (b)(1) sec 1.3(a)(4) ]in setting up a chemical training facility in Iraq- constructed a CW training center near Habbaniyah, and may have helped train Republican Gaurd troops in field operations in a chemical environment.
Q40. Is there any classified or unclassified information that would indicate any exposures to or detections of chemical or biological agents?
A40. Other than the Czech detections on 19 and 24 January 91, which have been discussed at length during testimony and other questions for the record, there is no information, classified or unclassified, which would indicate any exposures to or valid detections of chemical agents. There were many, probably thousands, of false chemical alarms experienced by the Coalition, however, no alarm ever was verified using follow-up confirmation procedures. This issue has also been discussed at length in testimony and other questions for the record.
As with the alleged CW detections, there are some unsubstantiated reports that allege exposure to BW agents. However, despite concerted efforts, Coalition assets were not able to confirm any of these reports.
Q41. Is there any classified or unclassified information that would indicate the discovery of any chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear warfare related materials by U S. or Coalition forces before, during, or after the Persian Gulf War?
A41. There is no information, classified or unclassified, that would indicate the discovery of any chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear warfare related materials by the US or Coalition forces before, during or after the Persian Gulf War. See question 19.
Q46. What is the role of the Defense Intelligence Agency in the investigation into the exposure of U.S. forces to chemical, biological or radiological materials during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm?
A46. DIA's role, as always, has been to provide intelligence to the OSD. DIA has been deeply involved with the investigation into alleged exposure of US forces to chemical, biological or radiological materials during Desert Shield and Desert Storm since the investigation began in early summer 1993. DIA has reviewed every aspect of its assessment of Iraqi chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs, the possibility of their use against Coalition troops, and the possibility of accidental release from bombed Iraqi targets. DIA has spearheaded the investigation into the alleged Czech detections, making the honest assessment that the Czech detections were likely valid. Leaving no stone unturned, DIA traveled to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Israel, Czech Republic, France and England to further investigate the issue. Likewise, through the Defense Attache system, DIA requested information and assessments regarding the issue from other Coalition members and allies. To date, all of DIAs efforts and contacts point to the unanimous conclusion that coalition troops were not exposed to chemical or biological agents, either accidently (as a result of downwind exposure from bombed Iraqi facilities) or purposely (from direct Iraqi use).
[ b.2. ]