Agent Orange

Today, ProPublica hammered a key VA official who denies the harm caused by use of dangerous toxins commonly referred to as Agent Orange.

Commenting on testimony provided to a VA advisory committee, lead analyst Jim Sampsel, dismissed present concerns over Agent Orange exposure, calling it “hype” and “hysteria” not based on “science.”

This curious given the longstanding obstruction VA and DoD have engaged in regarding the effects of herbicides using in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War including massive redactions of evidence and voodoo science to support the interests of Monsanto, the two companies responsible for manufacturing the toxin.

Much of the research in the past that I reviewed, which is part of the Alvin Young Collection, focused on impacts of dioxin exposure at normal levels. This assumption fails to account for the military’s use of the dioxin in highly concentrated forms to function as a chemical weapon, according to Russian research published at the time. (more on this below)

The collection consists of much of the research reviewed by US Air Force’s supposed subject matter expert Alvin Young, PhD. He went on to deny the harm caused by herbicides used in Vietnam and testified as a hired gun expert for Dow and Monsanto when the companies were sued by Vietnam veterans decades ago.

Assertions Of VA Agent Orange Denier Jim Sampsel

The testimony was presented last March to the committee in an effort to explain why VA denies to many claims related to the herbicide, “When it comes to Agent Orange, the facts don’t always matter.” Sampsel continued, “So we have to deal with the law as written.”

His subsequent testimony has caused enormous outrage in the veteran community due to Sampsel’s narrow view of the research and medical literature. In his testimony, Sampsel revealed VA will not include hypertension or high blood pressure within the list of presumptive conditions despite recent medical research supporting the connection.

RELATED: What Did VA Cover Up With Incomplete Thailand AO Report?

It should be important to note Sampsel is a Vietnam veteran who is VA’s lead analyst for Agent Orange research and Gulf War Syndrome research within VA Compensation. Quite often, agencies make use of a supposed “friendly” to destroy opposition to the same group.

Here, Sampsel is seen as a sellout by other Vietnam veterans. When you read what follows, his allegiances seem clear.

READ: Sampson Anti-Agent Orange Benefits Testimony Transcript

Sample Of Sampsel’s Assertions Highlighted By ProPublica

The following are examples of the outrageous assertions made by Sampsel to the committee followed by facts revealed by ProPublica that counter the allegations:

 He said he believes Agent Orange contained “very, very small amounts” of dioxin, which was quickly destroyed by sunlight and the open air. “That’s not commonly acknowledged by advocates,” he said. Moreover, Sampsel said, U.S. planes did not spray it when American troops were in the area.

In fact, a report by the Aspen Institute notes that on leaf and soil surfaces, dioxin will last one to three years and that dioxin under the surface could have a half-life of more than 100 years. Moreover, scientists have said that there are numerous ways in which American troops may have been exposed to the herbicide and some disagree that few troops were exposed.

 Sampsel pushed back against claims that veterans who served outside of Vietnam were exposed to Agent Orange. “When we get to outside of Vietnam, there’s a lot of controversy about Agent Orange use. And primarily it’s media hype, in my opinion.”

In fact, veterans who served in Thailand, near the Korean demilitarized zone, in Okinawa, Japan, and aboard ships off the coast of Vietnam contend they were exposed in a variety of ways. Some have produced memos, photos and testimonials that have been enough to convince the Board of Veterans Appeals, the VA’s tribunal, that there was sufficient evidence to prove exposure and that they were entitled to benefits.

 Sampsel criticized the Board of Veterans Appeals for its decisions. “BVA is, can do anything they want. I don’t know if everybody understands BVA. BVA has caused a lot of, what I would call misinformation about Agent Orange issues.”

A member of the advisory panel, Thomas J. Pamperin, responded to Sampsel at the March meeting: “A decision by the Board of Veterans Appeals is the secretary’s final decision. I mean, we can’t distance ourselves from the Board of Veterans Appeals. It is part of the VA.”

And in its statement, the VA said it, too, respects the BVA. “BVA is the highest appellate authority in VA,” it said. “They are attorneys who review the evidence of record and make decisions.” While the VA may not always agree with a decision, “their decisions are final and are implemented when issued.”

 Sampsel criticized the prestigious Institute of Medicine, a congressionally chartered research organization hired by the VA, which in 2015 determined that the evidence suggested that a group of Air Force reservists could have been exposed to Agent Orange years after the Vietnam War when they flew aboard the C-123 planes that had been used to spray the herbicide.

“One scientist from Harvard or somewhere said that dried, solidified TCDD dioxin never stops emanating molecules into the air,” Sampsel said. “Hardly anybody bought that at the time, but the IOM went with it.”

He added a bit later: “I don’t think the science supports it. Most scientists don’t think the science supports it, but the law is what it is.”

The Institute of Medicine, now called the National Academy of Medicine, found that the dioxin present on the aircraft could have exposed reservists who flew the planes years later. In its report, it said one contention of the VA and its expert, Alvin Young, was “inaccurate,” another “appears to be conjecture and not evidence-based” and a third was based on a study funded by Dow Chemical Co., one of the herbicide’s makers.

In its statement, the VA said the Institute of Medicine “provides a valuable service to VA.”

 Sampsel favorably cited Young, an Air Force officer, federal official and later the government’s go-to consultant, who has guided the stance of the military and the VA on Agent Orange and whether it has harmed service members. “I’m not the scientist,” Sampsel said at one point. “But I know that Dr. Alvin Young and the majority, the vast majority, of scientists don’t think that anybody gets any harmful effects from something that’s in the soil, buried in the soil.”

But ProPublica and The Virginian-Pilot reported last fall that critics say Young’s work is compromised by inaccuracies, inconsistencies or omissions of key facts, and relies heavily on his previous work, some of which was funded by Monsanto Co. and Dow Chemical Co., the makers of Agent Orange. Young also served as an expert for the chemical companies in 2004 when Vietnam vets sued them. In an interview at the time, Young defended his work.

 Sampsel said Young’s research showed that Agent Orange “never went to the Philippines, never went to Okinawa, never went to Guam,” as some veterans contend.

A member of the panel interjected because he felt that Sampsel was being overly broad.

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Yes, yes. You’re, you’re absolutely correct,” Sampsel said, noting he should have said there was currently no evidence. “And if evidence does show up, we’ll certainly change our policy. … You’re right.”

After the first day, one commenter highlighted Sampsel’s deficiencies. Jerry Manar, a recently retired VFW member, commented:

There were no written public comments. Jerry Manar, a Veteran who recently retired from VFW, said he was disturbed by Mr. Sampsel’s presentation on Agent Orange. In one instance it conflated a lack of evidence of exposure with evidence of no exposure. It was openly dismissive of evidence of herbicide usage while extolling the virtues of Alvin Young, whom many regard as a biased source. Mr. Manar also commented on a remark by Mr. Sampsel that the Secretary would probably deny the creation of a presumptive for hypertension. He felt this position was taken largely for budgetary reasons, and if the Secretary were to grant a presumptive it would help tens of thousands of Veterans.

Rick Weidman, legislative director for Vietnam Veterans of America, called for everyone supporting Sampsel’s position within VA, including Sampsel, be fired.

“Where they are now is doing active evil,” Weidman said. He added that he doesn’t expect Sampsel and other VA employees to necessarily be advocates “but we do expect them to be neutral and honest arbiters of science — and they are not.”

Years ago, I searched through the Alvin Young Collection located at the US Department of Agriculture. Some of the documents are located online but many of them are not.

One very disturbing note came from Brooks Air Force Base. It was a translation from a Russian medical journal highlighting how the US used herbicides with dioxin as a chemical weapon instead of merely as a defoliant.

The military would mix many times the normal dose with the stated goal of inflicting harm on civilians and military personnel, according to the USSR researchers, at least.

In light of all the various lay statements from veterans concerning the spraying of toxic herbicides in locations outside Vietnam, why is VA still running scared from acknowledging what we all know…?

Not every mission was cataloged and not every area sprayed by the harmful herbicides was likewise memorialized in logs of any kind.

But, does that mean our military never did it?

If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is there to hear it fall, does it make a sound when crashing onto the forest floor?

Using Sampsel’s logic, the answer would be a nonsensical, “No.”



B.S. I agree with, Rick Weidman, fire them all, and on the way out, carry a non English speaking quack, under each arm.

“[If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is there to hear it fall, does it make a sound when crashing onto the forest floor? Using Sampsel’s logic, the answer would be a nonsensical, “No.”]” Does a bear shit in the woods, generally? I say it’s high-time to hold a massive televised interview with Benjamin Krause on one end of the table serving each and everyone of these VA Agent Orange Deniers (BVA Murphy, too), are being served… Read more »

**Disclaimer** Although I believe bears generally do shit in the woods, contrary to consumerism and marketing TV commercials would have you believe; bears DO NOT use toilet paper.

Seymore Klearly

I like that “bears generally do shit in the woods”. With the way I continually have to clean up their shit in my yard. I know the old saying isn’t always true!

James s Gallegos

Seymore, when are you going to do some more investigation work about the VA !

I really enjoy reading your posts. !


Exactly my first thoughts, sir. Let them eat burn pit pancakes. Spoon up some nuke or depleted uranium soups. Or take some AO showers while of course, as they …. oh oh better stop there. The suits in DC have soap on a rope or dope a soap.

I better go lay back down. Take care all!


Dope on a rope of soap?

James Clement
Another article that gets me so pyssed off I now do feel homicidal. Time for some vape. As a young Marine at MCAS Futema on Okinawa in 1974 and 1975 – – – Agent Orange and Agent Pink were stored all over the island. The Japanese are still dealing with that mess today. There are frequent articles in their papers about how it affects them. Sick and tired of VA DENIES AND LIES UNTIL WE DIE. Ball-less lying Motherfuckers. FIX… Read more »

Sadly, BUT realistically, your post is incredibly SPOT ON to the letter and reference. I have written numerous responses to websites, blogs, and newspapers, expecting CID, FBI, NSA, and Secret Service to come knocking on my door because of some of the things I wrote.

The VA is scandalous, they are criminal deviants, liars, and manipulators not to mention extortionists….




There is no voting them out or ridding ourselves from all the appointees (cliques) from bottom to top keeping the old guard or shadow governing in power. Like keeping those in positions with connections to Monsanto etc., or big Pharma. When the sheep don’t even notice towns in a state are near completely cut off from easy access to state’s capitol news and information, bad sign it’s all over but the crying. When some vets wanting change are totally ignored,… Read more »
“” Their petition not doing so well about this. Young is another VA tool and fool. Their petition over the budget: “” It’s all about time and kicking the can down the road so vast amounts of people will fall silent, tired, or dead. Truth is Indiana’s governor, capitol city mayor Hoggsett, the whole sheebang to DC do not care about vets, period. If they did all the bs would cease, fast. No, the priority list here is sanctuary for… Read more »
Crazy elf
I’m not sure if y’all have seen a brand new commercial on a “Class Action Lawsuit against Monsanto” recently. It concerns “dioxin” being used in the “commercial use of Round Up!” Seems it causes “neuropathy” in people who have bought it at many stores, then used it to kill weeds in their yards or gardens at home! Places where it can be purchased is: ie; Lowes, Ace Hardware, Home Depot, Grocery Stores etc., etc., etc! The “commercial” says if you… Read more »
Oh hell, lets clean up some dam troubling stuff that’s been happening to BENEFICIARY’s (Veterans) for decades, if not more. So to keep up with the times, I say let Ben Krause, Attorney, Veteran Advocate, pick the to 5 – 10 things that matters the most (needs to be defined). I believe that the amount of monies that BENEFICIARY’s (Veterans) recover per their claim(s) will be satisfied, and both BENEFICIARY’s (Veterans) and the VA will benefit (needs to be defined).… Read more »

Now, can’t we all get along? The VA changing for the better – – – such an idealistic suggestion. Hey, are there any Gubmint Contractors out there that can fix the problems that are going on inside the hallways of the VA?


‘Institutional Enemas R Us’, is the only type of contractor that would work save from dropping some neutron bombs.
Bunker Busters will not work because the splash from all the flubber could hurt someone in surrounding neighborhoods.

One Massive Enema is required.


We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein


Technologically modern problems require
appropriate technological solutions.
We have to reverse-engineer the behemoth.
I guess we need a hacker…

Crazy elf

These “bean counters” need to be flushed with the dirty bath water.
Evidently they forgot we won the lawsuit back in the 1980’s! $53 million I do believe. Of course, did anyone – except the attorneys – see a dime? The answer is NO!


One of the problems is the Agent Orange Settlement didn’t differentiate between “poisoning” and “exposure”. And anyone who was in country could sing up. Including personnel that never left Saigon of Danang and were never involved in weed killing on the parameter.

The study group was deliberately diluted in the same way it was with Vietnam veteran suicides. Thus a lot of fake data built up for the naysayers.

As a lowly “grunt” in Viet-Nam, I can attest to the fact that only once did they fly out potable drinking water for us. The rest of the time we had to fill up our canteens from the streams and drink it. A few times I remember getting water out of a feces infested rice paddy. Hey, when you’re dying of thirst, you’ll drink anything! Agent Orange was sprayed all over that damn country and we had to drink it.… Read more »
James s Gallegos
Now about paint with lead, denied it was harmful. Kid’s living in these home are still being effected. They say AO lingers a long time. Need the same people if alive that did the studies on lead paint do the tests and testifying. Once again the VA is harming veterans, deny, deny die. Punishment for genocide is Ten year’s, no matter how many veterans are killed. If caught. ! If America keep going down this road, America will be no… Read more »
Off Topic – well – sort of off topic since the topic is getting hosed it isn’t off topic. ? Dizzying ain’t it. Anywho – just came from my group. Popular topic was disability and unemployability payments under assault. But, what I haven’t heard before, and what came up is Shulkin’s (Trump’s) newest endeavor to offset disability payments with Social Security payments if you’re over 62.. Didn’t get to details because we had to get back to being encouraged to… Read more »

Ben? Have you heard anything about disability payment offsets with social security? I’m trying to dig up more facts before I – well – say more.

Dan F
There were a variety of ways those of us who served in country were exposed. One of the most insidious ways was with the barrels which contained the herbicides once they were emptiy. Units would pick up the drums. Some were cut in half and made into barbecue grills and others were used to chill beers. We would get our ration of beer, go into the village, buy ice and dump a few cases of beer into the barrels. Some… Read more »
Dr. Robert C. Laity

How many people recall during the Vietnam Era, the spraying of NIKE Missile sites, BELOW THE DMZ, by the Koreans?

Crazy elf

Hey, Doc., how about all the railroads here in the good ‘ol US of A being sprayed with A.O.
They have realized good records of it during the ’50’s and early ’60’s.
Or the many military bases here as well!
Can y’all say, “cover-up” or “cover your ass” by the military elites.

Crazy elf

Correction: That should read, “…really good records…”!

When I helped my cousin spray a corn field with 2-4D in 1953 his mother’s brother told us it was the most poisonous substance known to man. Use the rubber gloves to mix. Only spray going up wind. Don’t over mix or it will sterilize the field instead of just killing the wide leave weeds, etc., And if we spilled some on us to jump in the swamp real quick and thoroughly wash it off. Yes, A O contact was… Read more »

@ANutterVet, personally I feel like there are hundreds of issues with the VA. I agree, I need to add them up, and look at the list. I do believe, 1., obey the law. 2., accountability. Without those, none of it matters. Perhaps a bit of respect wouldn’t hurt. And, we can’t fire anyone for anything. How do people fight so hard to defend a bad positive? Agent Orange was, and is toxic.

Roger Taylor

Not a really GREAT time to cite Soviet Russian sources, but
spot-on nevertheless…


All of Agent Orange issues should be solved by now. Who’s at fault; the VA. The VA is at fault for not closing all scientifically proven theories against any side effects of Agent Orange exposure and that caused a sickness. Simple as that. VA makes things so hard to get done, or its done in an awkward or reckless manner. We should revolt. That’s right, I said revolt.

@cj – – – chek ur main box.


@ANutterVet: Nutter, I got your email. I replied just a few minutes ago.Tomorrow will be best.

Rob D

They literally get a chump with no morals to be the talking head for the V A to push the “Agent Orange is literally harmless agenda ” again. Erasing facts and calling all the studies proving its toxic over the years Voodoo science? They just did a 180 degree about face. I thought they were just talking about how the VA was accepting more and more diseases from AO? Now its all BS? It’s just unbelievable!

James Clement
(OFF TOPIC) – – – Now that I have returned from having a REAL Cappuccino and a few hours of sunshine and breeze, let me tell you what transpired with my day, before I read this article and began having homicidal ideation. Had a doctor appointment at the Honolulu VA today at 08:00. Supposed to be routine. Haven’t seen my doctor in nearly a year and a half. Due to my financial situation which is exacerbated by my not having… Read more »
Crazy elf
Have y’all noticed something with VA, where they are trying to remove disabilities. Thereby, removing the compensation for those disabilities! I think that’s their agenda! IF VA gets rid of certain disabilities, (I.U. and A.O. so far), which will affect compensation payments, they will have more of the taxpayers monies in their coffers. Which tells me, get ready for VA employees, from top to bottom, receiving higher bonuses this year! Possibly receiving bonuses twice this year. “Who knows what evil… Read more »
@Crazy elf – – – MSM really keeping this topic out of the limelight. Wonder why? Negative impact on Hillary? Who actually calls the shots at MSM’s Executive Offices in determining what the want to feed us everyday? Your right elf, only feed us what they want to feed us, in that way minds can be clogged up with bullshit. A tactic to keep the attention off of the things that need attention. Off Topic – – – This opiate… Read more »
Crazy elf
ANutterVet, Let’s NOT forget how Shulkin, in last week’s news conference, stated he’s building another VHA somewhere. Where will he get the monies from, if not by taking away our compensations? Can y’all say; How much is the “proposal”? How much will it go “over budget”? How long will it take to “finish the job”? Who are the “contractors related to” in the VA? How many “Interior Decorators” will be needed at the taxpayers expense? Will the “projects coordinators” (architects)… Read more »
James s Gallegos

Shulkin just said 16000 veterans this year choose choice over the VA and by the end of summer their will be no restrictions for veterans wanting outside treatment. !

Now he has to start firing thousands of VA employees. !

New facility means some veteran’s will have to commit suicide because they will be denied care to pay for the new building !

News building, same old employees running the facility. Talk about throwing the baby out with the bath water.


@Crazy elf- A resounding AMEN to that. Bad back and gut day here.


@Crazy elf- Shulkin is wanting to build a VAMC on the moon, then once that’s completed, Mars and onward.

“Resistance Is Futile”–The Borg

James Clement

@Crazy Elf – – – RIGHT ON! to every single question you asked. Given the stellar success of the Aurora, Colorado facility, construction is one of the very last things the VA should EVER be involved in . . .

James s Gallegos
Hello everyone, wanted to give you all an update about my letter to Secretary Shulkin on may 2, 2017. If you remember that a former coworker told the VA that I would come into the local clinic at least twice a month and become disruptive and that I wanted to murder staff at my local clinic. I been fighting this since 2004, had senator Bennett’s office and the DAV, write the VA about the VA and this employee. Each time… Read more »

@James Gallegos: James, file an SF-95 on their asses, don’t forget to put in the dollar amount for damages, for the past 14 years, and don’t forget to add your wife’s name,as she was also harmed. Go big, win big. GL James, and thank you for posting , I like how they refuse to put anything in writing.


The OIG officer was on the wrong side of something. A month or so ago I saw an add for the position of VA OIG officer at the Denver VARO.

Could be in your favor. Often times the brass seems to ignore you but actually take some action. Or could be the opposite. The OIG officer didn’t do the cover up wanted by the brass.

James s Gallegos
Problem is they admit something was done wrong and tell me one thing and the inquiry a different story. I believe that the Secretary of veterans affairs should have contacted me directly or his office. Like I said they admitted I was unjustly accused, but use the excuse it was not me that did it, so why should we apologize for something that happened before we were in charge. I was upset when this employee said she was from the… Read more »
@All, since we are on this particular subject of money. What kind of VA fuckery is it, when VA employees are paid way beyond, what any Veteran receives in the form of compensation? These employee’s are being payed to deny Veterans their compensation, and to do so, are payed a hefty salary, along with benefits. I find this fuckery to be of the most fucked up kind of fuckery to fuck over a fucked up fellow Veteran. Just sayin…. How… Read more »

Nice one, Nut!

jim starowicz
Here we go again, nother conservative, administration and cabinet, gov. with people served, Unwilling to ‘Sacrifice’ for those that served them!! Jun 12, 2017 – * Veterans Affairs official downplays Agent Orange risks, questions critics * Like our long time Vietnam and since Veterans, Conservative, Nemesis, one of their experts(?), used to shape their policies, and very highly compensated: * * Sally Satel Still Selling Care for PTSD Veterans is Waste of Money * * There are plenty of others,… Read more »
jim starowicz
Another Conservative Admin, and This Time, Again Like Under The bush and Two More Wars With Full Conservative Legislative Control So No Need for Obstructive Filibustering, Not Even Trying As People Served Responsibilities To Veterans!! Their Words Will Say Different, DeJa-Vy, Oh So, Poser, patriotic, But Many More Drops(!) On Many Many Issues For Veterans Especially Of Our Wars and The Veterans Admin Much Needed Advances, Starting With Roll Backs Of What was Accomplished Under the Obama Admin Without The… Read more »

We need Trump to get rid of Shulkin.
Go to vote on the IU. Tell your Senators and Congress to help make sure that they don’t pass the budget cuts to our Veterans.

James Clement

@Katterkat – – – Is that Don Gucciardo’s petition? Signed, then shared publicly on Google+. Also posted in the Military Community, and Disabled Veterans Doing What They Need To groups. If not the correct petition, would someone be kind enough to post a link?

Crazy elf

“” has a “petition” out from a veteran down here in Florida. He’s wanting to help vets get rid of Shulkin’s idea of stopping IU from being implemented against veterans!

“Katterkat” is helping us. Let’s help ourselves by signing this petition.



“[…Attorney General Jeff Sessions is asking congressional leaders to undo federal medical marijuana protections that have been in place since 2014…]”


“[…Sessions argued that the amendment would “inhibit [the Justice Department’s] authority to enforce the Controlled Substances Act.” He continues: I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime. The Department must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.… Read more »

“[…Through a spokesman, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R.-Calif.) said that “Mr. Sessions stands athwart an overwhelming majority of Americans and even, sadly, against veterans and other suffering Americans who we now know conclusively are helped dramatically by medical marijuana.”…]”

I just LOVE how that word “SADLY” was used strategically alongside word “VETERANS”…now, I am ALL FOR Medical MJ, but I get sick and tired of the only time we Veterans are ever considered is as talking points to support a talking point then afterwards, BACK TO THE VETERAN STAGE PROP CLOSET YOU GO….! Maybe she was genuine. However, if so genuine, why isn’t she and like-minded congress critters pushing for the Federal Gov’t. to CHANGE and REMOVE MJ from… Read more »

namnibor…the CIA doesn’t want any competition,

In Oregon we have a saying/question, “If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is there to witness it, does the chainsaw still make a sound?” Or, how about this one? “If a Private First Class in wartime is told to make up a dangerously concentrated herbicide at a ratio that does not harm humans and knows that it will sprayed onto the humans trying to kill him, does the bucket still run over brimming if nobody is watching?”… Read more »
Dear POTUS, I have a suggestion for a “deal”. You seem to be good at the give and take aspect of trade. I have always admired your towers and shit, and figure if you can do that stuff the striking a bargain with a corporate giant is child’s play. So here is the deal; As POTUS please make an offer to Monsanto. Tell them that you intend to find out the truth and that you will devote ALL of your… Read more »

this is why they can do what they want……….
Feudalism – A Contract of Silence