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Philadelphia VA tried to bug congressional investigators

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 15, 2014

During a congressional hearing into alleged intimidation of whistleblowers at the Department of Veterans Affairs, it was revealed that members of the Philadelphia regional office tried to record committee investigators with microphones and cameras earlier in the month.

In the July 2 incident, committee aides met with officials at the office, where they were directed to a workspace equipped with cameras and microphones, ABC News reported.

Once investigators realized they were being taped, they requested to be moved to a new room.

"It has been made clear that there is not a corner that [Veterans Benefits Administration] leadership will not cut, nor a statistic that they will not manipulate to lay claim to a hollow victory," House Veterans Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller, Florida Republican, said Monday, ABC reported.

Allison Hickey, VA undersecretary for benefits, apologized to the committee for the July 2 incident.

"I offer my sincere apologies to your staff and my commitment that it will not happen again. You'll receive anything you need," Ms. Hickey said, ABC News reported.

During the hearings it was also disclosed that a notebook belonging to Acting Regional Director Diana Rubens was found in the restroom before the meeting began. Inside the notebook were directions for an official to ignore a certain committee aide's questions, ABC reported.

"Am I surprised? No, I'm shocked," Rep. Miller said. "The VA may ignore everybody, but I stress you will not ignore this committee anymore."

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