After Salon's yearlong investigation into the scandals, Army secretary expected to announce overhaul
Army Secretary John McHugh is set to release on Thursday the results of an investigation of Arlington that officials say found problems with keeping track of some burials. Various news outlets are also reporting that McHugh is replacing Arlington National’s superintendent, John Metzler, and his deputy, Thurman Higgenbotham, who, as Salon had previously reported, had reportedly illegally hacked into the computer files of a former Arlington employee.
McHugh ordered an investigation by the Army inspector general in November following Salon’s series, which exposed falsely marked graves, forgotten and misplaced remains of soldiers and a core systemic failure in the cemetery’s management.
“This is the place where valor rests, a place of reverence and respect for all Americans,” McHugh said when he ordered the probe. “As the final resting place of our nation’s heroes, any questions about the integrity or accountability of its operations should be examined in a manner befitting their service and sacrifice.”
Read Salon’s entire series into Arlington National Cemetery.
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Salon began investigating burial operations at Arlington National Cemetery in the spring of 2009. In a series of reports since, then Salon has exposed cases in which officials found unknown remains in graves that were supposed to be empty, buried a service member on top of another, and discovered
an urn in a dirt landfill, only to mark it as "unknown" and quietly bury it in an isolated corner of the cemetery. The series also documented hundreds of missing headstones in one historic section of the cemetery.
In response to these and other revelations, the Army launched an investigation. In June 2010, John Metzler Jr., Arlington's superintendent, and his deputy, Thurman Higginbotham were stripped of their their authority, and Army Secretary John McHugh appointed a commission led by former Sens. Bob Dole, R-Kansas, and Max Cleland, D-Ga., to oversee the cemetery.