March 9, 2010
The Honorable Dianne Feinstein
Chair, Select Committee on Intelligence
United States Senate
331 Senate Hart Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Feinstein:
Veterans for Common Sense urges you to please retain Section 348 of H.R. 2701 of the Fiscal Year 2010 Intelligence Authorization Act during the conference with the House of Representatives. This vital section requires a declassification review of Central Intelligence Agency records that are pertinent to the health problems being suffered by as many as 175,000 of my fellow Gulf War veterans. We want to know why we are ill so we can get treatment.
Between 1991 and 1996, the Department of Defense and the CIA denied any Iraqi chemical agents had been detected. In June 1996, as a result of pressure from two CIA analysts and a handful of Gulf War veterans (including me), the CIA announced it had discovered intelligence records revealing as many as 145,000 of us were exposed to low levels of Iraqi agents.
In 1998, the CIA made an admission in a report, “Special Assessment: Allegations Regarding the Handling of Information Concerning the Possible Exposure of United States Armed Forces to Chemical Weapons During the Persian Gulf War” --
[The U.S. Government has] identified more than 1.5 million documents as a result of the new electronic and office searches. But the task force does not plan to review each of these documents to determine which are relevant and process those documents for declassification and release.
VCS asks the Senate join the House and retain Section 348 so these documents are reviewed. After 19 years of waiting, our ill Gulf War veterans deserve to know the facts about our exposures so we may receive medical treatments and benefits.