Lawmakers: Pentagon Can Keep Secret Chemical Weapons Tests on US Troops

House Rules Committee Won't Let Matter Come to a Vote

Back in the 1960s and 1970s, the Pentagon conducted multiple secret tests of chemical and biological weapons, deliberately exposing some 6,000 US troops to nerve gases and various bacterial toxins, to “develop a response plan” in case US troops were ever attacked by chemical weapons. You know, attacked with chemical weapons by someone other than the Pentagon.

The first information about the tests emerged as early as 2000, and veterans groups have been demanding more information, insisting that many of the exposed veterans are suffering adverse effects from their exposure,  and need to know more to seek better treatment. The problem is, the details are all classified.

A handful of Congressmen had been trying to force the Pentagon to declassify the documents, noting it’s been over 50 years since many of the tests happened. Today, however, House leadership decided the secret can remain a secret, shooting down an effort by Rep. Mike Thompson (D – CA) to seek a vote on adding such language to the upcoming defense policy bill.

Not only will Thompson’s language not get included, but the House Rules Committee won’t even let the House vote on the question, saying they believe that such decisions should be left to Defense Secretary James Mattis, the latest in half a century of defense chiefs who’ve all agreed to keep this matter under wraps.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of