And more likely than not at other Veteran Affairs Regional Offices (VARO's) in a diary from yesterday I included the article from Larry Scott at the VA Watchdog.org who was given the information from an employee inside the Detroit Regional Office, no major media outlet has investigated this yet and pressed the VA Secretary James Peake or anyone else at VA in Washington DC for answers.
How wide spread is this, how many veterans and their families were affected by this, were any files actually destroyed? There are many questions that deserve to be answered.
Secretary Peake is known for saying the VA does not do public floggings, excuse me someone damn sure needs to be held accountable that is not a word the Bush Administration does, but even the Bush Administration campaigned in 2004 on "A Promise Made Is A Promise Kept" having employees destroy and hide claims files and evidence needed is not keeping the Promise. These are not only old WW2, Korean War and Vietnam veterans that this is affecting, it also includes the veterans of Mr Bush's wars Iraq and Afghanistan, they all deserve better.
UPDATE: WILL VA'S WALL OF SILENCE QUASH "SHREDDER"
UPDATE: WILL VA'S WALL OF SILENCE QUASH "SHREDDER"
INVESTIGATION? -- VA Secretary Peake's obligation to veterans
is clear cut. But, will he "do the right thing" as he promised?
UPDATE: WILL VA'S WALL OF SILENCE QUASH "SHREDDER" INVESTIGATION?
VA Secretary Peake's obligation to veterans is clear cut. But, will he "do the right thing" as he promised?
by Larry Scott
Yesterday we reported on documents found in shredder bins at the Detroit Regional Office (VARO) of the Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA). The documents included claims for disability benefits and other paperwork critical to the claim process. Story here...
While this may seem shocking to some, it isn't so shocking given the history of that office. Veterans, Service Officers and attorneys will tell horror stories of "lost" documents or paperwork "not received."
The VA's Office of Inspector General (VAOIG) made this discovery. We await their report.
We also await some sort of official statement from the VA on this matter. As reported, a highly-placed official at the VA's Central Office (VACO) merely said, "I can't talk about that."
This attitude is indicative of the VA's "wall of silence" when it comes to bad news.
Since this story broke over a holiday weekend, we haven't heard from VA Secretary James Peake. But, when we do, it will be something like this: "This is an ongoing investigation and VA will take appropriate measures pending the outcome." Basically, more silence.
We see this over and over. When confronted with veterans at the Marion, Illinois VA demanding action concerning the deaths of nine of their brothers, Peake said, "We don't do public floggings." More about the Marion situation here...
Peake's condescending attitude toward those in his charge, the veterans of America, displays more arrogance than exhibited by most third-world dictators.
We also see this in testimony before Congress when the VA is called on the carpet about problems in the system. It's kind of like those retailers who get caught for bait-and-switch advertising, settle with the government, then say, "We didn't do anything wrong, and we won't do it again." VA promises to solve the problems then goes on its merry way to offend again. We see their lips moving, hear sounds, but know the sounds are meaningless... another form of silence because the real issues are not remedied.
Peake, in testimony before the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs prior to his confirmation, said he would "do the right thing" for veterans.
Well, Mr. Secretary, it's time to do just that.
A number of VA Watchdog dot Org readers have sent me portions of the U.S. Code that show the problems Detroit VARO employees may be facing.
TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 101 > § 2071
§ 2071. Concealment, removal, or mutilation generally
(a) Whoever willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, or destroys, or attempts to do so, or, with intent to do so takes and carries away any record, proceeding, map, book, paper, document, or other thing, filed or deposited with any clerk or officer of any court of the United States, or in any public office, or with any judicial or public officer of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
(b) Whoever, having the custody of any such record, proceeding, map, book, document, paper, or other thing, willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; and shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States. As used in this subsection, the term "office" does not include the office held by any person as a retired officer of the Armed Forces of the United States.
And, then there's this section of the Code that outlines Secretary Peake's obligations.
TITLE 44 > CHAPTER 31 > § 3106
§ 3106. Unlawful removal, destruction of records
The head of each Federal agency shall notify the Archivist of any actual, impending, or threatened unlawful removal, defacing, alteration, or destruction of records in the custody of the agency of which he is the head that shall come to his attention, and with the assistance of the Archivist shall initiate action through the Attorney General for the recovery of records he knows or has reason to believe have been unlawfully removed from his agency, or from another Federal agency whose records have been transferred to his legal custody. In any case in which the head of the agency does not initiate an action for such recovery or other redress within a reasonable period of time after being notified of any such unlawful action, the Archivist shall request the Attorney General to initiate such an action, and shall notify the Congress when such a request has been made.
Will this be done?
Or will there be more silence from Secretary Peake and other VA officials as they try to sweep this under the rug... or call it an "isolated" incident... or try to convince us that no documents went missing or were destroyed... or...
Care to take a guess?
Can the MSM and or Congress do what they need to and do a full investigation into this, how about some Presidential wannabe input, where is the McCain and Obama campaigns comments on this, either of these men will inherit this mess in three months, how about getting out in front on it?
What can the readers here do, call, write, send e mails your Comgressman and Senators, send them copies of this and demand accountability, Congressman Waxman hold your investigative hearings let's get to the bottom of this. Disabled veterans and their families deserve answers, not another sweep under the carpet.
UPDATE #1 Since Senator John McCain wants to talk about character issues, where does he stand on this issue, this goes to "character" do you support the troops or not?
I know Senator Obama does, I have talked to people in his office about Edgewood issues in the past Senator Obama has an 80% voting record FOR veterans issues, Senator McCain has a 20% voting record FOR veterans.
I would love to have the campaigns respond to this issue? How about it?\
UPDATE #2 DIGG IT Here please