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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 21, 1996


In March 1995, I announced my intention to leave no stone unturned in our efforts to determine the causes of the illnesses being experienced by veterans of the Gulf War and to provide effective medical care to those who are ill. Since that time, we have been pursuing a wide range of initiatives on Gulf War illnesses, including re-examining intelligence and operational records for evidence of possible exposure to chemical or biological weapons.

As part of this ongoing effort, the Department of Defense, based partly on information brought to its attention by the United Nations Special Commission, has confirmed that, shortly after the war, U.S. troops destroyed an Iraqi ammunition bunker that contained chemical weapons. Chemical detectors were used by U.S. troops both before and during the destruction operation. While we have no evidence today that Americans were exposed to chemical weapons during the operation, this is a very important issue which we will continue to investigate thoroughly.

The release of this new information reflects my commitment to unraveling the Gulf War illnesses problem. We will continue to work closely with the Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses to ensure that we are doing everything possible to address the health consequences of service in the Persian Gulf. We will also continue to make new information on this important issue available to veterans and their families.

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