News Wrap: Inspector general report confirms VA hospital delays
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GWEN IFILL: The storm over delays at Veterans Affairs hospitals intensified today. The VA inspector general reported on the Phoenix facility, where officials allegedly falsified wait times. Investigators found it actually took an average of 115 days for a first appointment.
They also identified 1,700 veterans who weren’t on the official waiting list at all. The report concluded similar problems are systemic throughout VA hospitals. President Obama called the findings extremely troubling.
Republicans, including Arizona Senator John McCain, went further.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R, Ariz.: These allegations are not just administrative problems. These are criminal problems. We need the FBI and the Department of Justice to be involved in this investigation.
GWEN IFILL: McCain also joined those calling for VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign or be fired.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon announced last night that the military will review its own health care system, which is separate from the VA’s.
JUDY WOODRUFF: In Ukraine, a tense calm prevailed across the eastern city of Donetsk. Government troops launched an offensive there on Monday, killing at least 50 pro-Russian rebels. There was no new fighting today, but about 1,000 coal miners rallied in support of the separatists. They shouted slogans and carried banners demanding that Ukrainian forces withdraw from the region.
GWEN IFILL: Factional fighting in Libya intensified today as military jets bombed Islamist militia bases. The attack in Benghazi was carried out by forces loyal to a renegade former general who’s vowed to crush the radicals. Overnight, the State Department warned Americans to leave Libya, saying the situation remains unpredictable and unstable.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Secretary of State John Kerry and Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency leaker, engaged in a long-distance war of words today. It started when Snowden told NBC News that he had been — quote — “trained as a spy.”
EDWARD SNOWDEN, Former Contractor, National Security Agency: I have worked for the Central Intelligence Agency, undercover, overseas. I have worked for the National Security Agency, undercover, overseas.
So, when they say I’m a low-level systems administrator, that I don’t know what I’m talking about, I would say it’s somewhat misleading.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Kerry fired back this morning. He told CBS that Snowden should — quote — “man up” and return from Russia to the United States to face trial.
And, on ABC, he insisted again that Snowden’s leaks have done serious damage.
JOHN KERRY, Secretary of State: We have evidence that people are in additional danger because operational security has been breached, because terrorists have learned firsthand about methods and mechanisms by which the United States collects intelligence. And so our operations have been compromised. It’s plain and simple.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Snowden is facing federal charges of stealing government property and giving out classified intelligence.
GWEN IFILL: The oldest person ever to serve in Congress lost his bid last night for an 18th term in office. Texas Republican Congressman Ralph Hall was ousted in a Republican primary runoff by former U.S. attorney John Ratcliffe. Hall is 91 years old. He was first elected in 1980.
JUDY WOODRUFF: On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 42 points to close at 16,663. The Nasdaq fell nearly 12 points to close at 4,225. And the S&P 500 slipped two points to close at 1,909.