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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 019-00
January 13, 2000

FINAL REPORT: CHEMICAL WARFARE AGENT 'DEFINITELY NOT' PRESENT AT CAMP MONTEREY

The Department of Defense announced today the final release of its Camp Monterey case narrative. This narrative is the first of several "final reports" into the reported detection of chemical warfare agents associated with the Gulf War. Based on additional eyewitness testimony, contemporary documents, medical evidence, Fox XM93 Reconnaissance Vehicle tape printouts and independent expert reviews, investigators into the Camp Monterey incident state that a chemical warfare agent was 'definitely not' present.

This inquiry began in 1996 based on information provided by a government contractor who had been responsible for maintaining the mobile mass spectrometer on the Fox chemical reconnaissance vehicles. The initial report for this case was published in May 1997.

According to the report, several soldiers became sick after accidentally spilling the contents of a metal can in a building at Camp Monterey, Kuwait. The effects subsided in a short time and all the soldiers returned to duty, fully recovered.

"Even though the substance had been assessed two days earlier as CS - tear gas - a sample of the can and its contents was taken as a precaution to two Fox reconnaissance vehicles for analysis," said Bernard Rostker, the special assistant for Gulf War illnesses. "The detection equipment in the Fox vehicles sounded alarms for the possible presence of cyclosarin, a nerve agent. Further testing done by spectrum analysis, however, confirmed that the substance was, in fact, CS."

Two days after the exposure, members of the Fox crews and the government contractor used the sample for training purposes, the report said. During the test, the Fox vehicles sounded alarms for sarin and again, follow-on spectrum analyses identified the substance as tear gas. Copies of the Fox tape printouts for the Sept. 16, 1991, alert were forwarded for independent analyses to three expert laboratories. All three reviews confirmed that the Fox spectra readings detected the presence of CS.

After the initial investigation was published, veterans presented new information that updates and validates the original case narrative. The final report corrects the date of the exposure - Sept. 14, 1991 - previously reported as Sept. 16 - and now asserts that the Fox reconnaissance vehicle initially alerted for cyclosarin that day. The paper also states that M256 chemical warfare agent detection kit tests conducted on Sept. 14 also produced negative results for chemical warfare agents.

This report, as well as others on potential chemical and biological warfare agent exposures during the Gulf War, can be accessed through the web site, GulfLINK http://www.gulflink.osd.mil .

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