Congressmen to Hagel: Where Are the Missing War Records?
Unsatisfied with answers so far, leaders of the House veterans’ panel ask defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to explain why Army units can’t find field records from Iraq and Afghanistan.
The top Republican and Democrat on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs are demanding more information from defense Secretary Chuck Hagel about lost Army field records from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the subject of a ProPublica investigation last year.
In an unusually detailed letter sent Friday to Hagel, Reps. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., and Michael Michaud, D-Maine, said the Defense Department’s response to an earlier request about why records are missing — and what the military is doing about it — didn’t go far enough.
“Congress must have a clear understanding of the extent of the lost records in order to safeguard the best interests of our service members and veterans,’’ the letter says.
The 12 questions posed to Hagel in the letter focus largely on the Army because it has the largest records deficit. Among other things, the congressmen want to know what happened to operational records for the 1st Armored Division and the 82nd Airborne Division and what is being done to reconstruct them.
In November, ProPublica and the Seattle Times reported that they were among numerous Army units that had lost or failed to keep battlefield records as required, making it harder for some veterans to obtain benefits and for historians to recount what actually happened.
“Operational records can be used to track the history of our nation’s military, plan for future operations and support innovative medical research,’’ Miller and Michaud wrote to Hagel.
In addition to chairing the veterans’ panel, Miller sits on the House Armed Services Committee, which has direct oversight responsibility for the Defense Department and service branches.
The department did not return a phone call seeking comment.
U.S. Centcom and dozens of Army units destroyed or failed to keep field records documenting the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Latest Stories in this Project
- Army Says War Records Gap Is Real, Launches Recovery Effort
- Veterans' Advocate to Congress: Reconstruct Missing War Records
- U.S. House Subcommittee Sets Hearing on Missing War Records
- Ask Peter Sleeth Anything about Missing Iraq, Afghanistan Field Records (Reddit Chat)
- A Son Lost in Iraq, but Where Is the Casualty Report?
Our Hottest Stories
- Segregation Now
- Beyond Ratings: More Tools Coming to Pick Your Doctor
- Rocky Mountain High or Reefer Madness? Legal Pot in Colorado Comes with Risks
- Even After Doctors Are Sanctioned or Arrested, Medicare Keeps Paying
- Long After Sandy, Red Cross Post-Storm Spending Still a Black Box
- Shake-Up Inside Forensic Credentialing Org
- Brooklyn DA Moves to Free Man after Long-Buried Evidence Surfaces
- The U.S. Government: Paying to Undermine Internet Security, Not to Fix It
- Brooklyn Man Walks Out of Court, Cleared of Murder After 24 Years in Prison
- What Newly Released Docs Tell Us About the IRS and How It Handles Dark Money Groups