Gen. Hayden: VA Needs to Get the Facts Out 'Quickly'

Friday, 09 May 2014 01:19 PM

By Wanda Carruthers

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The Veterans Administration needs to get the facts out quickly on what happened with the Phoenix VA hospital and claims it delayed medical care that may have led to patient deaths, said Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency.

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The VA is under fire after whistleblowers came forward saying how delayed care at the Phoenix VA hospital resulted in patient deaths for veterans. One VA employee, Dr. Katherine Mitchell, claimed officials instructed staff to destroy secret lists that showed how long the delays were after the information became public.

A congressional committee on Thursday issued a subpoena to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and other top agency officials ordering them to turn over emails and written correspondence pertaining to the disappearance or destruction of secret files at the Phoenix VA hospital.

"If [Shinseki] were ever to turn to me for advice on this particular crisis, based upon my time at CIA, [I'd say] get the facts. Get them quickly. And get them out," Hayden, a retired U.S. Air Force general, told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Friday.

Hayden described the VA as a "paper-based bureaucracy," and explained veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan "were swelling their rolls."

The American Legion veterans group called for Shinseki to resign in light of alleged corruption and patient deaths that were "part of what appear to be a pattern of scandals that has infected the entire system." Hayden said he knew Shinseki, a veteran wounded in Vietnam, to be a "good and honorable man."

"He's got to be appalled by the information that's now coming out," Hayden said.

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