The new VA Deputy Secretary nominee brings significant experience as Lockheed’s former counter-intelligence legal chief and head of privacy.

What does this mean for internal agency policies and processing veterans’ benefits claims? How about whistleblower allegations? Is the agency working hard to root out wrongdoing in its higher levels of management or is Byrne overseeing implementation of an agency dragnet?

With his background, folks should be asking lots of questions. But, not much has been said about the senior attorney running most of the agency. Most of the press failed to even make note of his nomination to run the Office of General Counsel two years ago. Why?

James Byrne, President Donald Trump’s nominee, as of Friday, previously served two years as the agency’s head of the Office of General Counsel. His previous roles in the public sector span over 20 years and include working at the Office of Special Counsel and as a DOJ prosecutor in international narcotics.

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Byrne served as a Marine infantry officer after graduating from the US Naval Academy with a degree in engineering.

Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga) seems pleased with the agency’s selection of Byrne for this role.

“I am glad to see Mr. Byrne nominated to serve in this critical role,” said Isakson. “The deputy secretary of the VA is responsible for working closely with the secretary to make sure the federal government’s second-largest cabinet department is operating effectively, efficiently and in the best interest of our veterans. I look forward to chairing Mr. Byrne’s confirmation hearing in the coming weeks.”

Before Byrne, the role was held by one of Sen. Isakson’s former staffers Thomas Bowman.

Again, with Byrne’s background, it seems curious that no one in the MSM has written about his assentation within the agency over the past two years. No one wrote about his nomination as of today, either.

Why is that? Why is everyone closed lipped about Byrne’s work at the agency?

Below is the full excerpt from Sen. Isakson’s page, in italics.

Senate Press Release

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, responded to President Donald J. Trump’s intent to nominate James Byrne to be deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). 

Byrne was named acting deputy secretary of the VA in August 2018, and on Jan. 14, 2019, he became the VA’s general counsel performing the duties of the deputy secretary. He was confirmed as VA general counsel in August 2017. 

“I am glad to see Mr. Byrne nominated to serve in this critical role,” said Isakson. “The deputy secretary of the VA is responsible for working closely with the secretary to make sure the federal government’s second-largest cabinet department is operating effectively, efficiently and in the best interest of our veterans. I look forward to chairing Mr. Byrne’s confirmation hearing in the coming weeks.” 

The deputy secretary is the VA’s chief operating officer responsible for working in tandem with the secretary to oversee the VA’s nationwide system of health care services, benefits programs and national cemeteries for America’s veterans and their dependents. 

Prior to joining the VA, Byrne served in Lockheed Martin Corp.’s legal department as the chief privacy officer and lead attorney for information technology, cyber security and counterintelligence. Byrne has more than 20 years of experience in the public sector, including service as a deployed Marine infantry officer and a U.S. Department of Justice international narcotics prosecutor. Byrne is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, where he received an engineering degree and ultimately held the top leadership position of brigade commander. 

The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs will hold a hearing on Byrne’s nomination after his nomination paperwork has been completed and submitted to the committee. 

###

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20 COMMENTS

  1. Interesting indeed!
    Keep in mind, that I have no recollection of reading anything about James Byrne prior to this article. That said, and on face value alone of the above revealed positions held, I see how Mr. Byrne has merit. For two years now, he has quietly gone about the duties his position requires and without the fanfare or distractions of the press.

    Within the last two years, we’ve discussed the IT issues within VA/VBA/VHA/VocRehab, and the musical chairs approach presented to us along the way. There hasn’t been much mention on the VA’s IT front excepting the VocRehab issues being sorted through in recent articles here. Maybe, with Byrne’s expansive experience, the department has finally set a course to successful streamlining of a more functional VA IT system. Very few satisfying successes in life come to fruition in record time and without issues or repercussions. So, maybe all of that mentioned, has something to do with the MSM having little information to report about his appointment.

    • “https://www.va.gov/opa/bios/bio_byrne.asp”
      “https://www.va.gov/OGC/byrne.asp”

      Issued on: April 12, 2019
      “https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/president-donald-j-trump-announces-nominations-individuals-key-administration-posts/”

      Issued on: July 13, 2017
      “https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/president-donald-j-trump-announces-intent-nominate-personnel-key-administration-posts-14/”

      August 7, 2017
      “https://www.executivegov.com/2017/08/lockheed-vet-james-byrne-confirmed-as-va-general-counsel/”

      August 31, 2018
      “https://www.executivegov.com/2018/08/james-byrne-appointed-va-acting-deputy-secretary/”

      115th Congress (2017-2018)
      “https://www.congress.gov/nomination/115th-congress/698”

      A li’l sumpin’ from the waybacks!
      “https://www.disabledveterans.org/2017/10/12/james-byrne-lockheed-counterintelligence-expert-new-va-general-counsel/”

  2. I watched a video this past week on the amount of veterans wanting to use outside healthcare vs VHA.
    It was stated “4 out of 5 vets” were in favor of outside healthcare.
    Well, there ya have it!

  3. Let me hold my nose… again. Simply put he’s just another insider, more deep-state crap, more musical chairs from the top, etc. Plus he’s another one of those “privacy experts.” Shits, giggles, smiles, secrecy in a suit. Since 2017 even Bloombergers “Big Law” has dropped articles about him… pages not found. Not much on lying Wiki either. He is after all part of the DOJ club (& countless affilates), shuush a secret agent part of the war machine wallowing around in the East coast for years, cough – “world wide interests” – LM site info if still there. About globalism, all about the war on drugs (pain meds) etc. Counter Intelligence? Ahem Lockheed? In lock-step with the DC machines and profiteering, more etcs. Bet he is SES and above too. Info tech master and of course MSM will leave him alone. I mean the writing is on the wall again. It’s not rocket science. They circus clowns all come from affiliated clubs and and camps with nefarious know-hows and secrets.

    Oh, how well have they all done to-date? Before this is scrubbed too.
    “https://www.wthitv.com/content/news/Inspector-finds-mismanagement-at-Indianas-veterans-affairs-508546781.html”

    Move along, nothing to see here. Ignore and destroy those with rock solid proof those “inspectors” or phony investigators don’t care to see or hear of. Yep, no proof at all. (Sarcasm) The “deputy” and others sure don’t want to involved. Especially in states HIS allies have total control over.

    He’s been around the VA for how long? A member of NOVA? Put in place to protect and serve our non-ally allies best fair weather friends money can buy. By air, maritime, land and space. Gotta love those LM satellites going up to spy on us or capable to destroy too. You can sign up for notification each time the not so secret ones take off. Don’t ya know. Now helping our “allies” fly away in space and land on the moon too… and put more sats in the sky for our freedom. Cough.

    Nice day. Different day. Same crap from the top.

  4. C’mon Ben! “…..it seems curious that no one in the MSM has written about his ascension within the agency over the past two years….” Seriously? Did Fox report it? Did Rush? Did Alex Jones? Did WSJ? Did Drudge? Did Sinclair report it?

    Perhaps an analysis of his career focus would have been more inquisitive. He’s certainly a technocrat. He’s a lawyer. Lockheed cyber security and counterintel? Offices of General Counsel, and a prosecutor with DOJ chops. This guy is an insider. His specialty appears to be the control of information, and control of people with information. Is he there to enable whistleblowers? Is he there to thwart them? Is he there to engineer the transference of the VA to Pig Med? Is he there to stomp AGFE? So, we know nothing about him and it’s so-called MSM’s fault?

    What we need in media is restoration of the Fairness Doctrine. But – we know that ain’t gonna happen, so let’s all fall into the abyss of programmed divisive media. Goebbels would be very impressed at the totality of engineered division in Amerika.

    • Insider sure, almost seems like Lockheed installed the man in this VA position, such a nice fit for Lockheed. I know he was nominated, but seriously that doesn’t mean a whole lot. Maybe, he needs a couple more years yet to get a good gov pension?
      Lockheed stock just went up.

  5. All I will say is, if he is touted by Isakson, Something is wrong somewhere. Isakson is my Senator, and he is WORTHLESS! He talks a big game to the press. But he does NOTHING for us Vets. Contact his office, you deal with his secretary. After VA sent me to NON VA NEUROLOGIST for surgery, they failed to pay them over $104,000. The hospital is now suing me. I contacted Isakson 3 times. All I got was a damn form letter on how they investigated. They just got statement from Health Net stating they didn’t pay because provider did not file paperwork properly. Nothing to remedy the situation. Nothing tell them to leave me alone. Isakson could care less about a vet., until election time.

  6. Often I wonder why I read your stuff!! You’ve left out a lot in yr assessment of Mr. Byrne. One doesn’t become Brigade Cmdr at USNA without substantive leadership skills! Skills that are carried through into subsequent roles. If you were to disqualify everyone who ever worked for a company doing business with the Government (or, in this case, specifically VA) we wld significantly reduce the potential pool of contributors!! But I fear this falls on deaf ears.

    • Pat, how did ‘he’ leave out anything? Google him or have you not read his Lockheed M fiasco over their jets and recently too. Or having been mentioned in law blogs until snuffed out. About all their global attachments, dealings, sales, playing politics, $$$$$$, economic or work place-like hit men, and other between the line secret stuff.

      Why in America are we still supposed to bow to those with JD law degrees or engineering degrees or some rank that makes them all automatic experts and picks to hold high offices over others or to run vast agencies? Oh lets see here. That makes him and those like him mental health experts? Medical specialist, chronic pain specialist…. brain surgeons!! And he has stayed over-night at the Holiday Inns. Oh and Embassy Suits and hard telling where else for higher learnin’. Hot shot drug prosecutor so we know where he stands on pain issues and seems to be another one filling/obeying the United Nation’s Agendas on various matters. Above reproach, questioning or being vetted like us low-life’s are? (Hand salute) Leadership skills like some to leave poly-ticking to work for big Pharma, become presidents of universities and not have a teaching or related degree??? Is he another one that got in by connections or shoe-horned in somehow? How many others in the musical chair game has been up-lifted to top quality leadership skills and we are still supposed to bow to some high rank in civilian life too?? Personally I am sick and tired of the back-pats, boasting, big egos, all the quality leadership shit, etc. Hell, John McCain’s daddy was a admiral and George Stephen Morrison, Jim of the Door’s daddy rear admiral. Bush daddy a big CIA hack and officer, NWO order lover. Oh had all had, have, those JDs and high levels of “leadership skill.” Hack hack… hence the USS Liberty and Golf of Tonkin fiascos and still not much truth or transparency out about any of that. Just official narratives and Kool Aid we are supposed to suck up and believe. Trying to be brief here.

      There are, have been, vets out here I’d rather see in his position and DC appointments rather than those pulled out of the same “potential pools.” Or in the usual SES or DC sand boxes to keep others …. O-U-T. Grand way over the years and more to come to keep the same loyalties to the nepotism firmly in control. Oh wait! Will he give those federal workers more high pay plus the wanted three months or so off for family time along with their many other perks plus being … above the laws and immune from prosecution? Take the whip to the SES and other un-touchables? Like others I bet I can’t contact him or get passed his PR firms or private secretary or aids. Will he contact Ben and inquire about some of the issues going out here or written of? ha ha nope. Does he lose sleep over the suffering and many suicides or censoring, loss of freedoms and freedom of speech or our loss of basic C rights or bill of rights that’s been flushed? Yep, fell on my deaf not-so-deaf ears. Who really gives a hoot with some of our issues about the mighty USNA, Yale, Law schools, Harvaaarrrrd or the rest? Those who never will or have to live like some of the rest of us especially the high ranks or DC varmints.

    • He will cosign the Criminal Indulgence, college critters to send you advertiments to do Consulting from home Via What’s app. Video chat to fuck you out of the IU Benefit, or 100%!

      They want us all back in step! Get in line robot! You will loose your income, yet again. As if 17 years of being mobbed and hazed weren’t enough! Well, back to the soup kitchen! Smashed that smart phone quicker than shit. Back to the 4th Amendment that good men have died for! Or, was it greedy Corperations? I don’t know, you tell me? Of course the ass hats at the top will be protected as T stated earlier! Nothing to see here folks just another HONORABLE vet eating a round at the local VA! Its only, the small guys they like to see how hard, and long they can fuck over! Just my two cents! Oh, and don’t forget. Fuck flashbacks! PTSD IS MAGICALLY HEALABLE!

  7. Well i hope hes the answer to the mess at the va. Last year they totally destroyed my life by creating a false debt alledging i was illegally married to my 3rd wife. Their claim? They never received the 2 divorce decrees, marriage certificate and 3 birth certificates. I filed in 2005, 2006 repeatedly sending those same documents and again in 2007. By mar 2018 they sent me a debt letter of 27,000.00 claiming i 2as illegally married and had back dated to 2007! I repeatedly sent the same paperwork and each time i sent it theydsay they never got it. Fax machines disnt work, U.S. mail either. It git to the point the director in Hbg. Pa. Said somethings screwy because his fax machine gets a kick back report indicating they got it. He wrote a letter to the same for me. It wasnt until i sent the paperwork to Minnesota debt collections department, where they put the documents into the computer system for me, and having reveiwed my documents dropped the debt. The intake center personnel where pissed they put it in. The incompetence is profound! So do you think after having made me lose my apartment, my truck everything. They retropaid me for my 3 children? Of course not! Every time i call to inquire they just give me the run around. I pray Yh make them give me that back pay so i can start a business and get off the pension. It truly sucks having someone control your financial life…

    • He’ll be the answer all right. The WRONG answer. Just you wait and see. This guy’s a HighMukkaMukka Fucktard from the word Go . . .

  8. Noone talking about vet out indy lost his leg to va negligence. Or vet that shot himself incalifornia survied released two weaks later offed himself. These suicedes are from the crazy pills vets are on.

  9. Another bureaucrat with no medical knowledge. What the Sam Hill are they pulling business people and lawyers from private sector that have no medical background? Governments underhanded, scheming way to run VA into is working, ever so slowly. But isn’t that what they want? More reasons to have fewer VAs so vets have no other options but outside care, so they defund larger facilities? Don’t trust them at all.

  10. Veterans are long overdue for some real leadership from the Veterans Administration.

    Leadership that speaks truth publicly about how bad things have really gotten for the veterans they are supposed to be serving.

    Leadership that develops practical solutions to take better care of all our nations warriors.

    Leadership that recognizes that when they are doing a good job, veterans will be singing their praises rather than the VA spending millions of taxpayer dollars on Public Relation Agencies to put out ‘fluff pieces’ to mislead American citizens about the stellar job they are doing to care for our nations veterans.

    The truth is that the VA is doing a piss-poor job.

    The Department of Veterans Affairs has one of the largest budgets within our federal government. This is used to provide veterans less than third-world medical care and benefits. It is about twenty years past time to seriously address the corruption, malfeasance, and incompetence that infest the Veterans Administration.

    Here is a plan to accomplish that goal:

    1. Immediately recognize the problems inherent in the Veterans Administration are system-wide, not just limited to a few discrete locations.

    2. Fire all the incompetent and corrupt Workers. Fire every single AFGE/SES employee. The VA prides itself on service to the veteran. However, the American Federation of Government Employees Union makes it nearly impossible to rid the VA of corrupt, incompetent employees.

    3. Sell off all the VA facilities. Alternatively, they may be converted into military barracks-style housing for homeless veterans. These will be run with military-style rules to promote good order and discipline.

    4. Issue all veterans a card that allows them to choose their own doctors and hospitals within their community that they can trust.

    5. The United States Government will pay those doctors promptly (Within 45 days) for the care they provide veterans.

    6. Eliminate the ‘Federal Protection’ clause in the United States Code for incompetent medical personnel that the VA sends to other states where they are not licensed to practice. Going to practice medicine in each state? You need to be properly medically licensed in that state.

    7. Rapidly reduce the years long backlog of Veterans Disability Claims. Any claim a veteran submits to the Veterans Benefit Administration that requires more than 90 days to adjudicate, is automatically found to be in favor of the veteran. Should a veteran file a false claim to defraud the system, the Veterans Administration will be required to prove in civil court that the claim was falsely submitted. For filing a false claim, the veteran will be mandatorily subject to all the following:

    (A). The claim shall be denied. If the veteran has received any form of benefits due to filing of a false claim, they will be required to fully repay those benefits with interest.
    (B). The veteran will be banned from all VA facilities for the remainder of their life.
    (C). The veteran will lose any benefits they have and will not be allowed to file for further benefits.

    8. All veterans shall be allowed to seek/retain the services of a Veterans Rights Attorney from their first initial contact with the VA. This will help to protect the legal rights of veterans against corrupt, incompetent VA employees.

    9. No AFGE, or any other labor union business will be allowed to take place in any federal workplace. Conducting union business during working hours will be strictly prohibited and enforced. Should any government employee be found violating this provision, it will result in immediate lifetime dismissal from all federal, state, city and county government employment.

    10. Attorneys for appeal for cases of ‘wrongful termination’ will be retained at the former VA employee’s personal expense. U. S. Taxpayer’s will not be subject to payment of legal bills for incompetent or dishonest personnel with regards to governmental employment.

    Were the above ten measures placed into rigorous ethical practice, these would over the next few years ensure major performance improvement within the Department of Veteran Affairs.

  11. On a lighter note. Out of the blue,,, triwest contacted me, this is the processing company that took over for healthnet, who failed me and countless other veterans with veterans choice the 1st go round. I’ve had 1 outside consultation and am scheduled May 9th for my 1st treatment for care outside the VA. This will save me a 2hr drive every other month.

    To say I’m a bit leary is an understatement. The last time I was placed in the choice program, I not only lost my hometown doctor, who had treated me for years, I lost my hometown specialized care provider who had treated me for years.

    For those of us who need specialized care, I’m praying that the VA gets it right this time round. They can nominate and appoint all these top notch people, but until people are truly held accountable for their actions. Veterans will suffer. I drive twice a year to my local clinic 35 minutes away, unless I have a health issue, I drive 2 hrs every other month to the nearest VA hospital for specialized care.
    This is round 2 for me. If it goes badly like the 1st time. I want them to be held accountable.
    Not just for my story, but for the countless potential tens if not hundreds of thousands of veterans like myself.

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