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Hillary Clinton: The Wrong Choice For Commander In Chief

- September 7, 2016

Whether At Home Or Abroad, Hillary Clinton's Failed Judgment Has Endangered Our Brave Men And Women In Uniform

TOP TAKEAWAYS

  • Hillary Clinton showed poor judgement in supporting president Obama's full troop withdrawal from Iraq allowing ISIS to get a foothold in the Middle East.
  • Clinton was chief architect of the failed Libyan intervention which allowed ISIS to spread into Africa.
  • ISIS grew out of Hillary Clinton's Middle East foreign policy and continues to endanger Americans.
  • If all her bad judgment abroad weren't bad enough, Hillary Clinton has tried to shamefully downplay the widespread problems that have led to wait lines and poor care for our nation's veterans.

Today, Donald Trump And Hillary Clinton Are Participating In The First Ever Commander And Chief Forum Hosted by Iraq And Afghanistan Veterans Of America And Being Broadcasted At 8PM By NBC And MSNBC. "For the first time in history, both major party Presidential nominees will take the stage in New York City for a forum focusing on national security, military affairs, and veterans issues. Hosted by IAVA, and broadcast in primetime by NBC and MSNBC, this forum will allow an audience of primarily service members, veterans and military family members to ask questions of both candidates on the issues most important to our community." (Commander-In-Chief Forum, Iraq And Afghanistan Veterans Of America)

CLINTON BACKED OBAMA'S DECISION TO COMPLETELY WITHDRAW U.S. FORCES FROM IRAQ IN 2011, ALLOWING ISIS TO GAIN STRENGTH

In 2011, Clinton "Strongly Defended President Obama's Plan To Withdraw Combat Troops From Iraq." "Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Sunday strongly defended President Obama's plan to withdraw combat troops from Iraq by the end of the year and issued a pointed warning to Iran not to underestimate the United States' commitment to stability in the region." (Sheryl Gay Stolberg, "Clinton Defends Iraq Withdrawal Plan," The New York Times, 10/23/11)

  • The New York Times Headline: "Clinton Defends Iraq Withdrawal Plan" (Sheryl Gay Stolberg, "Clinton Defends Iraq Withdrawal Plan," The New York Times, 10/23/11)

President Obama Prioritized A Full Troop Withdrawal Over Maintaining A Large Civilian Presence. "'The president made the decisions on the military drawdown, and it was the president's directive that we were all executing,' Nides said. 'On the civilian side, the White House's big worry was the security of our people. Once the decision was made that we weren't going to have the authority to keep our military there - and even before it was made - we knew we not only couldn't afford to keep growing, but we had to reduce. At one point, we had the biggest civilian footprint in the world.'" (Jeff Gerth and Joby Warrick, "Promises Unfulfilled: How A State Department Plan To Stabilize Iraq Broke Apart," The Washington Post and ProPublica , 8/15/16)

Clinton On Withdrawing From Iraq: "Obama Has Shown Great Leadership In Navigating To This Point, Fulfilling His Promise, Meeting The Obligations That Were Entered Into Before He Ever Came Into Office." NBC'S DAVID GREGORY: "But Secretary Clinton, the question is whether you think this criticism is well-founded or not. Do we not endanger recent success in Iraq by not having any residual force? Is there not a legitimate prospect of civil war, which many people fear?" CLINTON: "Well, honestly, I think that they should have raised those issues when President Bush agreed to the agreement to withdraw troops by the end of this year. I feel like this is a debate that is looking backwards instead of forwards. … But President Obama has shown great leadership in navigating to this point, fulfilling his promise, meeting the obligations that were entered into before he ever came into office. We are providing a support-and-training mission. We will be there on the ground, working with the Iraqis. And I just want to add, David, that no one should miscalculate America's resolve and commitment to helping support the Iraqi democracy. We have paid too high a price to give the Iraqis this chance, and I hope that Iran and no one else miscalculates that." (NBC's " Meet The Press," 10/23/11)

Hillary Clinton Was Placed In Charge Of The Largest Transition From Military To Civilian Leadership Since The Marshall Plan And Failed Mightily

Clinton's State Department Was Originally Charged With Controlling Over "More Than A Third" Of The Transition Programs In Iraq Including Key Security Programs And Missions. "State Department officials initially planned for taking control of more than a third of the 1,300 programs and missions run by the Pentagon in Iraq. That alone, as Clinton herself would acknowledge, constituted the 'largest transition from military to civilian leadership since the Marshall Plan,' the extensive U.S. aid effort after World War II. Contingency plans created in 2010 envisioned taking over key security missions, such as the tribal reconciliation program. Another initiative called for building new diplomatic and intelligence outposts around the country to give the United States a presence in cities that once hosted American military bases. These facilities, called 'Enduring Presence Posts,' or EPPs, were initially planned for five Iraqi locales: Irbil, Diyala province, Kirkuk, Basra and Mosul." (Jeff Gerth and Joby Warrick, "Promises Unfulfilled: How A State Department Plan To Stabilize Iraq Broke Apart," The Washington Post and ProPublica , 8/15/16)

During The Crucial Transition Period Of U.S. Troop Withdrawal, Clinton Oversaw A Period Categorized By One Department Official As A "Strategic Vacuum." " 'There was a period of time after the transition from the military-led mission to a civilian-led mission when strategic decisions were not made, with one official calling the period 'a strategic vacuum,' the inspector general's office said in its 2013 report, citing interviews with department officials in Washington and Iraq." (Jeff Gerth and Joby Warrick, "Promises Unfulfilled: How A State Department Plan To Stabilize Iraq Broke Apart," The Washington Post and ProPublica , 8/15/16)

Clinton's State Department Made "Sweeping, Across-The-Board Cuts That Extended To Security And Counterterrorism Initiatives Once Considered Crucial For Iraq's Stability After The Withdrawal Of U.S. Troops." "Senior State Department leaders were at fault as well, according to documents and interviews with officials who helped manage Iraqi aid programs after the withdrawal. By early 2012, pressed by the White House to reduce the U.S. civilian footprint in Iraq, the department had begun implementing sweeping, across-the-board cuts that extended to security and counterterrorism initiatives once considered crucial for Iraq's stability after the withdrawal of U.S. troops, a joint investigation by ProPublica and The Washington Post found." (Jeff Gerth and Joby Warrick, "Promises Unfulfilled: How A State Department Plan To Stabilize Iraq Broke Apart," The Washington Post and ProPublica , 8/15/16)

Internal Audits Show That Clinton's State Department Carelessly "Did Not Fully consider U.S. Foreign Policy Priorities In Iraq" When Making Cuts To Programs In The Country. "But, in scaling back civilian assistance to Iraq, Clinton's aides cut aggressively and sometimes unwisely, internal auditors later concluded. The reductions met cost-cutting goals but did not "fully consider U.S. foreign policy priorities in Iraq," an internal review by the State Department's inspector general said. Some of the cuts were not fully implemented until after Clinton's departure in early 2013, though the plans were largely in place, former aides said." (Jeff Gerth and Joby Warrick, "Promises Unfulfilled: How A State Department Plan To Stabilize Iraq Broke Apart," The Washington Post and ProPublica , 8/15/16)

Clinton Ignored Her Military Advisers Allowing For ISIS To Sprout In Iraq

ISIS "Morphed Into A Hulk Like Creature" After U.S. Troops Withdrew From Iraq In 2011. "Obama withdrew troops from Iraq in 2011, back when Clinton was secretary of state, and initially dismissed the strength of the Islamic State. It wasn't long before it morphed into a hulk-like creature, snatching large tracts of land in Syria and Iraq, and forcing Obama to send thousands of American troops back to Iraq." (Nahal Toosi, "Can Obama's Counter-ISIL Campaign Counter Trump?" Politico, 8/11/16)

Hillary's State Department Left Iraqi Security Forces Weakened And Vulnerable To ISIS. "But an intensive review of the record during Clinton's tenure presents a broader picture of missteps and miscalculations by multiple actors - including her State Department as well as the Maliki government, the White House and Congress - that left Iraqi security forces weakened and vulnerable to the Islamic State's 2014 surge." (Jeff Gerth and Joby Warrick, "Promises Unfulfilled: How A State Department Plan To Stabilize Iraq Broke Apart," The Washington Post and ProPublica , 8/15/16)

Although Many Hoped For A Residual U.S. Force In Iraq, Hillary's State Department Planned For A Full Withdrawal. "The presence of even a small American force would have provided a substantial benefit for U.S. diplomats in Iraq after 2011, assuring that the Pentagon would continue to take the lead in U.S.-Iraqi military liaison programs while also helping with mundane but necessary functions such as security, medical care, food service and transportation on the ground and in the air. But with a deadline looming and no firm decision from the White House, the State Department began to develop plans for hiring thousands of contractors to perform the same services at higher costs. The uncertainty lingered until October 2011, when the talks collapsed 10 weeks before the deadline for pulling all U.S. forces out of the country." (Jeff Gerth and Joby Warrick, "Promises Unfulfilled: How A State Department Plan To Stabilize Iraq Broke Apart," The Washington Post and ProPublica , 8/15/16)

Former Navy SEAL And Deputy Director Of The Office Of Security Cooperation In Iraq Edward Winters Thought That Terrorism In Iraq Would Get Worse After The Troop Withdrawal. "'None of us thought the problem was gone - we thought we were leaving a void there,' Winters said. 'We all expected that [al-Qaeda in Iraq] would come back and get worse. But we didn't think it would happen that fast.'" (Jeff Gerth and Joby Warrick, "Promises Unfulfilled: How A State Department Plan To Stabilize Iraq Broke Apart," The Washington Post and ProPublica , 8/15/16)

Deputy Secretary Of State Antony J. Blinken: Seeing Iraq Fail Was "Like One Of Those Slow-Motion Nightmares." "'It was like one of those slow-motion nightmares,' said Blinken, the State Department official. 'We were moving our own system, trying to move Congress, trying to move the Iraqis. We saw this thing coming, we were acting on it, but the problem outran the solution we put into place.'" (Jeff Gerth and Joby Warrick, "Promises Unfulfilled: How A State Department Plan To Stabilize Iraq Broke Apart," The Washington Post and ProPublica , 8/15/16)

CLINTON LED THE U.S. AND NATO INTO CONFLICT IN LIBYA

Clinton's Ill-Planned Intervention In Libya Has Created Another Haven For ISIS

Clinton "Forcefully Urged The President To Take Military Action" In Libya. "A few hours later, after consultations with British and Arab allies and a leader of the Libyan opposition all demanding action, Clinton joined a White House meeting of President Obama's National Security Council by phone and forcefully urged the president to take military action." (Kevin Sullivan, "A Tough Call On Libya That Still Haunts," The Washington Post, 2/3/16)

Pushing The Intervention In Libya Was Clinton's "Moment Of Greatest Influence." "An examination of the intervention she championed shows her at what is arguably her moment of greatest influence as secretary of state. It is a working portrait rich with evidence of what kind of president she might be, and especially of her expansive approach to the signal foreign-policy conundrum of today: whether, when, and how the United States should wield its military power in Syria and elsewhere in the middle east." (Jo Becker and Scott Shane, "Hillary Clinton, 'Smart Power' And A Dictator's Fall," The New York Times, 2/27/16)

  • Clinton's State Department Aides Developed A 'Brag Sheet' For Clinton And Joked That She Celebrated Like She Called In The Airstrikes Herself. "The timeline, her top policy aide, Jake Sullivan, wrote, demonstrated Mrs. Clinton's 'leadership/ownership/stewardship of this country's Libya policy from start to finish.' The memo's language put her at the center of everything: 'HRC announces … HRC directs … HRC travels … HRC engages,' it read. It was a brag sheet for a cabinet member eyeing a presidential race, and the Clinton team's eagerness to claim credit for her prompted eye-rolling at the White House and the Pentagon. Some joked that to hear her aides tell it, she had practically called in the airstrikes herself." (Jo Becker and Scott Shane, "A New Libya, With 'Very Little Time Left'," The New York Times, 2/27/16)

As She Planned For The Intervention, Clinton Failed To Resolve "Just How Libya Would Be Governed After Gaddafi." "In 2011, as the United States considered intervention, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was among those who pushed for intervention-without resolving just how Libya would be governed after Gaddafi, according to a senior defense official who was part of the decision-making process." (Nancy A. Youssef, "Hillary's Libya Post-War Plan Was 'Play It By Ear,' Gates Says," The Daily Beast , 10/20/15)

A Former Intel Operative In Libya Said "We Paved The Way For Islamic Extremists To Take Over." "Qaddafi was a bad guy, but by not supporting our secular allies in Libya, we paved the way for Islamic extremists to take over. Now, in a way, Qaddafi is laughing at all of us from his grave." (Jo Becker and Scott Shane, "In Their Own Words: The Libya Tragedy," The New York Times , 2/27/16)

ISIS Has Doubled Its Presence To 6,000 Fighters In The Last Year According To The Pentagon. "The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has doubled its presence inside Libya in the last year, the top U.S. military commander overseeing operations in the region said Thursday. The number of ISIS fighters in Libya doubled to between 4,000 to 6,000 in the last 12 to 18 months, Army Gen. David M. Rodriguez said at a Pentagon briefing." (Kristina Wong, "Top General: ISIS Doubled Number Of Fighters In Libya," The Hill, 4/7/16)

ISIS Is Looking At Libya As A New Base For Spreading Terror. "The report also suggests that ISIL is looking for potential alternative regions and one of those places is Libya. There is a 'real threat' from ISIL in Libya, the UN reports say, adding that the group is trying to use the country as a base to spread into other areas in Africa." ("Report: ISIL Losing In Iraq, Syria; Gaining In Libya," Al Jazeera, 6/1/16)

HILLARY LACKED THE JUDGEMENT TO RECOGNIZE THE THREAT OF ISIS AND CREATE A COHERENT STRATEGY TO DEFEAT IT

Clinton Argues That We Must "Empathize" With Enemies Of The United States. CLINTON: "This is what we call smart power, using every possible tool and partner to advance peace and security, leaving no one on the sidelines, showing respect even for one's enemies. Trying to understand, and in so far as psychologically possible, empathize with their perspective and point of view. Helping to define the problems, determine the solutions. That is what we believe in the 21st century will change -- change the prospects for peace." (Hillary Clinton, Remarks at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., 12/3/14)

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Clinton Refuses To Categorize Terror As "Radical Islam." ABC'S GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: "You've also been reluctant to say we're fighting radical Islam. I wonder why not. Isn't it a mistake to not say it plain that the violence is being pushed by radical elements in that faith?" CLINTON: "Well, that's a different thing. Radical elements who use a dangerous and distorted view of Islam to promote their jihadist ambitions, I'm fine with that. I say it all the time. And I go after Islamists, too." STEPHANOPOULOS: "So what's the problem with radical Islam?" CLINTON: "Well, the problem is that that sounds like we are declaring a war against religion. And that, to me, is number one, wrong." (ABC's "This Week," 12/6/15)

Clinton Went As Far To Equate ISIS To Police Violence In America

Real Clear Politics Headline: "Flashback: Hillary Clinton Says 'Police Violence' Is As Big A Threat As ISIS, 'Can Feel Terrorizing'". (Tim Hains, "Flashback: Hillary Clinton Says "Police Violence" Is As Big A Threat As ISIS, 'Can Feel Terrorizing,'" Real Clear Politics , 7/8/16)

During A Democratic Primary Debate, Clinton Failed To Differentiate ISIS From Police And Gang Violence. QUESTION: "The danger of ISIS is clearly a major threat to American safety, but personally, I know many minorities who are much more concerned with racist attacks at the local level than radical Islamists, so just - question to put it plainly since often, issues of race are tiptoed, do you believe that white terrorism and extremism is as much a threat to some in this country as something like ISIS?" CLINTON: "You know, I think that, uh, we have all kinds of, uh, threats, uh, in our country and I wouldn't discount any of them. I think we have to take them all seriously. And many of those threats are fueled by the gun violence we face every single day where 90 Americans are killed by guns - homicide, suicide, tragic avoidable accidents. Uh, so one of the reasons why I'm so adamant and so much in support of President Obama's uh, policies that he's rolled out is I just think as a nation, we cannot sit idly by while 33,000 people a year die from gun violence. I also believe that we have to take any form of violence and - particularly organized violence - seriously. Yes, so I believe there are all kinds of underground movements and efforts in our country to try to, uh, use violence or cer-, uh, certain beliefs that I, I find, uh, often lead to violence. Let's take some of the white extremism that we see... You know, I remember very well going to Oklahoma City and seeing the ruins of the federal building where, I recall, 168 Americans, including 19 children, were murdered by a bomb by a guy who hated the government. That's terrorism, as far as I'm concerned. I also think that when you have communities terrorized by gangs so that parents are afraid to send their kids out, afraid to send their kids out after school...I think that when you have police violence, that terrorizes communities, that doesn't show the respect that you're supposed to have protecting people in your authority that can also feel terrorizing. There are so many kinds of potential violent acts and we have to go after all of them... At some point we all have to stand against violence and do something to get guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them no matter who they are." (Hillary Clinton, The Iowa Brown And Black Forum, Des Moines, Iowa, 1/11/16)

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Although ISIS Has Continued To Grow As A Threat, Clinton Continues To Back Obama's Failed Strategy For Combating ISIS

In December 2015, Clinton Said That Obama's ISIS Strategy "Is Close To Mine." QUESTION: "Anything you would have said differently or disagreed with respect to President Obama's address [inaudible]?" CLINTON: "I was really happy that he made the address. I thought it was very important for him to address the nation. And you know, I think his take on what needs to be done is close to mine." (Hillary Clinton, Interview With The Concord Monitor Editorial Board, 12/8/15)

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Hillary Clinton's Strategy To Defeat ISIS Relies On Extending President Obama's Already Tried And Failed Policies. "Hillary Clinton says that defeating the Islamic State terror network is a pillar of her national security program that she would achieve largely by extending and amplifying policies put in place by President Obama." (Anne Gearan And Sean Sullivan, "Trump, Clinton Offer Competing Strategies To Deal With Terrorism Threat," The Washington Post , 6/13/16)

Hillary Clinton Wants To Intensify President Obama's Failed ISIS Strategy . "Hillary Clinton was a dogged champion for military intervention as Secretary of State. As a candidate, she has been among the most hawkish Democrats in living memory, outdoing most of this year's Republicans. She has repeatedly called for "an intensification and acceleration" of President Obama's ISIS strategy." (A. Trevor Thrall, "Why Hillary Clinton Will Be A Foreign-Policy Nightmare," The Cato Institute, 5/17/16)

AS ISIS SPREADS ITS TERROR GLOBALLY, CLINTON'S LACK OF A STRATEGY HAS BECOME DANGEROUS

ISIS Is Now Poised To Attempt Attacks On The United States Homeland

Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta Blamed The Obama Administration For Making Poor Decisions That Fueled The Rise Of ISIS. "Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta believes the Obama White House during his tenure was wrong on some key decisions in the Middle East that are now fueling the fire that ISIS has set in the region. In a sit-down interview with NBC News' Andrea Mitchell following the release of his new book, 'Worthy Fights,' Panetta notes that he disagreed with the moves to completely pull American troops out of Iraq, to not quickly arm the moderate rebels fighting Syria's Bashar Assad and not acting decisively when Assad crossed the 'red line' of using chemical weapons on his people." (Andrea Mithcell, "Leon Panetta: U.S. Mistakes Helped Create 'Vacuum' That Spawned ISIS," NBC News, 10/7/14)

Director Of National Intelligence James Clapper: There Currently Exist More Terrorist Safe Havens "Than At Any Time In History." "Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who was also at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, estimated that violent extremists were active in about 40 countries and that there currently exist more terrorist safe havens 'than at any time in history.'" (Ryan Browne, "Top Intelligence Official: ISIS To Attempt U.S. Attacks This Year," CNN, 2/9/16)

Former Acting Director Of The CIA John McLaughlin: ISIS Has A Presence In 40 Countries With Affiliates In 9. "With a presence of some sort in about 40 countries and formal affiliates in nine of them (Egypt and Libya the most advanced), loss of land in Iraq and Syria does not deprive ISIS of territorial options for plotting, training, and launching terrorist attacks." (John McLaughlin, "ISIS Is Hurt But Its End Is Not In Sight," The Cipher Brief, 7/28/16)

  • Former Acting Director Of The CIA John McLaughlin: ISIS Has More Ungoverned Territory At Its Disposal Than Any Terrorist Group Has Had "In Decades." "In fact, the combination of chaos in Iraq and Syria, the U.S. drawdowns in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the weakness of so many Middle Eastern and African governments give terrorists more 'ungoverned' space to exploit than has existed in the last couple decades." (John McLaughlin, "ISIS Is Hurt But Its End Is Not In Sight," The Cipher Brief, 7/28/16)

Former U.S. Intelligence Analyst Malcolm Nance: ISIS Will Break Up And Spread Around The World. "Terror expert Malcolm Nance told NBC's Cynthia McFadden that we have entered a new phase in the war against ISIS, as the terror groups responds to its loss of territory in Syria and Iraq and depletion of troop strength by spreading the war to other countries. 'The effect that's going to happen now is like stepping on a ball of mercury,' explained Nance, head of the Terror Asymmetrics Project and a former U.S. intelligence analyst. 'You step on a ball of mercury, all the pieces break up and spread around the world.' (William M. Arkin And Robert Windrem, "ISIS Numbers Drop, But Fighters Now Attacking Around the World," NBC News, 07/13/16)

CONSIDERING HER FAILED FOREIGN POLICY JUDGEMENT, IT'S NO WONDER CLINTON CAN'T RECOGNIZE THE SERIOUES ISSUES FACING THE VA, LET ALONE ADDRESS THEM

In An October 2015 Interview Clinton Said The Problems At The VA Were Not Widespread

In An October Interview, Clinton Said The VA Scandal Has "Not Been As Widespread As It Has Been Made Out To Be ." CLINTON: "Yeah, and I don't understand that. You know, I don't understand why we have such a problem, because there have been a number of surveys of veterans, and overall, veterans who do get treated are satisfied with their treatment. Now…" MADDOW: "Much more so than people in the regular system." CLINTON: "That's exactly right." MADDOW: "Yeah. Right." CLINTON: "Now, nobody would believe that from the coverage that you see, and the constant berating of the VA that comes from the Republicans, in part in pursuit of this ideological agenda that they have." MADDOW: "But in part because there has been real scandal." CLINTON: "There has been. And - but it's not been as widespread as it has been made out to be." (MSNBC's " The Rachel Maddow Show," 10/23/15)

  • Clinton Accused Republicans Of "Constant Berating Of The V.A. That Comes From The Republicans, In Part In Pursuit Of This Ideological Agenda…" CLINTON: "Now, nobody would believe that from the coverage that you see, and the constant berating of the V.A. that comes from the Republicans, in part in pursuit of this ideological agenda that they have." (MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show," 10/23/15)

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Through A Spokesman, Clinton Refused To Apologize For Her Remarks. "'Republicans are trying to suggest the only solution to the VA's problems is to privatize it, but Hillary Clinton will not apologize for insisting on doing the hard work to reform the VA, rather than ending it altogether,' [Clinton campaign Press Secretary Brian] Fallon said." (Ben Kelsing, "Republicans Take Aim at Hillary Clinton For VA Remarks," The Wall Street Journal, 10/28/15)

But An OIG Report Found The Problems To Be Wide Spread

On June 9th 2014, A VA Internal Audit Showed That Tens Of Thousands Of Newly Returning Veterans Wait At Least 90 Days Before Receiving Care, If The Ever Received Care At All. "An internal Veterans Affairs audit released Monday said tens of thousands of newly returning veterans wait at least 90 days for medical care, while even more who signed up in the VA system over the past 10 years never got an immediate appointment they requested. The review provides a more complete picture of widespread problems at the agency's health care facilities -- as reported by CNN over the past seven months -- than preliminary findings last month that led to the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki." (Tom Cohen, "Audit: More Than 120,000 Veterans Waiting Or Never Got Care," CNN, 6/10/14)

The Acting VA Secretary Said The Report Elucidated The "Systematic Problems" Facing The VA. ""This data shows the extent of the systemic problems we face, problems that demand immediate actions," said acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson, who took over after Shinseki stepped aside." (Tom Cohen, "Audit: More Than 120,000 Veterans Waiting Or Never Got Care," CNN, 6/10/14)

A June 27th 2014 VA Review Ordered By President Obama Found A Corrosive Culture At The VA Was Responsible For The Phoenix Wait Time Tragedy

A White House Report Found That The Difficulty Of Holding Government Workers Accountable For Their Actions Has Partly Resulted In Passing The Buck Rather Than Solving Problems. "There is a tendency to transfer problems rather than solve problems. This is in part due to the difficulty of hiring and firing in the federal government." (Rob Nabors "Issues Impacting Access To Timely Care At VA Medical Facilities," Public Summary Of Rob Nabors' VA Report Request By President Obama , 6/27/14)

A June 2014 White House Report Found The VA Had A "Corrosive Culture" Which Impacted Timeliness Of Healthcare. "A corrosive culture has led to personnel problems across the Department that are seriously impacting morale and, by extension, the timeliness of healthcare. The problems inherent within an agency with an extensive field structure are exacerbated by poor management and communication structures, distrust between some VA employees and management, a history of retaliation toward employees raising issues, and a lack of accountability across all grade levels." (Rob Nabors "Issues Impacting Access To Timely Care At VA Medical Facilities," Public Summary Of Rob Nabors' VA Report Request By President Obama , 6/27/14)

The Report Suggested That The VA Be Reformed Due To Lack Of Transparency. "The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) needs to be restructured and reformed. It currently acts with little transparency or accountability with regard to its management of the VA medical structure." (Rob Nabors "Issues Impacting Access To Timely Care At VA Medical Facilities," Public Summary Of Rob Nabors' VA Report Request By President Obama , 6/27/14)

In Another Report Completed In December 2015, The VA Inspector General Found Widespread Problems At 51 VA Facilities

A 2015 VA IG Report Found Serious Fraud And Regulatory Violations At 51 VA Medical Facilities. "Investigators for the Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General found serious fraud and regulatory violations linked to scheduling problems at 51 VA medical facilities, but then failed to recommend any corrective actions." (Ethan Barton, "VA Watchdog Finds Serious Fraud, But Suggests NO Corrective Action," Daily Caller, 2/26/16)

  • IG Investigators Failed To Adequately Investigate Whistleblower Disclosures. "[T]he VA IG 'failed to adequately investigate whistleblower disclosures about veterans' access to mental healthcare,' the Office of Special Counsel reported Thursday. Two whistleblowers… reported that they were required to 'violate VA scheduling protocols,' which 'created a false appearance of acceptable wait times while masking significant delays in veterans' access to care,' OSC wrote in a letter to Congress and the White House. 'The OIG failed to adequately address the whistleblowers' core concerns about access to care and whether these practices violated VA directives,' the letter said. The IG 'limited its investigation to whether' employees were using 'secret' spreadsheets outside the VA's official scheduling system, rather than if there was an issue with access to mental health care or wait times" (Ethan Barton, "VA Watchdog Finds Serious Fraud, But Suggests NO Corrective Action," Daily Caller, 2/26/16)

Special Counsel Said That VA Investigation Into Misconduct Allegations Was "Incomplete" Because It Didn't Respond To Issues Raised By The Whistleblower. "The OIG investigations that the VA submitted in response to both referrals are incomplete. They do not respond to the issues that the whistleblower raised." (Carolyn Lerner, U.S. Office of Special Counsel, Letter To The President, 2/25/16)

A Timeline Of Some Of The Problems At The VA Would Confirm That There Was A Corrosive Culture That Was Widespread At The VA

In 2009, The VA Exposed 10,000 Veterans To Potential Viral Infections Due To Poorly Disinfected Equipment. "The VA discloses that than 10,000 veterans who underwent colonoscopies in Tennessee, Georgia and Florida were exposed to potential viral infections due to poorly disinfected equipment. Thirty-seven tested positive for two forms of hepatitis and six tested positive for HIV. VA Director Eric Shinseki initiates disciplinary actions and requires hospital directors to provide written verification of compliance with VA operating procedures. The head of the Miami VA hospital is removed as a result, the Miami Herald reports." (Michael Pearson, "The VA's Troubled History," CNN, 5/30/14)

In 2011, 5 Veterans Contracted And Died From Legionnaires Disease And A Contaminated VA Facility In Pennsylvania. "An outbreak of Legionnaires' Disease begins at the VA hospital in Oakland, Pennsylvania, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. At least five veterans die of the disease over the next two years. In 2013, the newspaper discloses VA records showed evidence of widespread contamination of the facility dating back to 2007." (Michael Pearson, "The VA's Troubled History," CNN, 5/30/14)

In 2012, "The VA Finds That The Graves Of At Least 120 Veterans In Agency-Run Cemeteries Are Misidentified. The audit comes in the wake of a scandal at the Army's Arlington National Cemetery involving unmarked graves and incorrectly placed burials." (Michael Pearson, "The VA's Troubled History," CNN, 5/30/14)

In January 2014, "CNN Report[ed] That At Least 19 Veterans Died At VA Hospitals In 2010 And 2011 Because Of Delays In Diagnosis And Treatment." "CNN reports that at least 19 veterans died at VA hospitals in 2010 and 2011 because of delays in diagnosis and treatment." (Michael Pearson, "The VA's Troubled History," CNN, 5/30/14)

On April 23rd 2014, "At Least 40 Veterans Died While Waiting For Appointments To See A Doctor At The Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care System, CNN Reports. The patients were on a secret list designed to hide lengthy delays from VA officials in Washington, according to a recently retired VA doctor and several high-level sources." (Michael Pearson, "The VA's Troubled History," CNN, 5/30/14)

Although Veterans Have Been Dying Due To VA Wait Times, Secretary McDonald Compared Them To Being At Disneyland

VA Secretary Compares Hospital Wait Times To Disneyland "'The days to an appointment is really not what we should be measuring. What we should be measuring is the veteran's satisfaction,' McDonald told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington, according to The Hill newspaper. 'When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line?' he asked. 'What's important is what's your satisfaction with the experience.'" (Rebecca Shabad, "Veterans Affairs Secretary Compares Wait Times To Lines At Disneyland," CBS, 5/23/16)

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Clinton: "I Think Secretary McDonald Is Doing A Great Job…" CLINTON: "I think Secretary McDonald is doing a great job, but there is a lot more that needs to be done." (Hillary Clinton, Remarks At A Campaign Event, 11/10/15)

Told Directly By A Veteran Who Has Been Waiting Six Years On A Disability Claim About Delays, Clinton Defended The VA, Saying "We've Made A Little Progress In The Last Year Or Two Processing Claims…"VETERAN: "I was very glad to hear you talk about New Hampshire not having a full service hospital. First of all, a lot of us have been fighting that for many years, many years. Secondly, as a Vietnam veteran who filed a claim for an increase in my service connected disability six years ago and it's still pending. I was at the V.A. medical center yesterday for my fourth examination. Six years and it's still going on, I tell people this on the outside and they think I'm crazy. They say how can the V.A. take six years to process a claim? I say well I'll show you the facts, so I'm very happy to hear you talk about those two things for sure." CLINTON: "Well, I want to…We've made a little progress in the last year or two processing claims, we still have a big backlog as you know personally. And we're getting an increasing backlog in appeals from denials or only partial approvals. I think we need a kind of, all hands on deck program, where I'd be working with VSOs and others. Let's recruit people who have some accounting, some legal, some other experience, and let's put them to work on this." (Hillary Clinton, Remarks At A Campaign Event, 11/10/15)


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