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Ear to the Ground

Veterans Affairs Secretary Resigns in Disgrace

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Posted on May 30, 2014

    Shinseki pledged to take personal responsibility for “a systemic, totally unacceptable, lack of integrity” minutes before a hastily scheduled meeting with President Obama. Photo by Secretary of Defense (CC BY 2.0)

In a speech announcing his resignation Friday, a contrite Eric Shinseki took responsibility for a “systemic” effort to cover up the neglect of wounded soldiers on waiting lists within the nation’s largest hospital network.

After an hourlong meeting at the White House, President Obama said he accepted Shinseki’s decision “with considerable regret.” The scandal began weeks ago when revelations emerged of falsified records at a VA health care facility in Phoenix.

The Guardian reports:

Speaking to a conference of homeless groups, the veterans affairs secretary revealed that his internal investigation had now confirmed a report by the independent inspector general that the problems spread far beyond initial revelations in Phoenix.

Evidence of a systemic cover-up of hospital backlogs was cited last week by the White House as a factor in determining how far up the chain of command accountability should go, but Obama said he wanted to see the IG and internal review before deciding how to respond.

In his most contrite public comments yet, Shinseki said he had previously been wrong to say the problem was limited and isolated, but claimed he had been “too trusting” of other officials in the department who misled him.

Read more here.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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