A draft congressional report maintains that Patriot missiles used against Iraqi Scuds in the Persian Gulf War were not nearly as successful as the Pentagon claims.
"The strongest evidence supports a claim that the Patriot destroyed a few Scud warheads," a source involved in the investigation said Tuesday. "And there are even questions about those."The House Government Operations Committee, led by Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., is scheduled to meet next week to adopt the report.
The Army initially claimed that the Patriot achieved an 80 percent success rate in Saudi Arabia and 50 percent in Israel. Those claims were later scaled back to 70 percent and 40 percent and may be scaled back still further because of the committee's findings.
A new look at the evidence shows that even those claims are overblown, said the official, who spoke only on condition of anonymity.
"There isn't any definitive proof that the Patriot intercepted any Scuds," the source said. "At best, we have a few cases where there's strong circumstantial evidence that Scuds were hit."
The conclusions were first reported in Wednesday's editions of the Christian Science Monitor, which said the missile's maker strongly disputed the criticism.
Robert Stein, a manager for Raytheon Co., based in Lexington, Mass., said: "Patriot's very credible performance and success can be measured by the events as they occurred," the newspaper reported.