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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 099-97
March 03, 1997

DOD INSPECTOR GENERAL DIRECTED TO TAKE OVER CENTCOM LOG INQUIRY

Deputy Secretary of Defense John P. White today directed the Department of Defense Inspector General to take over the investigation of what happened to a nuclear, biological and chemical log maintained at the U.S. Central Command forward headquarters in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, during the Gulf War. White took the action in order to ensure every possible effort has been made to uncover relevant information that might add to an understanding of Gulf War illnesses.

White asked the Inspector General to follow all leads that can be developed on the location of the original log or copies, in electronic or hard copy versions; to gather all originals or copies that can be located; and if a full copy cannot be located, explain why.

Dr. Bernard Rostker, the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses, and his team have been seeking information about the log for the past several months as part of an ongoing comprehensive series of inquiries on unresolved issues associated with Gulf War illnesses. Thirty-six pages from the log were located in 1994. The electronic version of the full log has not been found.

Through a series of interviews of military personnel, Dr. Rostker's team determined that the log was maintained on a computer and that some portion may have been destroyed by a virus during the war. The team was unable to locate a full paper copy.

While our study is incomplete and will now be continued by the IG, I have seen no evidence thus far that anyone intentionally destroyed the log, said Dr. Rostker.

In taking the action, White also directed all elements of the Department to provide the Inspector General full access and support to the effort to retrieve the log. The results of the investigation will be made available to Congress and to the Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses.

The investigation will begin immediately.