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DoD New Briefing - October 10,1996

Presenters: Mr. Kenneth H. Bacon, ASD PA
October 10, 1996 2:00 PM EDT

Thursday, October 10, 1996 - 2 p.m.

Mr. Bacon: Good afternoon.

I'd like to start the briefing with a long, emotional tribute to Colonel Doug Kennett. This is his penultimate day in the military. He's retiring tomorrow, as you know, after a distinguished career of 29 years -- most of which has been spent in public affairs, Air Force public affairs. He's been the Director of the Air Force Systems Command public affairs operation, and the Director of the Media Relations Desk of the Air Force upstairs, and also the Director of Public Affairs for U.S. Forces in the United Kingdom. But for the last two and a quarter years he's been here in the Pentagon running the 31 people in DDI, and I think doing a great job. I will miss him personally, and I'm sure you'll all miss him as well. I hope you'll be able to come to his ceremony tomorrow.

He is moving on to... I don't know whether you can move on to greener pastures from your current purple job, but he's moving on to McDonnell Douglas, and he will, I'm sure, be in touch with many of you from time to time. So you'll have the benefit of his continuing humor and knowledge about things.

I'd also like to note that Dick Bridges is here, who is going to replace Doug in a couple of weeks. If you don't know Dick, please stop by and say hello.

Moving on. Secretary Perry will go to Moscow next week on Tuesday to meet with his counterpart, General Rodionov, the Russian Defense Minister. He will also give a speech to the Duma in favor of START II. It will be, I think, like a congressional hearing here. He'll go and testify in favor of Russian ratification of the START II agreement and take questions from about 100 members of the Russian Duma.

Then he will go up to Severodvinsk in the north, which is the largest submarine manufacturing facility in the world, and along with Senator Nunn and Senator Lugar, participate in a ceremony dismantling a submarine in compliance with the START I treaty.

As you know, Senators Nunn and Lugar are the authors of the Cooperative Threat Reduction program which has helped denuclearize two former Soviet states, Kazakstan and Ukraine, and we expect that Belarus will be the third state to denuclearize later this year. He will be back on Friday.

There will be a background briefing tomorrow the 11th here at 10 on the trip. So if you're interested in the trip, show up for it.

With that, I'll take your questions.

Q: Two quick questions. Number one, will Nunn and Lugar appear before the Duma with him?

A: I believe they will be at that event, but the Secretary will be doing the testifying and answering the questions.

Q: Number two, on the chemical arms things, has the CIA indicated further when the model will be over here? If not, have they given you any indication at all how many thousands of extra troops it might indicate were in some danger?

A: No. Let me explain to you where the CIA model stands. The Director of Central Intelligence, John Deutch, decided that this model should be subject to peer review, and he and John White, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, are in the process of appointing a panel of experts who will review not only the model itself, but the whole challenge of how do you analyze dispersion patterns of an event that happened five years ago -- five and a half years ago.

I hope this will be done relatively quickly, but there will be a time to appoint this peer review panel and have them go through both the computer model and the evidence that we have.

The CIA model is actually a variant of a model that was developed by the Army. As I say, Director Deutch decided it should be subject to peer review, so that's the next step.

Q: What do you mean by reasonably quickly? Days, weeks, months?

A: I would guess not months. I would guess probably weeks. But given my inability to predict this so far, I'm not going to allow you to pin me down to a precise time on this. But it will be done as quickly as it can be done. We're dealing with scientists. They will need some time to ramp up. They'll need some time to come in and survey the information.

Q: ...on this information? Will someone shoot video of this group meeting? If we wanted to get video of this group...

A: You want to see a bunch of scientists sitting around a table?

Q: Yes sir?

A: I doubt it, but... The group doesn't exist yet. It's in the process of being formed.

Q: What do you mean, by peer review? Are they outside peers or DoD peers...

A: Yeah. These are scientists from outside the Department and outside the CIA.

Q: Why is he going to do that? Why did Deutch think there was a need to have that review?

A: I think he felt there were significant questions raised by the complexity of the task. He just wanted to make sure that we had the best people available looking at this.

Q: Was he not satisfied with the first model that came out?

A: Peer review is an extremely common event in science. It would be equivalent to reporters submitting stories to editors. It happens all the time. It's natural. I don't see anything out of the ordinary here. We, as you know, have submitted many of the scientific studies that the Army has done on Persian Gulf Illness to peer review as well.

Q: Since the peer review wasn't initiated in the early rounds of this, doesn't that indicate that he wasn't satisfied with the results?

A: I would say he wants these results to be as well reviewed as possible, and he's set up a program to do that.

I think it's important to realize that we will never have a precise, definitive picture of how chemical agents may have been dispersed on March 10, 1991 from Khamisayah. It's impossible to go back and reconstruct precise wind patterns. It's impossible for us even to know how many weapons were exploded. It's impossible for us to know how many jumped out of the pit, how many of them propelled themselves into the sand and buried themselves, how many didn't explode at all. We have to make a bunch of assumptions. We also have to make assumptions, as I say, about wind patterns. So there is real complexity to this task. The CIA has modelers who have worked on this; we have modelers who have worked on it; we do have some experience from experiments that have been done. But the Director of Central Intelligence felt it was best that since this obviously is going to be held to great scrutiny, to set up a team that would review what the Agency has done, and that's going to happen over the next couple of weeks.

Q: Do you know how many people are going to be on this team?

A: I do not, no.

Q: Was there peer review of the model for Bunker 73?

A: There was not. No.

Q: Are you going to...

A: That, of course, was a different situation. Because it happened in a bunker, we assume that the dispersion was much less than it was from an open pit.

Q: Let me ask you about that. It's one man's computer model. It's not a worst case scenario. It makes a lot of assumptions. Why not have that peer review? If you're going to have a peer review, why not have that one peer reviewed? There's a lot of debate at the Presidential Advisory Committee on the way that was modeled.

A: You're talking about March 4th.

Q: Right.

A: Yeah. They may well look at what happened on March 4th. As I say, this decision was just made in the last couple of days. We're in the process of putting a committee together. It hasn't gotten a formal charter yet. It could well be included.

Q: Is it possible now that the conclusion's out of this will not be made public until after the presidential election?

A: I'd say it's quite... It's probably likely that we will, one way or another, whether we have the CIA model or not, have more to say about how to deal with possible chemical exposure in the next few weeks.

Q: You said that there's still no indication, you haven't found anybody who apparently has become sick from chemical weapons or nerve gas or anything else. How about these 150 engineers who were involved in the actual blast? Have they been checked carefully? And have you not found any problems with them? They were the ones who were closest to it.

A: You're talking about the people on March 4th...

Q: The people who actually... That's right.

A: As I say, we have not yet found a clinical link between exposure to chemicals and Gulf War Illness, but that's the issue. That's what we're looking at. We're in the process of... there were, we think, about 1,100 people who could have been in a wide area after Khamisayah I, who could have been subject to low level exposure. We're trying to contact them by phone. We've contacted about 500 people so far.

Q: Rather than contact these people by phone and do all this, why does Secretary Perry not put forth a formal investigation rather than this informal way of looking into it?

A: We've had a very extensive program going on for a number of years. This isn't new. Since June. We've had the comprehensive clinical evaluation program going on. A number of people have registered with that. Over 25,000 people have registered with the Veterans Administration. We have been doing our best to study the causes of what is known as Persian Gulf Illness or Gulf War Illness.

As the Institute of Medicine report pointed out today, the one that was released today, so far we have not been able to find a clinical link between... a single cause for Gulf War Illness, nor have we been able to find any clinical link between exposure to chemicals and the symptoms that people are talking about. That's not to say we won't. We don't know. It's one of the things we're looking at. We don't know what we will find.

Q: It seems it would be important to at least go out and do a thorough medical exam of each one of these 150.

A: First of all, we may get to that. We haven't gotten to that point yet. The way it's worked is that people who have symptoms, who believe that they're suffering from an illness, have had the opportunity to come and register themselves in the clinical evaluation program, and be subject to certain examinations and data collection. We have not reached the point of reaching out to every single person who served in the Gulf and giving him or her comprehensive medical examinations. It's been more people responding.

We are in the process of reevaluating the best way to figure out what happened and the best way to provide care in light of the new information. That's been the point of what's been going on here for the last couple of months. It's a massive undertaking, but that's what we're looking at. Some of the White initiatives of several weeks ago were designed to do that.

Q: I'm somewhat puzzled by what you said a moment ago, that prior to the final peer review, you expected more information to come out about potential exposure to a group. What...

A: No, I would say more information on how we're dealing with the question of potential exposure. That's what I meant to say.

Q: Last week you had some rough, I don't know whether you would call them estimates or some numbers...

A: As I recall what happened last week was that I was asked to give a range. I was asked about a range, and the range was 15,000 to 100,000. I said there would be, in the end, larger numbers of people exposed than what we have said. We have always, from the beginning, when we announced the 5,000 figure, said that the number could go higher. We haven't completed the analysis yet. The analysis will give us a sense of where chemical agents may have drifted over troops and how many troops were under that pattern. The question is how do you determine what the pattern is, how do you determine what the dispersion pattern is? That's what the CIA has been struggling to do and that's what the experts will review when they're constituted as a group to review it.

Q: Yet you have no doubt that it will be at least three times as large as...

A: I assume that... We are going to end up with basically a graduated picture where the people closest, obviously, are those subject to greatest interest, and those farther away will be subject to much less exposure, if any, I mean much lower levels of exposure. The question is, how do you graph that? If you move from, if you just went a color spectrum from say very dark blue to very light blue, dark blue being most likely exposure to light blue being least likely exposure, the question is where do you array people under that color spectrum? That's what the CIA's been looking at.

If you go out, depending on the assumptions of wind patterns, how much ordnance was blown up, there's going to be a range of possibilities here.

The other week... There have been big figures floating around. I have no idea what it's going to turn out to be. But obviously under the worst case estimate, with every single Katusha rocket filled with sarin going off and spraying sarin into the atmosphere, with a certain wind assumption, you're going to have a much larger number than you would under the least case or the best case assumption where only a small number of the rockets go off, and some of them explode into the bank of the pit and there's very limited wind. That's the type of thing we're looking at, and it will be a range. There will be no definitive picture of what happened, and we will never be able to say that X thousand three hundred and forty-one people may have been exposed to agents, because of this.

Q: How do we know and we dispense with this other issue of timing on this and how long it may take? There is no political connection to the delay in getting this report out to the public that is tied to this presidential election, is that correct?

A: There is zero political connection. The reason there is zero political connection is, it does not help us to delay this. We would like to get this nailed down as soon as possible. We first announced the possibility of low-level exposure in June. We've been struggling to come up with a picture of what that might be, and we're still struggling. But we would like to get this behind us so that we can concentrate, and get you to concentrate, on taking care of people and figuring out what happened to them, rather than on models which aren't going to be particularly illustrative anyway.

Q: I wanted just to narrow down that question. As I understood his question, you're not going to have this model ready before November 5th is that right?

A: I don't know. I do not know. I have no idea.

Q: You indicated you were going to have some information before that, but not the model.

A: I do not know when the model will be ready.

Q: Two weeks, three weeks?

A: Not knowing means I can't give you a time.

Q: Is it possible it would be after November 5th?

A: I do not know when the model will be ready.

Q: It's possible?

A: I can't say. I don't know. We would like to get this done as quickly as possible.

Look, it doesn't help us to be out here... There have been estimates in the press that have gone up to extremely large numbers, and it doesn't do us any good to have this uncertainty hanging out there. We would like to get the best estimate we can and go on with our program.

Q: On the March 4 event, Dr. Joseph said 4,000 to 5,000 troops were in the area, the radius, on March 4. He was identifying, he had identified and was contacting these units. Last Tuesday we asked to have those units identified. Can you identify those units from March 4?

A: Yes. The units from March 4th were the 37th Engineers of the XVIIIth Airborne Corps from Fort Bragg; the 307th Engineer Battalion from the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg; the 60th Explosive Ordnance Detachment and the 146th Explosive Ordnance Detachment, and I don't have their homes yet, but we will get them; and the 450th Civil Affairs Battalion which is an Army Reserve group associated with the 352nd Civil Affairs Command in Riverdale, Maryland. Those were the units we believe were in the area on March 4th.

Q: That was for 1,100. That was identified some weeks ago. That's what the 1,100. What about the 4,000 to 5,000?

A: The 5,000, my understanding, relates to the people who were in the 25 kilometer area on March 10th. The 5,000 relates to the March 10th explosion of the pit.

Q: So Joseph was wrong in his testimony then.

A: My understanding of what we announced on September 18th is that that 5,000 applied to that. I will go back and double check that.

Q: So it's only 1,100 then, were in the 25 kilometer radius on March 4?

A: I will have to check the actual radius, but 1,100 is the population we're looking at on March 4th.

Q: While we're waiting for these models to come out, why not just tell these soldiers to go and get a medical examination, just come right out and say all right, we feel there may be a problem here, tell them to report for a medical examination and get all these soldiers tested. Even before the model comes out.

A: We're talking about large numbers of soldiers, and I think we have to have, we have to approach this responsibly. Making an announcement that might scare people into thinking that they have problems they don't have would not be responsible. So one of the issues is, how do we identify the group of soldiers we think should be tested or contacted? That's what we're working on. That's one of the points of the CIA model, is to help us be a little more targeted in our approach. Seven hundred thousand people served in the Gulf War. We don't want to create a situation, and we've worked very hard not to create a situation, where we raise the specter of health problems that may not exist.

Q: For you to make such a drastic, upward revision as you did -- estimates of troops that might be exposed -- somebody obviously was working on this program told you something to convince you that this problem was much bigger than the 5,000 problem. What is it that you learned to convince you that the estimate of number of troops exposed had to be so drastically revised upwards?

A: The question is level of exposure. Given certain assumptions of wind, amount of ordnance exploded, and the direction of the wind, depending on those assumptions, the numbers can vary over a wide range. I think ultimately what you're likely to get is a range of possibilities. I can't give you precise figures as to the range of possibilities, but...

Q: But you knew that back when you were making the estimates of the 1,100...

A: I did not, as a matter of fact. I had no information about the CIA model back then when we talked in June, or when we talked in mid-September about this. But I think the lesson that I should learn from this, and that we all should learn from this, is that we should probably wait until we get better information about how the dispersion might have worked before we speculate. Because I made it very clear that I didn't know what the figure was, but that it was likely to be larger than 5,000. I still believe that's true.

Q: You said certainly larger than 15,000, as I remember. There was a drastic revision...

A: It depends a lot on how far out you follow the agents, but yes, I'd say that under some circumstances we will have numbers in that area, but I think we should wait and see. The question will be what level of exposure and whether the level of exposure makes a difference. That will be the type of thing that scientists will study for some time.

Q: Of the 500 who have been contacted, how many of them are reporting symptoms that would fall under the Gulf War...

A: I don't know the answer to that.

Q: Were they asked?

A: They've been asked, I believe, to come to register if they haven't already, but I don't know what the results of the conversations with these people are.

Q: Two weeks ago you said 460 had been contacted. This is two weeks later.

A: Right.

Q: That's 20 a week you're contacting?

A: I'm sure that you've had times in your reportorial career where you haven't been able to look in a phone book and find the number of a source or the number is wrong when you do find it. We're talking about records that frequently are old. We're now in the process of trying to send registered letters to these people. It has not been easy to contact all of them.

Q: How many of the 460 are ill?

A: I just said I don't know the answer to that question.

Q: There's a lot of information that's in this building that's not getting up to this podium.

A: That is certainly true.

Q: That goes to the question of whether you're stonewalling and covering up. The Washington Post editorial, see the Baltimore Sun editorial today?

A: I've seen all the editorials. I find that these editorials are painful, obviously. I think that the editorials in fact are being generated because we have been more open in talking about what happened in Khamisayah than in the past. The reason we've been more open is that we have come across information that we didn't have prior to May and June when we made the announcement. At every single stage we have announced what we knew about the possibility of exposure. It so happens that what we know has changed over time. But are you asking me can I tell you the health impact of every person who was around these explosions? No, I cannot. I don't have this information yet, and I'm not sure we have a systematic run-down of the results of talking to these 500 people yet, but I will try to get it.

Q: On the subject of the pages that aren't there in the log, can you tell us now what the officer or the soldier who was in charge or supposed to be in charge of those logs during that day, where she says she was. There was a question about whether she was in the hospital or home sick or something.

A: I don't have a complete picture of what, if anything, happened to those logs, and I think until I do, I'd rather not speculate based on what one or two people may have told us.

Q: I'm not asking for a complete picture, or for you to speculate. Just to say what the soldier who is supposed to be taking care of...

A: I've got conflicting information about those logs, and until I resolve the conflicts, I would rather not talk about the conflicts in public. I'd like to see if we can get them resolved.

Q: Regarding the $5 billion for the low-level studies, how long do you think it will be before there's any conclusion, or whether you can tell whether you can be sick from low-level exposure.

A: I think these studies are probably likely to go on for some time, but I can't give you a precise time on that.

Q: Can you give us a general reaction to the answer to the Institute of Medicine report, at least in their main conclusions, particularly about lack of adequate record keeping, and there are other, whatever you think is the main finding of that report.

A: If we had better records, tracing down this mystery would be a lot easier. We welcome the finding. We welcome the recommendation. We're in the process of trying to develop an electronic medical information system that can be contained on a chip in a soldier's ID card, a sailors's/ID card. We're not there yet. That will make it much easier to keep track of medical trends and events.

You may recall that in January, in the early days of the Bosnia deployment, we had the Surgeon General of the Army come down here and talk about medical care in Bosnia. One of the points he made was that we have learned a lot since the Gulf War.

For instance, in Bosnia we pre-deployed doctors before the soldiers got there in order to do surveys of environmental and other health conditions. We've done a better job of checking soldiers out before they deploy, during the deployment, and part of the program is to check them out after they come home from the deployments more systematically and more aggressively than we did after the Gulf War.

So we have learned from that, and when we're able to marry up more careful clinical evaluation and care with an electronic record keeping system, we'll be in a much better position to track down, we hope, the types of patterns that we've seen after the Gulf War. But we're still dealing with paper records as is, I would say, almost the entire medical care system in the country.

Q: How significant do you think the finding is that said there was no evidence yet to link chemical exposures to the illnesses or any evidence that all of these illnesses were, in fact, related to the Gulf War?

A: That preliminary finding was announced by the Institute of Medicine last year, I believe. This basically reiterated that finding.

One of the frustrations here is that we have not been able to find a common cause for the symptoms that are described as Gulf War Illness. We don't have an explanation. That's one of the things that frustrates the veterans and it's one of the things that has frustrated congressional committees looking at this. It's not from lack of trying. We are limited by the evidence we have and by the way we interpret this evidence. We have tried to stick with the science, and the science has led us to this conclusion.

Q: A year ago they didn't know that 11 tons of sarin had been put into the air by Army engineers at Khamisayah, did they?

A: That's right. We've only known that since, as I said, since May and June when we announced it. We're in the process of trying to find out what the relationship may be. But we do know one thing, and we've known this since 1991 when the event occurred, that there were not signs of acute illness or acute response at the time this happened. What we haven't been able to see yet is, but what we're looking at in light of this new information, is whether there have been subsequent clusters of symptoms that may have been related to some sort of chemical exposure. We don't know that now. That's what we're trying to find out. That's the reason why we've approached this. And it's very clear, that the whole geometry of this problem has changed since we realized that there has been low-level chemical, or the possibility of low-level chemical exposure.

Q: Have there been any clusters pinpointed?

A: Not that I'm aware of, no.

Q: Is the Department of Defense going to continue to allow military officers to work on Capital Hill in apparently what may seem to be partisan political activity?

A: Without accepting the premise of that question, the answer is time will tell. As you know, the Secretary has ordered a review of military officers and civilians from the Department working on the Hill. That review is being done by Assistant Secretary Pang, or being directed by him, and it's supposed to be completed on November 1st. We'll see if there is a problem, and if there is -- and I'm saying if -- what to do about it. But I think it's premature to say how we're going to respond until we find out exactly what the situation is on the Hill.

Q: Do you have any figures on how many people are formally there under programs, and then also a number on the informal number of people that are detailed...

A: I do not. There's a total of about 30 people, but I don't have the breakdown between fellowships and being detailed at this stage. And one of the problems with this is that this is an atomistic program. It's not centrally run in the Department. It's run by each service, and no one yet has pulled together the information. That's one of the things that Mr. Pang will do. In fact he's about to send out a memorandum to the services that asks them to provide him with this information, with people broken down by categories.

Q: How will this peer review thing differ from Dr. White's asking the National Science Foundation to look? All this smacks of spreading the blame around.

A: Well, I'm sorry you see it that way. You could see it as an effort to try to solve complex problems, or do the best we can to deal with very complex information. That's how I think you should look at it.

The peer review deals with one small element which is our efforts and the CIA efforts to calculate dispersion patterns of chemicals that were blown up on March 10th and possibly on March 4th. That's what it's looking at.

Q: But aren't there experts over at the CIA on everything from wind direction to weather? And haven't they been consulting with like the National Weather Service on this thing all along?

A: Of course they have. Of course they have.

Q: Then why can't they just come up with...

A: Because there are many, many variables. How you treat those variables has a big impact on the outcome. The question is, are we making reasonable assumptions? This is clearly an emotional issue. It's a complex issue. It's an issue that deals with something that's very precious to people which is their health. It's something that can generate great concerns by soldiers and their families, and we want to make sure that we have the best possible picture or estimate of what happened on March 10th. That's what we're looking at. If it were easy to do, it would have been done a long time ago. If we had something to hide, we wouldn't be up here day after day talking about information that we released some time ago. We would like to get this behind us, and we hope this model will help us.

Q: When the CIA theoretically sent over its model last Friday, presumably it was satisfied with that model, and then it was looked at here and then sent back, and then sent back over. What was wrong with the model that the CIA sent you that you didn't accept it as being acceptable?

A: The CIA did not present us with a model to accept or reject. The CIA came over and held some technical discussions with people in the Pentagon. They highlighted a number of questions about what they were doing, and those questions were discussed. They went back and did some more work. After that, they briefed Dr. Deutch about the model, and it was he who made the decision that there should be some outside peer review because it is basically a whole series of assumptions.

Q: But what specifically did the Pentagon find lacking in this one that came over here?

A: As I said, I think that's too narrow a way to look at it. It was a discussion about assumptions and how assumptions could be made. They were extremely technical talks.

Q: There's ample records of the weather of that area, as Charlie pointed out. Earlier, you said it was going to be impossible to figure this out.

A: There are ample records and they conflict. It depends on where you measure weather from and at what time. If we had had perfect meteorological devices right around the pit and going out in all directions to measure wind patterns in real time, over a 48- or 72-hour period, we would have a complete weather map. We do not have that. We have to vector, we have to take information from a number of sensors, some of it taken in real time, some of it not, and collate it in some way that makes sense.

Q: Real time photographs?

A: I have not seen all the evidence that is available.

Q: Real time what?

A: Monitoring of wind patterns, for instance.

Q: Satellite monitoring?

A: I'm not aware of all the factors we have, but there were various places where there were wind detectors, wind measurement devices, and other things, that were meteorological stations in the area, but they were not right there. One was in Kuwait. They were not in the immediate area. So it's a question of triangulating information from a number of sources and trying to reconstruct wind patterns. It may seem simple, but it's not.

Q: Has your office come up with a best-case scenario as opposed to a worst-case scenario? Or are you working on something like that?

A: My office isn't doing this. If my office were doing it, it would be hopeful, we'd have people there with slide rules and addition sheets. The answer is no, and that's the issue. The issue is to come up with a decent range.

Q: Apart from Khamisayah, the chemical logs show many detections or indications of detection in the early days of the war in January and February by the French, by the British, by Americans, by Czechs, and a lot of those indicate, or theorize, that perhaps it's from the fallout from the allied bombing of sites more northern in Iraq.

Is there any research going on in this building or the CIA as to the possibility of those destructions of sarin gas and mustard gas drifting down over the battlefield some 150, 200 miles further south?

A: Not that I'm aware of. Those were the issues that arose in 1994 and 1995, whether there had been any exposure.

Q: They did model that.

A: We knew that... What did they find?

Q: It dropped short of the troops at KKMC, but there are others who have used NOAA satellites that show it went to KKMC. You're really behind the curve on this.

A: We had no convincing evidence that there had been widespread chemical exposure.

Q: And you're going back and asking more questions about that...

A: We're going back and looking at everything in light of this, but our main focus is on the troops around the Khamisayah incidents.

Q: Are you saying you did have some reason to suspect there were other possible exposures?

A: That's exactly the opposite of what I said. I said prior to Khamisayah we had no evidence of widespread chemical exposure.

Q: How about reasons to suspect that there were?

A: There were certainly instances, and some have been named here by Patrick and others, about dumps being, or ammunition dumps being exploded farther in the north. But until we made the Khamisayah announcement, we did not have any reason to believe that there had been widespread chemical exposure. Khamisayah changed it. It was obviously a pivotal event because we learned that troops had actually planted explosive charges around chemical weapons and watched them explode from a distance.

Q: So in light of Khamisayah there is some reason to suspect that there might be others?

A: That's the whole point of what's been happening here... No. It's not, there's no reason to expect there might be others. We have to be open to that possibility. In fact one of the things we're doing is going back and checking if there were other examples of troops blowing up ammunition dumps where there may have been chemical weapons. One of the reasons that the Khamisayah incident took so long to discover was that our intelligence before the war and during the war told us that there were no chemical weapons in Khamisayah. After the war, we learned that the Iraqis had moved some chemical weapons to Khamisayah, and actually had, once there, had moved them around within the Khamisayah complex. So we hadn't focused on Khamisayah as a possible storage depot for chemical weapons until after the war.

Q: Has the Secretary received and/or approved the recommendation to inoculate all the troops with an Anthrax virus?

A: I don't believe he's received it yet.

Q: Now that the covering force has started to leave Germany and the IFOR troops are starting to leave Bosnia, can you tell us any more about the status of reserve forces in Bosnia or potentially could be called up to backfill in Germany for the covering force troops that are now leaving?

A: No. I don't have that information. We'll try to find out if it's available.

Q: Do you know what the scope and purpose of this internal Air Force review of the Khobar Tower bombing that was done in parallel with the Downing report was and who authorized it?

A: I think the important thing is to just wait until General Record completes his review, and then that will be the appropriate time to talk about what happened prior to Khobar Towers.

Q: Doesn't this report sort of influence General Record's decision?

A: General Record will have to decide that himself.

Q: Do you know the timing on that?

A: He has 90 days to do it, and I think he was appointed on September 4th, so it will be in early December.

Press: Thank you.

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