Skip to comments.Veterans Affairs spies, stonewalls on people investigating it
Posted on 07/16/2014 7:37:17 AM PDT by Mount Athos
Congressional staffers investigating data falsification and whistleblower retaliation at the Department of Veterans Affairs regional office in Philadelphia were given a workspace there that was wired with activated audio microphones and video cameras, the chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs said Monday.
Committee investigators also glimpsed a notebook used by the agency's regional director that bore written instructions to ignore their requests for information, Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., said during a late-night hearing.
Miller, chairman of the veterans committee, said he is shocked by the directives from VA officials to ignore congressional investigators.
You will not ignore this committee anymore, Miller said to Allison Hickey, VA's under secretary for benefits, who testified at the hearing.
Miller sent two committee staff members to the Philadelphia facility July 2 to determine whether claims-processing data was being falsified to hide long delays and errors that could cost veterans the benefits they deserve because of illnesses or injuries linked to military service.
Before the meeting began, one of Millers staffers, Lauren Rogan, went to the bathroom, where she saw a notebook by the sink that included the phrase ignore Rory, a reference to her colleague Rory Riley.
Circled at the top of the page were the names of two whistleblowers who were cooperating with the committee to expose improper processing of veterans claims in a way that improved agency statistics but did not resolve the cases.
The notebook belonged to Lucy Filipov, acting director at the regional office. It apparently reflected an earlier conversation with Diana Rubens, who at the time was deputy under secretary for benefits.
After the meeting, case files and computers were placed in a room where Filipov insisted Rogan and Riley should work. As the two checked the room, they found the sound and video equipment were active, and they insisted on being moved.
The notebook page also included a disparaging remark about Riley, which particularly incensed Miller.
I will not excuse it, Hickey said when confronted during the hearing. Without question, it is unacceptable.
Miller was not impressed with the apology. Your commitment is appreciated but it is not believed, he said.
After the July 2 incident, Rubens visited the veterans committee offices and tried to cover up what had occurred, Miller said.
Rubens excuse was that the comments reflected in the note were not what she was saying, but rather comments being made by others in the department, which should be ignored, according to Miller.
Miller called Rubens explanation totally implausible.
Rubens became director of the Philadelphia office July 14. The VAs announcement of the move from deputy under secretary did not characterize it as a demotion.
The exchange over surveillance and stonewalling was a bizarre twist in the committee's investigation into long backlogs veterans face when seeking disability compensation for service-connected medical conditions.
Whistleblowers told the committee of gross mismanagement and deceptive practices used at regional offices to hide the months-long delays veterans face when they file a disability claim.
Kristen Ruell, a quality review specialist in Philadelphia, said she faced retaliation after she tried to expose data manipulation, improper payments and other gross misinterpretations of the law.
Ruell was one of the two whistleblowers whose names were circled on the top of Filipovs notebook.
The VAs problems are the result of morally bankrupt managers that through time and grade have moved up into powerful positions where they have the power to, and continue to, ruin peoples lives, Ruell said.
Also Monday, the VA inspector general released a report that found an initiative to fast track the oldest disability claims resulted in veterans waiting longer to resolve their cases than they would have under normal procedures.
The initiative on two-year-old claims did allow VA to remove the oldest cases from its backlog statistics, thereby making its numbers look better at the expense of those seeking benefits.
The hearings were POWERFUL and showed
that the whistleblowers are real heroes.
BUT .... Like the American people, the whistleblowers
came before the EXEMPT who were docile, useless,
and EXEMPT ...and did not really care.
FACT: HAS ANYONE GONE TO JAIL FOR ANYTHING YET?
Fast and Furious?
Remaining in Contempt of Congress?
Gagging of Docs?
Lying to Congress?
Lying to America?
Lawlessness, treason, anarchy, facism. When does the next hard drive crash? Impeach him or die!
The VA requested some info from me. I send them a point by point response. They say they never got it. They didn’t tell me they never got it. They just moved on to the next step closer to rejection. I found out they were saying they didn’t get it when I checked on line. As far as I’m concerned the back pay just keeps adding up.
What I’ll never be able to understand is just how millions of people are doing Obama’s bidding including thousands who work for him. They didn’t want these back logs out so they cheated. They didn’t do it for bonuses. They were paid the bonuses because they were protecting their leader. Then they retaliate against whistleblowers and lie to congress.
When is congress going to do it’s job. The house is in the hands of the opposition just like the founding fathers intended so they can stop a tyrant. CLOSE THE CHECKBOOK!
Bottom Line: Government bureaucrats are avowed enemies of the very people who give them power and authority. It’s past time for the RESET button to be pushed.
Why no mention of union complicity? Some of the whistle blowers have cited examples of open union hostility in the investigation.
It’s all about the bureaucrats protecting their cushy government jobs.
Before we get all bent out of shape at the administration we need to remember that there are already procedures in place to deal with this situation. Congress has the power to put these people in jail. They have the power to impeach officials. They have the power to withhold funding. They have lots and lots of power to take action here.
I assume that the administration is corrupt so there is no reason to be disappointed in them. I did, however, think that our elected Republican representatives would stand up and protect us. Instead, they are doing nothing of any value. They are the ones that I am pissed at.
It is interesting how many of the people involved in lying and falsifying documents at the IRS and VA are women. I guess women are much more likely to be ultra-liberal RATS and have achieved these high positions, but are obviously nasty people.
Congress has failed in it’s oversight,but these agencies need to be cleaned out top to bottom.
I noticed that too.
Let me take that one step farther, Expat: the accelerated promotion of women and racial minorities according to the Peter Principle allows a substantial portion of them to reach relatively high ranks of which they are not worthy in terms of experience and leadership skills. Once at a certain level they hang on like barnacles or ticks. I say this with the honest admission that I know many high-ranking women and minorities who are every bit as worthy as their white male contemporaries. Sadly, that fraction is pretty low.
It’s time to dismantle the VA and to just give the veterans vouchers for coverage and treatment with private and accountable health care providers.
-— Its time to dismantle the VA and to just give the veterans vouchers for coverage and treatment with private and accountable health care providers -—
It’s so simple a child can understand it, which tells us something about education these days.
Bow down! Bow down before your government bureaucrat gods! You dare to question your gods! We shall smite thee with delay and denial! You do not vote the way your gods want you to vote! We shall plague thee with deletion and fraud! Pay tribute to your government bureaucrat gods! Kneel you puny mortals!