White House panel criticizes Pentagon probe of Gulf War illnessMay 1, 1997
Web posted at: 1:23 p.m. EDT (1723 GMT)
From Military Affairs Correspondent Jamie McIntyre
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A White House panel has concluded that a Pentagon probe of the destruction of chemical weapons after the Persian Gulf War involved "substantial mismanagement and lack of communication" between the military and the intelligence community.
But the committee said the conclusion has no impact on the findings and recommendations of its earlier report released last year.
That report by the Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Illnesses concluded that the evidence of chemical agent release at Kamisiyah was "overwhelming" but that current scientific evidence does not support a causal link between illnesses suffered by veterans and chemical warfare agents.
The panel also complained about the Pentagon's adherence to federal privacy laws in withholding the names of some veterans it has interviewed until they contact the veteran to get permission to identify them to the panel.
The panel had been asked by President Clinton to continue its work after it issues final reports in December and October.
Also Thursday, Defense Secretary William Cohen said former New Hampshire Sen. Warren Rudman has agreed to serve as a special advisor providing additional oversight of the Pentagon's efforts to investigate the mysterious illnesses.
Cohen said, "The information is not being manipulated, the information is not being withheld. There is no coverup, and I think someone with Senator Rudman's expertise and background will serve this function very, very well."
Cohen also confirmed that Deputy Defense Secretary John White -- who had been overseeing the Gulf War Illness investigation -- has asked to leave the Pentagon at the end of June.
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