24 April 2013

USAF General Deceives US Senate & AF Veterans about Agent Orange Exposure!

In August 2012 the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee sought information from the Secretary of the Air Force about C-123 transport Agent Orange contamination and how the AF had responded to challenges about important details of an official, formal investigation of the issue which resulted in the May 2012 C-123 Post Vietnam Consultative Letter. The USAF responded to the Senate (Senator Burr, Ranking Member) in November 2012 with misleading and deceptive answers in their defense of the Consultative Letter. They implied aircraft were safe in "their present configuration" while in fact, the airplanes were safe only because they'd already been destroyed as toxic waste in 2010 by the AF and their "present configuration" was as aluminum ingots!

USAF was also asked about how its conclusion about C-123 veterans being unexposed differed from other federal agencies which concluded the opposite...that the veterans had been heavily exposed. In their response to Burr, the USAF called the AF views 'consistent" with CDC, an obvious falsehood. "Were exposed" (ATSDR) is not consistent with "exposure unlikely" (USAF). It doesn't take an English major to see the differences!

Finally, AF tests in 1994 labeled the C-123 fleet "heavily contaminated" and "a danger to public health" but the AF C-123 Consultative Letter, released in May 2012, erroneously dismissed that toxic description and in response to the Senate's inquiry, the AF wrote that the cautions and the requirement for HAZMAT protection was meant only for USAF Museum restoration workers - in fact, the toxicologist who completed the C-123 survey in 1994 himself confirmed in 2011 that the HAZMAT protection was for everyone as the interior of the C-123 was, as he first wrote, heavily contaminated. The veterans' point - they flew for a decade without HAZMAT protection and became exposed! If HAZMAT protection was essential for personnel inside them for brief periods in 1994 it was even more essential for crews flying these airplanes for a full decade!

For the third major issue raised by the Committee, the USAF again mislead the Senate with false or misleading answers. Clever wordsmithing is no substitute for honest, clear correspondence between general officers acting on behalf of the Secretary of the Air Force and legislative authorities. 

Other misleading answers to the United States Senate from the Air Force were equally obvious, and unworthy of the two-star officer who signed this report on behalf of the Secretary of the Air Force.

Also harmful was the fact that Veterans Affairs now cites the Air Force Consultative Letter, which the USAF response to Senator Burr defended, in denying veterans benefits for Agent Orange exposure.

An update on our Freedom of Information Act Requests: our FOIA to the VA for information on their position against C-123 veterans' exposure has
been denied effective 11 March 2013. After two years, VA now pretends no information exists in their files regarding C-123 Agent Orange exposure issues. 

Our request to the Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine for information on the 2012 C-123 Agent Orange Consultative Letter hasn't done any better. While approved, and approved without fees, the Air Force has sat on this request at Wright-Patterson AFB for over eight months. Last word was the response was routed to their JAG officers to see how much the AF could keep secret.

The public sends its treasure and its children to the Armed Forces in defense of the Nation. The public demands honest accounting for how that treasure is spent, and how the blood of their children is shed - and cannot abide the military deception in these areas.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Got something to share? Nothing commercial or off-topic, please.