Two groups call for probe following Salon expos

A veterans organization and a government watchdog group have asked the House Armed Services Committee to investigate a veterans healthcare scandal exposed by Salon.

By Mark Benjamin - Michael de Yoanna
Published May 5, 2009 5:32PM (EDT)

A government watchdog group and a progressive veterans organization want a House panel to investigate a potential veterans healthcare scandal exposed by Salon in April. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and wrote House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., Tuesday calling for him to "immediately investigate" Salon's findings. The letter is reprinted below on Page 1 and Page 2. A spokesperson for Skelton told Salon, "Chairman Skelton will give every appropriate consideration to this letter when it is received."

Last month, Salon published a surreptitious tape recording of a psychologist at the Army's Fort Carson in Colorado admitting privately to a wounded soldier that he and "all clinicians up here are being pressured not to diagnose PTSD." Instead, psychologist Douglas McNinch says on the tape, the soldier would receive another diagnosis likely to result in lower disability payments.

In a follow-up piece, Salon showed how the tape made its way to the upper reaches of the Pentagon and staff on the Senate Armed Services Committee not long after it was recorded in mid-2008. The Army Medical Command then investigated itself -- failing to contact the soldier involved -- and found that nobody did anything wrong.

Through a Freedom of Information Act request, Salon obtained the Army's investigation exonerating itself, but redactions make it difficult to glean any insight into the Army's reasoning. Try to make your way through the two blacked-out pages of "conclusions" reproduced here on Pages 3 and 4.

Mark Benjamin

Mark Benjamin is a national correspondent for Salon based in Washington, D.C. Read his other articles here.

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Michael de Yoanna

Michael de Yoanna is a journalist and documentary filmmaker who won an Edward R. Murrow award for investigative radio journalism in 2011. You can view his past work at Salon here, visit his personal website here, and follow him on Twitter @mdy1.

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