A former Central Intelligence Agency analyst is suing the CIA and the Department of Defense to obtain thousands of documents he says will prove U.S. troops were exposed to Iraqi chemical and biological weapons during the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
Patrick Eddington resigned from the CIA in October. He claims the agency and the Pentagon were covering up evidence that Iraqi chemical and biological weapons were responsible for at least some of the illnesses many veterans blame on their service in the Persian Gulf.
Last week, Eddington and his wife, Robin - also a former CIA analyst - filed a 21-page lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act in federal district court in the District of Columbia.
Among the documents they are seeking are missing pages from nuclear, biological and chemical logs kept by the U.S. Central Command (Centcom) staff for Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf.
The Gulf War Veterans of Georgia obtained some of the logs, which show dozens of detections of chemical agents during and immediately after the Gulf War. But many pages and dates are missing, including a critical period in March 1991 when U.S. troops blew up the huge Khamisiyah ammunition depot, which the Pentagon now acknowledges released chemical agents.
Pentagon officials recently said they do not know where the missing documents are.
"When I made an official request for the still-classified portions of the logs as a CIA employee in 1995, I was not told that the logs were 'missing' or otherwise unaccounted for," Eddington said. "I was told by Centcom officials (via the CIA representative) to contact the Defense Department's public affairs office - a policy-making office - for the logs.
"Public affairs offices do not maintain classified historical records. I believe that the Defense Department has either destroyed the incriminating pages or is continuing to withhold the data.
"Either way, this lawsuit will require government officials to state
under oath exactly where they are looking and how extensive their search
The lawsuit claims the CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency and other Defense Department agencies have not complied with Freedom of Information Act requests Eddington has been filing since 1993.
Pentagon and CIA officials could not be reached for comment on the lawsuit, but both agencies previously have denied Eddington's charges.
The lawsuit also demands records that could lift the veil of secrecy from still-classified operations deep inside Iraq by elite special-operations forces, including Green Berets, Rangers and Delta Force.
Besides seeking operational orders and reports from U.S. Special Operations Command, which controls all special operations forces, the lawsuit asks for records from the little-known Joint Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C.
The command directly controls Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta - the official name for Delta Force - and the units that support Delta Force.
The Pentagon has acknowledged Delta Force was used to hunt for and destroy Iraqi sites launching Scud missiles against Israel. But it long has been rumored in special-operations circles that Delta Force and Green Beret units also were dispatched to destroy Iraqi chemical, biological and nuclear weapons sites.
Dr. Garth Nicholson, a California researcher formerly with a university cancer center in Texas, claims to have treated almost 100 special-operations veterans for a genetically engineered biological warfare agent. The Army recently agreed to investigate his claims.
The Privacy Act portions of the Eddingtons' lawsuit seek to determine why the CIA launched a counterintelligence investigation into the couple's activities when they began researching the Gulf War. The Eddingtons began their research after Robin Eddington was assigned under a CIA fellowship program to the Senate Banking Committee, which started an investigation into Gulf War illnesses in 1993.
"My wife and I were trying to assist U.S. veterans discover what was causing their illnesses, and we learned that one of the CIA offices that investigated (convicted CIA traitor) Aldrich Ames had suddenly taken an interest in our activities," Eddington said.
The Eddingtons, who had been with the CIA for nine years, claim their promising intelligence careers were destroyed by the investigation.
Orignally Published, January 20, 1997 , Belleville News Democrat,
(c) 1997, Belleville News-Democrat, Belleville, Ill.
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