Congressman Jeff Miller

VA recently admitted to secretly recording a veteran and his family at the VHA in Haley, FL, in a rather disturbing set of questions from Congressman Jeff Miller. The device was hidden in a fire alarm without the family’s knowledge or consent.

Once the family was notified, VA lied to the family by claiming the video and audio were not being recorded. VA later admitted that the family was being recorded.

This may have violated the veteran’s Constitutional right to privacy, but the VA claims the actions were justified despite the veteran’s rights.

I stumbled across this questioning while doing another investigation last month and wanted to pass on the information to readers from a September 2012 hearing. Unfortunately, it did not make national headlines, and I could not find any follow-up from Congress after this hearing.

In the future, do not be surprised if the VA is recording you during hospital visits or disability compensation meetings. Rumors have circulated for the past few years that VA has been recording veterans for undisclosed purposes while in VHA hospitals. Now we know, at least in Haley, FL, that the VA will secretly watch you from hidden cameras.

 

Here is the story:

VA officials from Haley VA Medical Center, Florida, admitted that they secretly set up a recording system in the room of one disabled veteran without consent and without notifying the veteran or his family.

To make matters worse, rather being putting the video camera in plain sight, VA officials decided to hide it in a smoke detector. This “official decision” resulted in an infringement in the family’s right to privacy and was possibly a constitutional infringement. And, it is probably not the only incident.

Initially, when asked about the recordings, VA officials lied to reporters and the family by claiming that the video feed was not being recorded. They also claimed the audio was not being recorded. Later, VA officials admitted the statements were in fact not true, and that they were keeping recordings of the video and audio.

Congressman Jeff Miller, Majority Leader of the House Committee of Veterans Affairs, pressed VA’s Scott Gould about the matter. Ultimately, Gould stood by the VA’s decision, claiming the illegal recordings were made to preserve the safety of the veteran. In response to the allegations, Gould said, “Our greatest priority is safety and security of our patients, and we secured it with that camera.”

Safety and security? I would assume the VA should first be worried about the Constitution and the right of the veteran’s family to privacy.

In response, Rep. Jeff Miller said, “Common sense would say if you’re going to put a camera up, just put a camera up where people can see it.” He continued, “For some reason, someone [in the VA] made the decision to hide the camera. It was installed without notice. It was installed without consent. What is interesting to me… is that there is a claim that consent is not required within a VA facility…” The family tried to expressly state to VA that there was no consent given.

As previously stated, rumors have surfaced that the VA has begun recording veterans in VHA facilities without knowledge during Comp & Pension examinations, too. If those rumors are true, the VA is likely trying to build video cases against veterans’ disability claims.

Sadly, VA policies that are both anti-veteran and anti-Constitution have been surfacing over the past few months in a greater number than in recent years. It seems that the only thing the VA has excelled at is maintaining status quo despite the record amounts of money the agency has received from Congress.

While blowing billions in taxpayer dollars, VA has simultaneously been blowing holes in the Constitution.

Here is my big concern. What has happened since this hearing to ensure VA understands that veterans – the same people who swore to protect the Constitution – also get to enjoy its liberties after taking off the uniform?

I think we need to circle back around with Congress to ensure VA has provided the House Committee on Veterans Affairs with the information they promised to provide. I for one am done trusting the government to govern without citizen oversight.

Sources:

Tampa Bay Times

Haley VA Admits Recording Feed From ‘Covert’ Camera In Hospital Room

 

House Committee on Veterans Affairs: September 20, 2012

Veterans Affairs in the 112th Congress: Reviewing VA’s Performance and Accountability

14 COMMENTS

  1. Some recruiters tell prospective recruits that, in exchange for serving the nation, their medical expenses will, for life, be paid for by the Veterans Administration. Both I and my cousin can testify to that, along with hundreds of other VA ‘clients’.

  2. Since the VA has been doing this all along it is hard to believe it will stop. When in a Hospital setting no one’s private conversations with family should ever be videoed or taped. It is a clear violation of the 4th Amendment by Government and is the reason for the 4th Amendment. Everyone in that chain of command is Guilty of blatant disregard for Veterans. This needs to be fully investigated and those in charge put in Prison. Where are ABC, CBS, or NBC as this is exposed? The failure of it to make National News, as so many hollow platitudes are being given about Vets, the failure is insulting. The Government spies on them while in treatment and who knows where those videos go. No excuse is justified by the Government’s ongoing violations. How can any Veteran trust his Health Care providers if their collecting private conversations for use against them?

  3. OH GOODY!!! BECAUSE I RECORDED NOT WITH INTENT TO HEAR THE OTHER PERSON BUT FOR ME IN CASE I CANNOT REMEMBER THE WHOLE CONVERSATION. TRULY, ITS MEDICALLY NECCESSARY BUT MAN DID I CATCH A BIG ONE! OH PLEASE VA FLAG AND TAG ME,FILM ME AND RECORD IT ALL, WE SHALL SEE WHOM SUE’S WHOM! I LOVE IT, FOOLISH CORRUPTION THAT IS CALLED THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION AND SHOULD BE CALLED “FTV’!” ( F-CK THE VETERANS) ITS JUST SUCH A FITTING NAME! NOT SURPRISED, HEY, COME FILM ME! WE CAN MAKE IT A DATE!

  4. OH GOODY!!! BECAUSE I RECORDED NOT WITH INTENT TO HEAR THE OTHER PERSON BUT FOR ME IN CASE I CANNOT REMEMBER THE WHOLE CONVERSATION. TRULY, ITS MEDICALLY NECCESSARY BUT MAN DID I CATCH A BIG ONE! OH PLEASE VA FLAG AND TAG ME,FILM ME AND RECORD IT ALL, WE SHALL SEE WHOM SUE’S WHOM! I LOVE IT, FOOLISH CORRUPTION THAT IS CALLED THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION AND SHOULD BE CALLED “FTV’!” ( F-CK THE VETERANS) ITS JUST SUCH A FITTING NAME! NOT SURPRISED, HEY, COME FILM ME! WE CAN MAKE IT A DATE!

  5. It is illegal for any conversation or filming to be done by the VA or Person who maybe in attendance of a C&P exam. As fr me, a witness brought and know when my ain level is up thee I begin talking with key missing words. But do not worry, that C&P did nothing. Gee Ms. hickey was a really big liar who played with the wrong woman. She made a big Oops! But that is going to cost them in so many damn ways! Being I happen to know a bit too much, gaining the knowledge here, man it shall be a battlefield for the attorneys and I don’t care how much I get, but I really want the world to see “Gee AINT IT JUST DAMN SPECIAL TO BE AN AMERICAN VETERAN? WE FIND WAYS TO TREAT OUR OWN JUST LIKE STEPPING IN A BIG PILE OF THE SAME OLD RHETORIC OF D.C., DOG SHIT!

  6. I just read my Mental Health and physical injury C&P examiner’s reports from last week. They admitted not reading my C-file. They indicate they told me a lot of things about the exam being used against me and they might be witnesses against me.
    They include a transcript of ALMOST everything I said, except that I was in the hospital the night before in Tachycardia because of stress–heart and PTSD (50%)..
    I was not informed I was being tape recorded — and no one was typing out what I said. I feel seriously violated personally and legally.
    This is what I would call seriously adversarial conduct.

  7. How did I join the U.S. Army with an agent Orange birth defect (Spina Bifida) ,I didn’t know I had Spina Bifida until after returning from the Iraq War ? Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs saw and knew I had Spina Bifida since birth and never told me. Now I have PTSD and I was permanently disabled prior to joining the Army, Bush and Cheney deployed me to Iraq War with a “Go” deployment status. They tried to murder me.

  8. The bottom line is; there can be no justification to legitimize the violation of a citizen’s rights. Period. It is a codified crime to attempt to justify such a violation of a citizen’s rights. Such a crime is called Conspiracy Against Rights under 18 U.S. Code § 241.

    The problem remains that this crime is never prosecuted. Were it prosecuted, the guilty parties could face serious charges that would send a clear message to others who take citizen’s rights for granted.

  9. Long story, but I have been experiencing tape recording of private group therapy sessions and the intercom system being turned on by the VA police and used to harass me in addition to the VA police and an employee (coupled with other veterans with a military history in some field of security) following me, provoking me, making false reports and engaging in entrapment. I am being traumatized after ferreting out corruption and fraud in government contracts. I was employed as a GS-13 DoD contract specialist/contracting officer after 12.5 years of active-duty service in the Navy). I tried to prevent major contractors and government employees from colluding together to defraud the taxpayers. Once I reported all I discovered to management, I have been an enemy of the state. My life has been destroyed. I have no money to pay for health care since I was suspended from my DoD position since October 2013 (my security clearance was suspended under the guise of national security on trumped up psychological reasons because I reported the heinous crimes being committed against me through the use of psychological warfare). I was going to the VA because I was traumatized and isolated. The only time I left the house was to drive nearly an hour to the VA. So, that was the prime place to continue the persecution so that there could be a reason found to institutionalize me, cause me to commit an act of violence or to cause me to take my life. I’ve been stripped of the very rights and freedoms I served to protect. It’s far worse than what was done to citizens prior to the civil rights movement because much of the COVERT attacks are accomplished via leading edge technology and linked networks (Infragard, neighborhood watch, Intelligence watchlists, etc.) . Today, I made a complaint to the Chief of Staff at the VA hospital I had been going to for treatment as I believe that a “secret” PRF Category I was placed in my patient records and the Chief of Staff at the VA hospital where the PRF is initially entered is responsible for informing the patient of the PRF and explaining the reasons it was put in his/her medical file (a PRF would be unjustifiable). The constant harassment and provocation/recording/skits/entrapment I am put through every time I go to the VA (most times, I was going at least twice a week), make me extremely fearful for my safety. I served during the Gulf War and I am not a combat veteran, but I can tell you that I feel as though I am going into combat every time I go to the VA. I have to enter a combat zone with no protective gear and no backup, surrounded by the enemy. If there is anyone else out there who had the courage to take a stand against corruption and fraud and basically signed their execution papers, I would love to hear from you. BTW, I also exposed nonconsensual human subject testing on military members via DARPA contracts awarded by the DoD agency I worked for. DARPA wanted to take the right steps, but the agency I worked for was just concerned about getting the money for awarding the contracts rather than doing what was right and safe for our military members. There is much more to my story, but I don’t want to freak you all out too much. Please know I am grateful for the sacrifices each and every one of you in the service now and retired/veterans have made. I also know that many military believe that loyalty trumps all else. I was and am extremely loyal but there are just some principles, ethics, and morals which I am not willing to compromise. If cooperating to meet personal agenda not in line with our national security and violative of the foundation upon which this great country was formed make one a traitor, then so be it. Note — If I end up in one of the three conditions mentioned above, you now know why (but.. the VA will say I’m suffering from “paranoia.” Peace and health to you all.

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