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Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 02/17/2011

Ex-CIA analyst Patrick Eddington accuses agency of ‘sitting on’ Gulf War illness documents

By Jeff Stein

A former CIA intelligence analyst says in a new book that the agency is “sitting on” 1.5 million documents that could shed new light on the mysterious maladies that have afflicted veterans of the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

“Twenty years after these veterans were exposed to Iraqi chemical agents and other toxins, they should not have to keep begging the government they fought to defend to make this information public,” the former analyst, Patrick G. Eddington, said in an interview Wednesday in advance of next week’s publication of his book, “Long Strange Journey: An Intelligence Memoir.”

Eddington, who quit the CIA in 1996 because he felt veterans were not getting the full truth about chemical contamination, contends that the agency has continued to resist full declassification of the documents because it “risks embarrassment and condemnation from Congress and veterans if the documents show evidence of additional exposure incidents that were not investigated or followed up."

CIA spokesman George Little rejected Eddington’s charge.

“It’s simply wrong to suggest that the CIA hasn’t publicly released documents on Gulf War illnesses,” he said in response to a query. “In fact, such material is readily available on our Web site.”

Soon after the end of the so-called "100-hour war" that ousted Saddam Hussein’s troops from Kuwait, U.S. troops and civilians began complaining of “fatigue, headache, joint pains, sleep disturbances and memory problems,” according to a list of symptoms compiled by the Veterans Administration.

Arguments have raged for years over the causes of “Gulf War Syndrome,” including whether it was caused by blundering U.S. attacks on Iraqi chemical weapons depots.

In 1998, the agency admitted to having more than a million previously undisclosed documents on the Gulf War, including chemical weapons incidents, in a CIA inspector general’s report on allegations by Eddington and his wife, also a CIA analyst, that agency bosses had retaliated against them for their criticism.

“The amount of the data the agency admitted sitting on in 1998 is what I found staggering,” said Eddington, now an aide to Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), who was chairman of the House intelligence committee’s oversight panel from 2007 through 2010.

Last year Holt inserted a provision into the fiscal year 2010 Intelligence Authorization Act mandating a CIA declassification review of its documents.

“Given how the CIA embarrassed itself 15 years ago on this issue, it’s not terribly shocking the agency would drag its feet on declassifying this material,” Eddington maintained, “but that doesn’t make it any less unconscionable.”

Despite CIA spokesman Little's denial of Eddington's charges, the former analyst is not backing down.

“Clearly, those 1.5 million documents are not on their Web site," he said. “They’re trying to peddle the nonsense that, since they’ve put a pitiful handful of documents on their Web site, Gulf War Syndrome-related intelligence is ‘readily available.’”

“Just as soon as they declassify in full those 1.5 million documents and post them to," he added, "I’ll be happy to acknowledge that—after nearly 15 years—they’ve taken a real step to come clean on what they know."

By Jeff Stein  | February 17, 2011; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Foreign policy, Intelligence, Media, Military  
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The problem here is in 1995 all these records were declassified in a massive Presidential project at DIA that cost over a $100,000,000. It was to be released in 1997 on the military Gulflink server. Of the 6.1 million records over 1.7 million were medically relevant to include CIA records. So there is no reason to declassify them twice. The issue is that they have been reclassified Top Secret in order to sit on them longer ( past 25 years ) in order for the people who committed major mistakes to avoid legal prosecution for those mistakes.

Even as we speak DSS at the Pentagon is busy trying to avoid 12 year old FOIA's that try to inventory these records to force there release. Which are all housed at the Force Health Protection server at the Pentagon. This is not NARA who would have to recontact each individual government organization records authority, it was done in 1995 with over 25,000,000.

You cant just pursue CIA on this as the total volume of all those records arent just with them and Walpoles former staff. Which also raises the question of why the Presidential Special Oversight Board in 1999 ignored many of these facts in its investigation of the Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illness at DOD.

This is a major issue of government fraud, waste, and concealment from the public at tax payers dollars of things that are not even national security any more. Yet, we still spend more money each year to store these records in several locations out of the sight of the general public.

If the Gulf War went so well, why is it still 99% classified 20 years after the war. It is mostly to protect George W Bush from public embarrassment rather than show how that war was really handled and what went wrong during it ( to include the Highway of Death situation Kuwait ).

All records from the 1991 Gulf war should be released to the public. That would at least mean Confidential and Secret records at the 10 year mark. To include the chemical, biological, and nuclear incidents that happened during the aerial bombing.

Posted by: kirtlove1 | February 18, 2011 6:47 AM | Report abuse

Where is the Post coverage of "Curveball"?

He confessed to the Guardian in London two days ago that he lied about WMD.

Colin Powell has demanded an investigation.

"Slam Dunk" Tenet has denied everything and blamed everyone else.

Yet the word curveball gets no hits on a search of the Post.

What gives?

Posted by: vtreacy | February 18, 2011 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Good question about "curveball" the known pathological liar who Doug Fieth used as a source, despite his previous lies. How long will it be before we get sufficient information to put the entire Bush Crime Family in Pelican Bay or San Quentin?

The CIA needs to be completely cleaned out and re-started. Yeah, I know, a lot of talent and records, and blah, blah, and we will be susceptible to terrible attacks like 9/11, . . oh wait, we already HAVE!!

Get the Steam Cleaner!!

Posted by: gkam | February 19, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Gulf War ? I always laugh when I see that skirmish referred to as a " War ". And that big blob of sh** Swarteznekopphf made out to be a Hero. Imagine Korea being referred to as a " Police Action " . Korea and ever since has become a contest to test weapons,and to see how many we can kill and how many of ours can be killed. None of them have been fought since then , that we can say we actually won . And the case will be the same in the Middle East . You think the little Runt in Iran would sit on the Nuclear Arsenal we've got and fight hand to hand , or send his boobs over to be killed with Roadside Bombs ? And all he's waiting for isn't a Nuke . It's a Rocket that will send one from a Barge in the Ocean , or from Cuba to take care of the Big Satan. We know Israel is the Little Satan. The biggest travesty of all was Viet Nam and the Propaganda that was spread about any of our kids who finally got smart and refused to kill any more . And the Kalle incident was the only one we really found out about.
Korea and it's 38th Parallel dictum. Can you imagine any American playing a football game, fighting tooth and nail to get to the 50 yard line, and then being told to hand the ball over to the other team to see how they can do ? Yeah , and I just love Root Canal . Well , that was the order of the day in Korea . Fight and Die until you reach the 38th Parallel and go no further. And I remember Tricky Richard saying, we won't go into Cambodia, and before the words were out of his mouth, the people there were being bombed and it didn't matter if it was a child's arm or leg , or the arm of an enemy, that flew into the air. You want to know why all this goes on ? Because the Bastardos who make all these wars don't have to go over and die or be maimed for life. Or they adopt the old Roman Culture of a Rich Man being able to pay a poor man so his son can serve and die in place of the Brat. Do da name GW ring a bell ? Or do you count the Air National Guard or being Commander-in-Chief , as serving . If that's the case, then " Court Martial " Jug-Ears for ," Conduct Unbecoming " .

Posted by: puck-101 | February 21, 2011 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Question: If our veterans are suffering from this malady, caused by exposure to chemical weapons, or something else, then the Iraqi's who live there should be suffering also. Is there any evidence of this?

Posted by: DCeiver | February 21, 2011 3:21 PM | Report abuse

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