VA Police Hit VA Officials With Video-Spying Lawsuit

VA Police Spying

A lawsuit in Washington DC will proceed against two VA executives where VA was caught using spy equipment to snoop on VA police officers in a changing room.

The plaintiffs are a group of VA police officers who caught Jerry Brown, VA police chief, using surveillance equipment in changing rooms where male and female police officers undress.

RELATED: Smile, VA May Be Spying On You

Defendants named in the lawsuit are Jerry Brown, chief of VA Police Service, Brain Hawkins, director at Washington DC VAMC, and Johnson Controls Inc, the outside government contractor that installed the spy equipment. Secretary McDonald was also named in the lawsuit but the claims against him were dismissed.


The lawsuit alleges the named VA executives violated wiretapping laws since it was done without a warrant. It also alleges the defendants conspired to violate the Fourth Amendment rights.

This will be a very interesting case to watch especially given that VA has also been caught spying on veterans in violation of the same laws implicated in this suit.

According to Courthouse News Service:

“It is not apparent from the existing record, viewed in the light most favorable to plaintiffs, that the undisputed facts establish either that plaintiffs lacked a reasonable expectation of privacy in their conversations or their actions in the rooms where the surveillance allegedly occurred or that, if they had a reasonable expectation of privacy, the search was reasonable in both its inception and its scope,” the judge wrote.

“Given that plaintiffs have not yet had the opportunity to take discovery, and considering the disputed facts viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiffs, the court cannot find that defendants’ surveillance did not violate the Fourth Amendment. For the same reason, it is premature at this juncture to conclude that Chief Brown is protected from liability by the doctrine of qualified immunity,” Huvelle ruled.

Huvelle did dismiss the claim against McDonald, on the grounds that the Federal Torts Claims Act does not allow for suits against federal officials or agencies, and that the officers would have had to name the United States as a defendant under that law.

As mentioned before, this is not the first time VA was caught spying.


In 2013, VA executives had to explain why the Tampa VA was caught spying on a veteran’s family using a secret camera in a smoke detector.

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 for the current example of spying in Washington DC on VA employees, it may be worth keeping an eye on this case for sure.

Wouldn’t you just love to see VA’s policy on spying? Maybe that will be my next FOIA.


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  1. One of the three counts in a Invasion of Privacy and Retaliation lawsuit I had against the VA, was CCTV cameras in the Veterans private living areas in the Domiciliary in Hot Springs SD. All of the information in the suit is 100% truthful on my part. The VA lied and withheld evidence. The suit was won by the VA, and retaliated against me for filing the complaint and filing the lawsuit. The VA does what they want and the Department of Justice and Federal Court go right along with them.

    1. David what year did you call BS on the Hot Springs VA? w the use of camera’s?? They still doin it all over the place txs

  2. LOL, big brother’s bumble bee’s got stung! Now they know how it feels harassing vets. F’em if they can’t take a joke. Camera’s are everywhere: get used to it. Suing the Honorable Secretary of VA, give me a break.

    The cameras do not work is what the South Korean’s say too, right before they crush the bones in your feet and send you to crush salt with your feet with handicapped slaves on the salt island’s.

  3. This just go to show you that the criminal factor with the va needs to be abolished. We all carry our cards and they should be used at PRIVATE MEDICAL CARE PROVIDERS. Get rid of these government thugs! Lets see if these jerks can make it in the REAL world. I doubt it very seriously!

  4. Dear Mr. Krause:

    When will the government start5 treating these people like what they are criminals they are violating the very tenets we were ready to fight against, and perhaps die to preserve, treat them as criminals better yet send them to the near East instead of sending innocent young men and women.

    Yours for God and Country
    Frank “the vindicator” Calderon

    1. So, That’s where your VA money is going, not to the disability backlogs but to a bunch of VA federal perverts who get thier kicks watching people undress, exercise and go to the bathroom. Remember when you wipe your ass to show it to the camera afterwards, they really enjoy that.

      You should also know that while you think your watching TV your TV is actually watching you. That’s right, the little red light is an infrared camera so they can watch you also at night without problems. Ever notice that little red light on the TV that you point your remote at goes on and off at will, on its own? Ever wonder why its red and not blue or green? Ever wonder why the cable company can remotely control your TV just like the computer companies can control your computer remotely? Ever go to your computer and try to move the mouse and its moving all by itself? If not, go back to sleep, this is for veterans that are AWAKE.

      Sandy Hale, Disabled Combat Veteran who is AWAKE.

      1. 1. Sometimes a red LED is just a red LED.
        2. Most web/digital/laptop cameras now do not even have such an indicator light as to not tip anyone off, i.e. burglars, Vets, and the ‘night vision’ is done within circuitry software rather than depend on filtering wavelengths via analog means. High tech. Even motion activated with timestamp.
        3. #2 ^ is way too high of tech for the VA. Think more 1985-ish.
        4. …or is that more ‘1984’-ish? 🙂
        5. Someone monitoring at the VA obviously and literally got a video camera eye-full when the VA finally caught that past-tense VA OIG that was incessantly masturbating in all glass conference room for all to see…:)
        6. #5^ I bet there’s some perverts from VA that still have and view those video tapes, as he had been doing this for quite a while…:)
        7. Sometimes a red LED is just a red LED.

  5. Going out on a limb here but I think at this point if any Veteran or Survivor is actively using the VA, regardless of what the VA thinks and one/two party notification rules, ALL should have their phone’s audio recorder or small discrete digital recorder tucked away and start compiling our own files…call them “back-up files”.
    Until the VA follows the damn law, HIPPA, The Constitution, et al, why the HELL should we Vet’s have our own recording evidence of what goes on for our OWN protection, legal or otherwise?
    With the VA being really just a huge Insurance Liability Corporation that just happens to administer shitty medical care, it’s very par for the course for everything to be audio and video recorded.
    When I worked as a legal document clerk at a huge syndicated law firm for 6 years in which the ‘Clients’ were huge industrial syndicates and for an individual person or family to be represented you had to be of Donald Trump or Koch Brothers’ caliber, and that large law firm recorded audio/video of everything, and expect the VA has been doing so as well for a VERY long time.
    I would be that in a warehouse somewhere the VA has cases upon cases of cassette tapes from those days and another warehouse full of reel to reel magnetic tapes, and destroy as we Vets die off. Who knows.
    This may seem pretty basic but ALWAYS pause and think carefully before you say or ask anything at any VA appointment o check-in or even in the patient waiting lobbies…assume you are on camera. Give it the finger, and fart in it’s direction at your own risk as you leave. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  6. Back in the late 1990’s my mental health therapist at the El Paso, TX VAMC warned me that VA management had bugged his office to record my therapy sessions, because of a vocal uproar, I had raised about lying by the CoS Dr Shapiro. The therapist who warned me was Dutch Thatcher and the official whom he said forced him to have the recording device installed was a Mr Purdue.

    1. I took this to the Chief of Mental Health Dr Cynthia Rivera, and she believed it strongly enough to arrange to have the therapist see me at my home. If anyone at VA wants to dispute that this happened, let them explain WHY the VA sent the therapist to my home for my therapy sessions? I would bet that that hasn’t happened very frequently.

      1. Lying and breaking the law are default positions for the VA. They do not respect either legal, constitutional nor human rights of anyone who rocks the boat. And let me remark in passing, that the VA may kiss my rosy red enlisted ass.

  7. It WOULD be interesting to see the FOIA on their spying policy. Why the hell is it a nurse in the private sector can get her license yanked for taking and sharing pictures of patients with other employees from her phone, but the VA claims it can do it freely?
    The bigger question here is, if they were concerned over the veterans privacy, why did they initially lie about the recordings? Then, as Miller said, why not just tell the family or have it in plain view?
    It would be interesting to hear more detail from the family on this. Why was the veteran being watched with video and audio recorded? What health condition did the veteran have that warranted watching for safety? How did the family find out?

    Another FOIA for you Ben. Request the contract for Johnson Controls, and see just how big it is, how much it cost, and possibly how many other facilities they installed cameras in.

  8. What’s the motivation? Bored and eager to spend gov’t funds on “fun” equipment? Perverted? Is this a Spy vs Spy kind of crap?

  9. When i felt i could not trust the VA any longer, I started receiving private healthcare outside of the VA. I had the audacity to ask one of my PC doctors if the VA was monitoring and recording my visits. I was assured that it was exactly what they were doing. She informed me shortly thereafter that she would be leaving the medical group. I have contended for over five years that the VA OIG and their gang of thugs have violated every privacy, decency and constitutional right each of us, be it civilian or veteran should enjoy. I’m Just getting started!

  10. One of the counts in a Invasion of Privacy and Retaliation lawsuit I had against the VA, was CCTV cameras in the Veterans private living areas in the Domiciliary in Hot Springs SD. All of the information in the suit is 100% truthful on my part. The VA lied and withheld evidence. The suit was won by the VA, and retaliated against me for filing the complaint and filing the lawsuit.

    1. David what year did this happen??are you still in the Hot Springs area? or Black very abusive corrupt SrExecStaff here lies constant n more even current patient advocate cant be trusted!Hills HCS?? Anyone who questions CoS Conti retaliates r Assit Dir or SES Head R does too not goo d for any vet they are abusive to the lower ranking VA Staff who do try to do their jobs! not enough MDs for PCP due to CoS toxicity at the VA 🙁 Hot Springs the Worst of all VAs about 10 others for me I have ever encountered 🙁

  11. Ok, so let me get this straight. When the VA employees are recording the patients and Vets, its somehow justified. Then when THEY are the ones being recorded it is a violation of their privacy?

    I want to be at this hearing to see how exactly they are going to try and spin this

  12. I think all VA police nationwide should be cautioned as to the underhanded tricks by VA upper echelons!

  13. Reminds me of the time that the so called “director” of VA on Long Island NY installed a camera in the office of a VA employee who was having sex with another VA employee on the lunch hour. The “director” saved over a month of recordings to review with HR and her supervisor, only to find out that he had violated the law by video recording her without a warrant….

    1. Depends on the state. Most you can videotape images but not sound.

      Alaska is a great state for recording. As long as one party agrees you can record any phone conversation and unless they changes it a court ruled it was any recording.

      New York had Dr. Swango the guy who poisoned co-workers and got fired from a private hospital and so he went to work for the Northport VA. Where he killed 50 or so veterans before anyone caught on.

      1. I am referencing Northport VA here. Dr. Swango poisoned veterans as well as members of the staff at Northport. You cannot record employees in their offices as per VA regulations without an order from a judge as there is an expectation of privacy within the confines of assigned office space as per the US attorneys who weighed in on the issue.

      2. And I wonder why the VA does not give the Vets and Patients the same consideration. My guess is they dont follow “whats good for the goose is good for the gander” rule

      3. @Robin Mitchell

        The way I see this going is the VA upper echelons will say the state laws are superseded by federal laws.
        Thereby, disallowing any complaints by the veterans and/or families to become mute.

        I also see our constitutional rights being dismantled on almost a daily basis by the VA upper management and by the Obama administration!

        Sooner or later the “sμ|t will hit the proverbial fan”. Then, and only then, will our government agencies realize their strangle hold on us will be gone. I do hope it’s soon!

        I also hope the VA police wises up because of this article.

      4. @elf
        In New York is a great spy shop. Been there for decades. For not much money you can buy all sorts of toys. Like the one I got that looks like a pen but lights up or vibrates if electronic recording equipment is turned on in it’s presence.

        I don’t really care what the VA rules say anymore. Never really did. They certainly don’t seem to care about my husband or I. Or, anyone other than themselves. Laws be damned.

        I was told my last meme made Mrs. McDonald cry. Poor Baby is played by the Cowsills, not the Mitchell’s. I have zero sympathy for a woman that goes home to a 6 million dollar FL house and a 5 million dollar OH house while my husband sits in his Lazy Boy depressed he can’t be in his own home because her husband is above the law.

  14. This is just fantastic. Like two vipers in a jar biting each other.

    Here VA stormtroopers: go buy a camera and put it up on
    5378 Isleworth Country Club Dr, Windermere, Florida. The 69th most expensive house in central Florida worth $6,175,000.00 or
    8800 Blome Rd, Cinncinnati OH worth $4,858,000.00

      1. They very well might be.
        Just like that 5 star, palatial, “Pershing Hall Hotel” in downtown Paris, France, the VA got their greedy little mitts onto some decades ago!
        I still wonder what McDonald was doing in Vietnam lately!? How many other “prime real estates” has VA acquired over the past? How much of the taxpayer’s monies have gone into off shore accounts?
        What else has the VA upper echelons gotten involved in?
        We all know, or suspect, they are crooks. Small time crooks they ain’t!

  15. RE: “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.’

    This is far and away the most asinine statement I have ever heard from the VA…It defies any modicum of logic that the VA expected ANYONE to believe this piece of drivel…IF IT’S NOT BEING RECORDED WHY THE HELL IS IT THERE? Just how stupid are they that they expect anyone to believe this statement?

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