Emails Show Who Was Behind VA OIG Report Manipulations

VA OIG Report Manipulations

Benjamin KrauseThe Arizona Republic accuses VA of embarking on its age-old strategy of stalling out VA reforms until public outrage over killing veterans cools off while revealing emails showing who was behind VA OIG manipulations. The agency is clearly dead set on stalling out reforms until sentiment cools off, and few heads have rolled despite changes to firing laws that should enable the agency to fire criminals who still collect paychecks.

For months, critics of Department of Veterans Affairs, including and the Republic, called out VA for its apparent stall tactic related to firings and reform implementation. Now, almost eight months after calls for reform began getting louder, VA has yet to fully implement its firing strategy to kick out criminals like Sharon Helman. These criminals still receive huge paychecks earned on the caskets of dead veterans.

Currently, VA is still struggling to recover from the recent revelation that it trains many health care staff every year with the book titled, “How To Lie with Statistics.” As if VA employees need any help lying, they now read a book that shows them exactly how to do it?

The book, written in 1954, shows thought leaders how to debunk causal linkage between cancer and cigarette smoking. Of course, we all know that contrary evidence was a big lie and cigarette smoking is linked to cancer.

The book even goes a step further declaring in its introduction, “This book is a sort of primer in ways to use statistics to deceive. It may seem altogether too much like a manual for swindlers.” Swindlers? We are being deceived with Tobacco Industry tactics?

In light of this trained deception, I hope all of you are happy sleeping at night knowing VA trains its leaders to lie based on the Tobacco Industry model.

Now, The Republic just reported that new documents and emails show then VA Secretary Sloan Gibson was behind the pressure inside VA to push VA OIG head Richard Griffin to change his wait list report. The push was to make critical changes in his report that diminished the linkage between the wait list and veteran deaths, like cancer except modern day. Gibson specifically wanted Griffin to downplay the linkage regarding the 40 veteran deaths. And he won.

Do not forget the pivotal disclaimer that will justifiably taint Griffin’s long public service career:

“While the case reviews in this report document poor quality of care, we are unable to conclusively assert that the absence of timely quality care caused the deaths of these veterans.”

How could any researcher ever conclusively assert anything while investigating something that happened previously? Especially causation related to death. This bar was well above that used by modern forensic scientists when evaluating any cause of death, and VA knew it.

Obviously wait times do not cause death. The injury or illness causes the death. The wait time can be a contributing factor that helps the person into the grave earlier than God intended, but the report was clear to throw in this disclaimer to soften the public blow of the report and the press ate it up hook, line and sinker.

The newly found documents show Sloan Gibson and the White House were behind the white wash and pressure on VA OIG’s Griffin. According to the Republic:

Gibson had help from the aide appointed by President Barack Obama to monitor the scandal, Rob Nabors, the documents show. They also depict an embarrassingly obsequious neediness on the part of the inspector general officials to please their masters within the VA and the White House. Wrote an assistant inspector general to a VA administrator after the report was published:

“Was the message on the deaths well received by leadership?”

Gibson was delighted. “Thanks on all counts!” he later wrote to Griffin. Gibson would cite the phrase repeatedly in press interviews as a sort of vindication for his agency.

The disclaimer, however, is a dodge. A misdirection. A head fake. It is intended solely to create doubt about linkage between all those dead veterans and the hospital’s contribution to their fate.

The delays were never characterized in any of the highly critical reports on VA procedures as a “cause” of anyone’s death. Death is caused by injury or disease.

The VA’s game plan is unmistakable. It is seeking to defuse the crisis by waiting out the reformers and deflecting criticism until public fury over the agency’s incompetence cools off.

If nothing else, we sure know VA executives have been consistent. Eric Shinseki blew off reports of corruption to avoid giving the White House negative press in 2012. It seems the same politics as usual is behind the current cover up this election cycle in 2014. We can count on the same in 2016.

Let’s hope the outcome of this election sends a clear message to those elected officials and in charge while veterans were killed. Let’s hope that message is that those who kill veterans or stand by and refuse to hold criminals accountable will not be rewarded at the voting booths.

What would it take to really get things to turn around? Or will corruption forever be a part of American politics and our Veterans Affairs?

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    1. If you cut off one head of the evil, another will respond. Until the VA is either run by Veterans who are customers of the system and the corruption is throughly cleaned out, the VA will not function with any efficieny. Seriously, all of these managers have never had a claim in the VA system, or try to get an appointment at the VA, or even try to communicate with a group of people lacking integrity, ethics and morals. The VA is doomed until there are people held accountable. The law states the penalites are for lying under oath. This is a felony. Easy, plain and simple. Every person that has lied and is well known as a data manipulator or liar, should be put in jail, immediatlely. We should never listen to another word a liar has to say because it will be another lie. If you are telling the truth you will not need to wait to respond or think about your response, just tell the truth. That is so hard for these corrupt VA officials it is hilarious. Has anyone questioned why certain people are appointed or promoted in the VA? They are “yes” men. Look at the data for yourself and decide. Look at the truth. The VA needs COMPLETE reconstruction.

      With all that frustration being said, I have been a customer of the VA since getting out of the Corps in 99. The past 15 years has been the same and only gotten worse since working for the VA the past 5 years. I understand why the problems existed and when trying to do something about it, fired.

      I ask any doubters to go to a VA facility and see what it is like for the Veterans. Very sad most days. Listen to them, they will tell you, and have to many VA officials but never heard. Go see for yourselves.

      Mr. Krause, please keep up the good work. We need this to get out to more honest people to help fix this widespread corruption and help fix the VA for the Veterans and the American people paying these felons millions of wasted tax dollars.

      Semper FI

      Mr. Silveria

      1. I think that unless the political gain is taken out of the selection process that nothing worthwhile will happen. Who was it that selected Sloan Gibson? Take the authority of any and all politicians out of the selection process and just maybe you’ll have an agency that will operate the way it was intended. That’s just my two cents, because unless the VA is helmed and operated by vets working to help other vets then its just another government cash cow and vote machine. I blame both Democrats and Republicans for the issues that is plaguing the VA. Just about every Secretary of Veterans Affairs that has been hired has had some politician in his corner with their hands out or in our pockets. We are nothing but votes to them when election time comes, after Nov.4th has passed they quickly (and quietly)push us into the corners, closets only to remember us two years later or after some scandal that they’ve created. When are we going to be represented and helped? When does our time come? Veterans from whatever war era should be remembered not just at election season, or Veterans Day.

  1. Mr. Krause,

    As you are well aware, this blog has witnessed an almost daily onslaught of hate-filled vitriol and shrill hysterics from Obama-paid democratic operatives that target you and anyone that dares to criticize the Democratic Party anti-veteran agenda.

    These Obama-paid trolls are focused on preventing this pro-military veteran blog from gaining the national exposure it so rightly deserves.

    The mission of these Obama-paid trolls is to silence your patriotic mission of redeeming the promise of a square deal.

    The negative attention you are receiving is because of Obama placing vocal new media troublemakers on a black list.

    While it remains to be seen what number you are on Obama’s black list, rest assurred that nearly all military veterans are in full support of your aggressive and tireless advocacy efforts to expose the progressive anti-veteran agenda of the Obama administration that has turned the VA into a bureaucratic slaughterhouse.

    As a disabled veteran, I plan to show my disgust with Obama’s black list today by refusing to vote for any political nominee that says they are a Democrat.

    For you, Mr. Krause, my vote is to give you the opportunity to freely speak on this blog for all of us disenfranchised disabled veterans.

    I proudly stand with you against the anti-veteran agenda that is on Obama’s black list.

    1. Trolls are right. after I saw two VA docs both scoped my throat no cancer found. The first VA ENT was leaving on vacation the next day after he did my scope, nothing found or said to me. Then a week later a first year resident who also works for the VA as part of his training for the Huntsman Cancer Institute took over for the regular VA ENT doc. Next thing you know I a am scheduled for surgery. Three days later at the VA in SLC. With my after care at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. Then 6 weeks of radiation therapy every day at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. Today being my last day. Had I not seen the second Doc I would be progressing to terminal cancer at this moment thinking all I had was a sore throat. Sure make me believe that Vacation is a hell of a lot more important than the Veteran.

  2. How is it that the recent Fox News segment on TV, with the black man who is a veteran and a VA whistleblower at the VA, who returned to Fox News to reveal that there have been a staggering 47,000 deaths at the VA, not 20, not 400, not even 4,000, but way over 40,000 due to VA incompetence? How is it that no one is talking about that? Ben, will you look into this? Fox News would not have had the guy on again this month, after he was on a couple of months ago, if they did not check his facts first. Also, he referred to upwards of 900,000 claims that simply were never processed! This guy went all the way to the White House on his whistleblowing against the VA, only to have someone there expose him when his complaint was supposed to be confidential and he was supposed to be protected from retaliation by the VA instead of the severe retaliation he is still getting. I do not like Obama’s liberal agenda, but at the same time I don’t think he personally has a premeditated agenda against veterans. I think it is more a case of he has a sort of futuristic, Star Trek kind of mentality where everyone can have health care, everyone can have a job with the “Federation”, and the government can actually rescue everyone in the “galaxy” (world) by firing a few photon torpedoes. He has attention deficit disorder like we all have these days; he is overwhelmed with a flood of information, he believes his agenda is good for America. Then higher ups in his administration go on what amounts to a killing spree against veterans, pretty much literally, and it continues to snowball in one form or another, while he remains distracted by several dozen other major national and international imminent matters and disasters that continue to brew and fester on the world stage. We need to figure out who it is personally in the administration that is pushing the buttons and pulling the strings on the marionette named “Secretary McDonald”, and the rest of the marionettes on the stage of the ongoing VA disaster show. There are normally 4 or 5 people needed to pull those kind of strings to make things work in a certain way, while the President occassionally stops by the funky little stage where the dancing dolls wearing VA “uniforms” with “nametags” like McDonald and his higher ups. Obama takes a few seconds or a glimpse of what the VA is doing to vets, then he quickly moves on to his next stage show performance down the hall that is about drones in Afghanistan or a hurricane somewhere, or Ebola, some other group of marionettes. Cut those strings and the dolls will fall down, and real men and women will walk into the VA and go to the work as they have never done before. Ben has named a few high level names recently who are behind the worst against vets and the corruption and deaths and fraudulent/criminal activities of all kind in denying earned benefits. Can we concentrate on them some more? If we do, it is highly likely that they will go down and stay down. And, again, what about the 47,000 deaths!?

  3. There’s little else to expect from an apathetic public and political system. As a disabled vet, I’m scared to death of the VA health care system. McDonald isn’t going to change anything at the VA. I’ve been figuring that all along!

    1. Dennis, the VA Health Care System does not inherently frighten me. Those entrusted to manage the system and their political masters are cause for alarm. There are some great medical folks at the VA who work tirelessly to provide quality medical care. As Veterans we have to stand together for our voice to be heard and be able to keep the serious problems and criminal deception taking place at the VA in the news and the public eye. We cannot rely on either political party to represent us fairly!

  4. Another Obama cover-up? Why would anyone doubt this treasonous POTUS would sell out military personnel. Bergdohl vs. Tahmooressi ring a bell? Praise the traitor, ignore the hero.

  5. Quoting the Arizona Republic hardly makes the article you present of much value to readers. Is there a link to verifiable emails?


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