Thursday, April 24, 2014

The leftist media is full of ideological bullies.

Why people hate NBC’s David Gregory

I’ve always thought entrenched left-wing journalists in Washington needed their heads examined. Much to my satisfaction, it appears the corporate media bosses of at least one Beltway anchor now agree.
According to The Washington Post, NBC News hired a “psychological consultant” to examine why flailing “Meet the Press” moderator David Gregory has been bombing in the ratings.
The “brand consultants” interviewed Gregory’s wife. They interrogated his friends. They crunched their numbers. They compiled their reports. And after all that, the “experts” are still scratching their noggins:
What’s the matter with David Gregory? And why don’t people like to watch him?
I could have saved the honchos at NBC News a lot of time and trouble. The first answer is: David Gregory is a phony. The second answer is: He’s a jerk.
Gregory’s predecessor, Tim Russert, was highly respected on both sides of the political aisle. The former chief of staff for iconoclastic Sen. Pat Moynihan turned “Meet the Press” into mandatory viewing for any American serious about politics and policy.
Yes, Russert was liberal. But he never pretended to be anything he wasn’t. He did his homework. He didn’t pull punches. He helped enlighten the nation about our entitlement crisis. He conducted interviews, not one-sided partisan lectures.
Russert was also a decent man, as so many warm eulogies across the ideological divide attested. I had a chance to meet him a few times as an intern in the videotape library of the Washington political unit at NBC News in 1992. He was always friendly and engaging. (Andrea Mitchell was a whole ’nother story. Gah.)
Before I left to work for the Los Angeles Daily News, I drafted a little memo on suggestions to improve data collection and entry. I never expected acknowledgment. But Russert took the time to respond and thank me. A lowly intern. I never forgot that.
Gregory is the anti-Russert. His boorish behavior around DC is legendary, from his juvenile tantrums with the Bush press staff to his drunken radio appearances to his diva snit fits with innocent bystanders while filming news segments.
One of the most telling and notorious anecdotes involves Russert himself, who reportedly reprimanded Gregory in 2008 for going ballistic on a poor waitress while the two TV stars dined at a DC restaurant. But “Gregory still treats most of … the newsroom like s–t,” an insider told the Web site Jossip. “Amazing how NBC cares more about food servers than about the people who have to deal with Gregory’s arrogance every day.”
Since Gregory doesn’t have the intellectual heft to carry in-depth interview segments the way Russert did, “Meet the Press” producers have reduced substantive exchanges to a few minutes and larded the rest of the show with fluff and stunts.
That means: If it’s Sunday, it’s “Meet the Jerk.”
Last fall, Gregory the gun-control activist masquerading as a Sunday talk-show journalist made headlines with his brazen hectoring of NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre — while illegally brandishing a 30-round ammunition magazine on national TV. He has used the show to fawn over vulgar, misogynistic “comedian” Bill Maher and to repeatedly browbeat Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, over gay marriage.
Desperate NBC suits in denial tried to get Gregory to immerse himself more in social media to appeal to “younger viewers.” But he detests the hoi polloi and refuses to respond to critics. You don’t have to be a high-priced brand guru to know that for social media engagement to work, it requires an engaging personality to actually, you know, engage.
Another NBC muckety-muck gave his expert analysis on the network’s David Gregory Problem: “You need to be who you are. We’re trying to look at who David is.”
Well, there’s the rub, isn’t it? Gregory, like many of his ilk, is a thin-skinned elite who lives in the Beltway bubble and can barely contain his contempt for his audience. With rare exceptions, the supposed watchdogs of Washington journalism are lapdogs for the establishment with “Don’t You Know Who I Am?” egos as big as the politicians they sidle up to every weekend.
To the chagrin of NBC and its brand EMTs, Americans have discovered an effective cure: the “off” button on their remotes.

DHS IG just another government employee hack. This is the sort of oversight you get

Probe: DHS watchdog cozy with officials, altered reports as he sought top job

The top watchdog for the Department of Homeland Security altered and delayed investigations at the request of senior administration officials, compromising his independent role as an inspector general, according to a new report from a Senate oversight panel.
Charles K. Edwards, who served as acting DHS inspector general from 2011 through 2013, routinely shared drinks and dinner with department leaders and gave them inside information about the timing and findings of investigations, according to the report from an oversight panel of the Homeland Security and Government Operations Committee.
Read the document
(Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Senate panel report on Homeland Security IG misconduct

Report finds that Charles K. Edwards compromised his independent role as inspector general.

A year-long bipartisan investigation by the panel also found that Edwards improperly relied on the advice of top political advisers to then-Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and acquiesced to their suggestions about the wording and timing of three separate reports.
The Washington Post obtained an advance copy of the Senate document, which will be released to the public Thursday.
Edwards’s actions occurred while he was seeking President Obama’s nomination to be the permanent inspector general overseeing DHS, the third-largest government agency, with a $39 billion budget and more than 225,000 employees.
“We found that Mr. Edwards was a compromised inspector general . . . who was not exercising real oversight,” said Sen. Ron Johnson (Wis.), the ranking Republican on the subcommittee on financial and contracting oversight, which led the investigation of Edwards’s tenure. “Any report generated out of his office would be suspect.”
Edwards declined to comment through a department spokesperson.
Edwards, a 20-year federal career employee with expertise in computer engineering, resigned his office in December, three days before he was scheduled to appear at a Senate hearing to answer questions. DHS granted his request to be transferred into its office of science and technology, and the hearing was canceled.
Johnson and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), the subcommittee’s chairman, opened the investigation while looking into the hiring of prostitutes by Secret Service agents ahead of a 2012 presidential trip to Cartagena, Colombia. Whistleblowers alleged that Edwards had ordered them to remove derogatory information about the service and evidence implicating a White House staff member ; more staff members came forward to allege deletions and delays in other reports.
Several staff members said Edwards told colleagues, meanwhile, that he was the White House’s pick for the permanent job.
Investigators said they confirmed improper deletions and delays in several reports but did not reach a conclusion on the Secret Service-related allegations because the department declined to provide Edwards’s e-mails about the Secret Service report.
Napolitano, now president of the University of California system, said in a statement issued by her office several weeks ago that no changes were ordered in IG reports related to the Secret Service. “Neither Secretary Napolitano nor her staff ordered that anything be deleted in the Inspector General’s investigative report. Any suggestion to the contrary is false,” the statement read.
Napolitano said Wednesday that she could not comment on the Senate panel’s findings without reading the report.
One senior aide said Edwards ordered changes to a March 2012 report about Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the request of senior DHS officials, according to the Senate inquiry. The report dealt with complaints that senior DHS officials intentionally misled Congress and the public about a new program to identify illegal immigrants called Secure Communities, and whether local law enforcement was required to participate.
Edwards agreed to delay the release of the report at the request of a DHS official, Senate investigators said. The report was on Edwards’s desk on March 1 of that year, but he agreed to a request from John Sandweg, then DHS general counsel, not to release it until March 27.
The timing meant the report was not issued until after the director of ICE testified at a House hearing that month.
In another instance, the Senate report said, Edwards followed the suggestion of a top DHS official by adding information to a report questioning the effectiveness of advanced imaging screening by the Transportation Security Administration. Edwards’s chief investigator complained that the move was an effort to “derail our report and minimize our findings,” according to the Senate report.
Edwards agreed with the DHS official’s suggestion to classify the TSA report as “Top Secret/Secure Compartmented Information” — the highest level of classification — rather than the looser restriction of “Secret.” The label meant that members of Congress could read the document only if they had a reason to do so, made arrangements and reviewed it in a specially secured room.
The panel’s investigators said they could not confirm Edwards’s role in a report on Secret Service culture because — unlike in the other cases — his office declined to provide any related e-mails or correspondence. Edwards’s investigation concluded that the agency did not have a broad leadership or cultural problem in the wake of the Cartagena scandal.
The Senate investigation found that Edwards placed on administrative leave three people who questioned the Secret Service report deletions, including the office’s general counsel, who was on paid leave for eight months before getting another job. The federal office that reviews whistleblower complaints sided with the counsel’s argument that Edwards was retaliating against him for complaints the counsel made about Edwards’s conduct.

Edwards also asked Sandweg to edit a memorandum of understanding that involved Edwards and to provide ongoing legal advice at work, investigators said. “I really need some legal help,” Edwards wrote in one e-mail to Sandweg. “Please help me for the next four months.”
Edwards was particularly close to members of Napolitano’s inner staff and often communicated more with them than with his own senior leadership team, the Senate inquiry found. Before scheduled testimony in front of a House committee in March 2012, Edwards asked Sandweg, Napolitano’s top political adviser and acting general counsel, how Edwards should respond to questions from Congress about the best way to improve a department program, the report said.
Federal law requires inspectors general to remain independent of the agencies they oversee and to seek legal advice only from their own counsel or another IG’s counsel. Edwards told Senate investigators he didn’t trust his staff counsel.
The Senate report said Edwards conferred regularly with both Sandweg and Noah Kroloff, Napolitano’s chief of staff, at the same time he was allegedly pushing to delete embarrassing information from the Secret Service report. Kroloff has close ties to Mark Sullivan, the Secret Service director at the time of the inquiry, and left the department to co-found a private consulting company with him.
Kroloff declined to comment through a spokesperson, saying he had not seen the report. Sandweg, who resigned in February as acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also said he could not comment without seeing the report.
Senior officials in the inspector general’s office said they were not aware of Edwards’s private communications to DHS. Edwards told the Senate there was nothing improper about such updates.
A new DHS inspector general, former federal prosecutor John Roth, was confirmed by the Senate last month.
DHS spokesman Peter Boogaard said in a Wednesday statement that Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson “believes in and values the critical role the IG plays in this department” and that he is confident in Roth’s new leadership of the office.
Responding to the Senate report on Thursday, Roth said that “this report, which examines a challenging era for DHS-OIG, contains valuable insights that my office will be taking into account as we move forward with our oversight mission.”

This is what you get from an angry, anti white agenda driven progressive who should never have been appointed to the Court

The 'Wise Latina' jumped the shark

Thomas Lifson
Conservatives may, in the long run, owe a thank-you to the “Wise Latina.” Justice Sonia Sotomayor jumped the shark Tuesday with her lengthy dissent from the Schuette decision, read aloud from the bench. Although the liberal media sympathize with her and presented the decision as a setback, the positions she took are at variance with both the clear meaning of the text of the Constitution and with the sentiments of the vast majority of Americans, who consistently vote against racial preferences whenever they get the chance.
John Hinderaker of Powerline concisely summed up the essence of the position argued by Justices Sotomayor and Ginsburg (who concurred with her dissent):
The majority held that a state can indeed ban discrimination on the basis of race. Whew! Some of us thought that issue was settled by the 14th Amendment. But two justices, Ginsburg and Sotomayor, dissented: they would have held that states are required to engage in race discrimination, no matter how much a state’s citizens may protest in favor of equal treatment.
Thank God, in his Powerline colleague Scott Johnson’s words, “The Constitution is still constitutional.” Sotomayor, a big believer in the theory of a “living Constitution,” would have it that the “compelling state interest in diversity,” as she put it in her dissent, empowers the Supreme Court to override the actual words of the Constitution and substitute her own preference that some minorities (though not Asians, who suffer discrimination under the racial preference system) deserve a thumb on the scale. And if that causes whites, Asians, and other non-preferred groups (can we please call them “targets”?) to be denied opportunities that their merit has earned them, the Wise Latina is not concerned.
Mike Gonzalez, a Vice President of the Heritage Foundation, raises some interesting questions about her position in the New York Post:
For Sotomayor, of course, affirmative action is personal. She’s said she believes she got into Princeton and Yale Law because of affirmative action, disclosing once that “my test scores were not comparable to that of my colleagues at Princeton or Yale.”
It’s what came afterward, when a big law firm came recruiting at Yale, that is more revealing. One partner in the firm asked her, “Would you have been admitted to the law school if you were not a Puerto Rican?”
Sotomayor didn’t react well, lodging a complaint with Yale. The firm had to apologize to the university, lest it lose its coveted right to recruit at the nation’s top law school.
But what on earth did Sotomayor expect? What else did she think could possibly result from racial preferences?
Even more interesting, Gonzalez wonders why Hispanic and other immigrants are entitled to any preferences at all:
There’s nothing in the Hispanic experience in America that compares with the repulsive system of slavery. Some Jim Crow laws did affect some Mexican-Americans living in the Southwest, but there was nothing comparable with the African-American experience.
And the vast majority of today’s Hispanics either immigrated here or, more likely, descended from people who immigrated of their own volition. They chose to come here to better their lives.
Sure, America isn’t perfect. No place on this earth can be. But millions of immigrants for 2½ centuries have obviously decided that the advantages far outweigh what problems there are. We should honor their choice.
With her extreme positions and her elevated judicial standing, Sotomayor has now become the poster girl for self-interested racial preferences. Her mediocre performance on SAT and LSAT tests served as a predictor of her performance on the Court. Two fellow liberals on the Court abandoned her, leaving only Ginsburg in her camp. And as I have been reporting, the Left now is after Ginsburg, trying to get her to resign so that President Obama can appoint a young and healthy liberal to spend the next few decades rewriting the Constitution

The Democrat war on women, literally.

Millionaire Tech CEO filmed hitting and kicking his girlfriend 117 times in brutal 30-minute attack sentenced to just 25 hours community service

  • Multi-millionaire Gurbaksh Chahal, 31, charged with 45 felony counts
  • CCTV showed him 'hitting and kicking her 117 times in 30-minutes'
  • Chahal also threatened to kill her 'several times', police say
  • Charges included 'assault with a deadly weapon (not a firearm)'
  • Pleaded guilty to two charges, got community service and probation
  • Entrepreneur Chahal once named America's 'most eligible bachelor'

  • Gurbaksh Singh Chahal
    Chahal with U.S. President Barack Obama.jpg
    G. Chahal with U.S. President Barack Obama
    BornJuly 17, 1982 (age 31)[1]
    Tarn Taran SahibPunjabIndia
    ResidenceSan Francisco, California
    OccupationChairman & CEO of RadiumOne
    Net worthIncreaseUS$100 million+

  • The government business of race baiting on display. One set of rules for them another for the rest of us.

    Posted By Eric Owens On 9:27 AM 04/23/2014 In | No Comments
    It’s always satisfying to see race-baiting bureaucrats get their comeuppance in court, but an opinion by the 6th Circuit issued earlier this month begins especially delightfully:
    In this case the EEOC sued the defendants for using the same type of background check that the EEOC itself uses. The EEOC’s personnel handbook recites that “[o]verdue just debts increase temptation to commit illegal or unethical acts as a means of gaining funds to meet financial obligations.” Because of that concern, the EEOC runs credit checks on applicants for 84 of the agency’s 97 positions. The defendants (collectively, “Kaplan”) have the same concern; and thus Kaplan runs credit checks on applicants for positions that provide access to students’ financial-loan information, among other positions. For that practice, the EEOC sued Kaplan.
    The April 9 ruling in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Kaplan Higher Education Corp. has received little fanfare. It should probably receive more, though, if only because the EEOC lost so good and hard.
    In the case, the unanimous three-judge panel ruled to exclude the findings of government contractor General Information Services and the testimony of a dubious statistical analyst, thus affirming a lower court’s “meticulously reasoned” summary judgment decision and likely ending the EEOC’s complaint against Kaplan.
    The troubles for Kaplan began when the company experienced problems involving financial improprieties among its employees. The test-prep and for-profit education giant responded by hiring third-party vendors to perform credit checks on current employees and job applicants who would be involved in financial matters.
    Kaplan collected no race (or gender) data about job applicants at the time of the credit checks. The company only sought such information at the hiring stage. Nevertheless, the EEOC saw a convoluted conspiracy to identify people by race — by using the very credit checks the EEOC uses.
    In its subsequent lawsuit, the EEOC alleged that Kaplan’s “use of credit checks causes it to screen out more African-American applicants than white applicants, creating a disparate impact in violation of Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act.”
    The case quickly became absurd and hilarious when the super sleuths at the EEOC set out to prove racial disparities in Kaplan’s credit checks by matching up the subpoenaed names of Kaplan job applicants with photos from various Department of Motor Vehicles databases.
    The glaring problem with the name-matching scheme, of course, is that there can be no guarantee that someone who applied to work for Kaplan is the person with the same name who also got a license down at the DMV.
    The 6th Circuit panel highlighted as much. “The EEOC brought this case on the basis of a homemade methodology, crafted by a witness with no particular expertise to craft it, accepted only by the witness himself,” the unanimous opinion observes.
    Horace Cooper, an adjunct fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research and co-chairman of Project 21, a leading voice of black free-market conservatives, spoke to The Daily Caller about the 6th Circuit smack-down.
    “Kaplan said they didn’t even know the race or gender of the applications they were rejecting,” Cooper pointed out.
    “The unanimous ruling by the 6th Circuit demonstrates just how untenable the EEOC’s position was,” he told TheDC. “Telling employers who haven’t asked or in any way inquired about the racial status of applicants that they cannot adopt simple, widely-used preventative measures to ensure that potential employees won’t engage in wrongdoing is unfair. Using government contractors to scour applications and get third parties to provide photos to guess the applicants’ race to show how it might constitute racially-biased disparate impact is just plain bizarre.”
    Cherylyn Harley LeBon, the other Project 21 co-chair, noted the irony of the EEOC’s actions.
    “It defies logic that a federal agency would seek to punish a private company for instituting a widely-accepted business practice — especially since this agency engages in the same practice,” she said. “This is an example of the lengths to which this presidency will go to advance their divisive agenda.”
    The EEOC has 90 days since the decision to appeal to the Supreme Court.

    Same is true for voter ID. You can't get into Al Sharpton's events without an ID.

    A 19th century education model in dire need of serious overhaul.

    Toss out abusive college administrators: Column

    This is where government controlled healthcare works

    A fatal wait: Veterans languish and die on a VA hospital's secret list

    (CNN) -- At least 40 U.S. veterans died waiting for appointments at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system, many of whom were placed on a secret waiting list.
    The secret list was part of an elaborate scheme designed by Veterans Affairs managers in Phoenix who were trying to hide that 1,400 to 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait months to see a doctor, according to a recently retired top VA doctor and several high-level sources.
    For six months, CNN has been reporting on extended delays in health care appointments suffered by veterans across the country and who died while waiting for appointments and care. But the new revelations about the Phoenix VA are perhaps the most disturbing and striking to come to light thus far.
    Internal e-mails obtained by CNN show that top management at the VA hospital in Arizona knew about the practice and even defended it.
    Dr. Sam Foote just retired after spending 24 years with the VA system in Phoenix. The veteran doctor told CNN in an exclusive interview that the Phoenix VA works off two lists for patient appointments:
    There's an "official" list that's shared with officials in Washington and shows the VA has been providing timely appointments, which Foote calls a sham list. And then there's the real list that's hidden from outsiders, where wait times can last more than a year.
    Veterans dying waiting for healthcare
    Are we fulfilling our promise to veterans?
    Deliberate scheme, shredded evidence
    "The scheme was deliberately put in place to avoid the VA's own internal rules," said Foote in Phoenix. "They developed the secret waiting list," said Foote, a respected local physician.
    The VA requires its hospitals to provide care to patients in a timely manner, typically within 14 to 30 days, Foote said.
    According to Foote, the elaborate scheme in Phoenix involved shredding evidence to hide the long list of veterans waiting for appointments and care. Officials at the VA, Foote says, instructed their staff to not actually make doctor's appointments for veterans within the computer system.
    Instead, Foote says, when a veteran comes in seeking an appointment, "they enter information into the computer and do a screen capture hard copy printout. They then do not save what was put into the computer so there's no record that you were ever here," he said.
    According to Foote, the information was gathered on the secret electronic list and then the information that would show when veterans first began waiting for an appointment was actually destroyed.
    "That hard copy, if you will, that has the patient demographic information is then taken and placed onto a secret electronic waiting list, and then the data that is on that paper is shredded," Foote said.
    "So the only record that you have ever been there requesting care was on that secret list," he said. "And they wouldn't take you off that secret list until you had an appointment time that was less than 14 days so it would give the appearance that they were improving greatly the waiting times, when in fact they were not."
    I feel very sorry for the people who work at the Phoenix VA. They all wish they could leave 'cause they know what they're doing is wrong.
    Dr. Sam Foote
    Foote estimates right now the number of veterans waiting on the "secret list" to see a primary care physician is somewhere between 1,400 and 1,600.
    Doctor: It's a 'frustrated' staff
    "I feel very sorry for the people who work at the Phoenix VA," said Foote. "They're all frustrated. They're all upset. They all wish they could leave 'cause they know what they're doing is wrong.
    "But they have families, they have mortgages and if they speak out or say anything to anybody about it, they will be fired and they know that."
    Several other high-level VA staff confirmed Foote's description to CNN and confirmed this is exactly how the secret list works in Phoenix.
    Foote says the Phoenix wait times reported back to Washington were entirely fictitious. "So then when they did that, they would report to Washington, 'Oh yeah. We're makin' our appointments within -- within 10 days, within the 14-day frame,' when in reality it had been six, nine, in some cases 21 months," he said.
    Thomas Breen was so proud of his time in the Navy that he wanted to be treated only at a VA facility, his family says.
    Thomas Breen was so proud of his time in the Navy that he wanted to be treated only at a VA facility, his family says.
    In the case of 71-year-old Navy veteran Thomas Breen, the wait on the secret list ended much sooner.
    "We had noticed that he started to have bleeding in his urine," said Teddy Barnes-Breen, his son. "So I was like, 'Listen, we gotta get you to the doctor.' "
    Teddy says his Brooklyn-raised father was so proud of his military service that he would go nowhere but the VA for treatment. On September 28, 2013, with blood in his urine and a history of cancer, Teddy and his wife, Sally, rushed his father to the Phoenix VA emergency room, where he was examined and sent home to wait.
    "They wrote on his chart that it was urgent," said Sally, her father-in-law's main caretaker. The family has obtained the chart from the VA that clearly states the "urgency" as "one week" for Breen to see a primary care doctor or at least a urologist, for the concerns about the blood in the urine.
    "And they sent him home," says Teddy, incredulously.
    Sally and Teddy say Thomas Breen was given an appointment with a rheumatologist to look at his prosthetic leg but was given no appointment for the main reason he went in.
    The Breens wait ... and wait ... and wait ...
    No one called from the VA with a primary care appointment. Sally says she and her father-in-law called "numerous times" in an effort to try to get an urgent appointment for him. She says the response they got was less than helpful.
    "Well, you know, we have other patients that are critical as well," Sally says she was told. "It's a seven-month waiting list. And you're gonna have to have patience."
    Sally says she kept calling, day after day, from late September to October. She kept up the calls through November. But then she no longer had reason to call.
    Thomas Breen died on November 30. The death certificate shows that he died from Stage 4 bladder cancer. Months after the initial visit, Sally says she finally did get a call.
    "They called me December 6. He's dead already."
    Sally says the VA official told her, "We finally have that appointment. We have a primary for him.' I said, 'Really, you're a little too late, sweetheart.' "
    At the end is when he suffered. He screamed. He cried.
    Sally Brenn on the death of her father-in-law
    Sally says her father-in-law realized toward the end he was not getting the care he needed.
    "At the end is when he suffered. He screamed. He cried. And that's somethin' I'd never seen him do before, was cry. Never. Never. He cried in the kitchen right here. 'Don't let me die.' "
    Teddy added his father said: "Why is this happening to me? Why won't anybody help me?"
    Teddy added: "They didn't do the right thing." Sally said: "No. They neglected Pop."
    First hidden -- and then removed
    Foote says Breen is a perfect example of a veteran who needed an urgent appointment with a primary doctor and who was instead put on the secret waiting list -- where he remained hidden.
    Foote adds that when veterans waiting on the secret list die, they are simply removed.
    "They could just remove you from that list, and there's no record that you ever came to the VA and presented for care. ... It's pretty sad."
    Foote said that the number of dead veterans who died waiting for care is at least 40.
    "That's correct. The number's actually higher. ... I would say that 40, there's more than that that I know of, but 40's probably a good number."
    CNN has obtained e-mails from July 2013 showing that top management, including Phoenix VA Director Sharon Helman, was well-aware about the actual wait times, knew about the electronic off-the-books list and even defended its use to her staff.
    I think it's unfair to call any of this a success when Veterans are waiting 6 weeks on an electronic waiting list
    From 2013 Phoenix VA e-mail obtained by CNN
    In one internal Phoenix VA e-mail dated July 3, 2013, one staffer raised concerns about the secret electronic list and raised alarms that Phoenix VA officials were praising its use.
    "I have to say, I think it's unfair to call any of this a success when Veterans are waiting 6 weeks on an electronic waiting list before they're called to schedule their first PCP (primary care physician) appointment," the e-mail states. "Sure, when their appointment is created, it can be 14 days out, but we're making them wait 6-20 weeks to create that appointment."
    The e-mail adds pointedly: "That is unethical and a disservice to our Veterans."
    Last year and earlier this year, Foote also sent letters to officials at the VA Office of the Inspector General with details about the secret electronic waiting list and about the large number of veterans who died waiting for care, many hidden on the secret list. Foote and several other sources inside the Phoenix VA confirmed to CNN that IG inspectors have interviewed them about the allegations.
    VA: 'It is disheartening to hear allegations'
    CNN has made numerous requests to Helman and her staff for an interview about the secret list, the e-mails showing she was aware of it and the allegations of the 40 veterans who died waiting on the list, to no avail.
    But CNN was sent a statement from VA officials in Texas, quoting Helman.
    "It is disheartening to hear allegations about Veterans care being compromised," the statement from Helman reads, "and we are open to any collaborative discussion that assists in our goal to continually improve patient care."
    Just before deadline Wednesday, the VA sent an additional comment to CNN.
    It stated, in part: "We have conducted robust internal reviews since these allegations surfaced and welcome the results from the Office of Inspector General's review. We take these allegations seriously."
    The VA statement to CNN added: "To ensure new Veterans waiting for appointments are managed appropriately, we maintain an Electronic Wait List (EWL) in accordance with the national VHA Scheduling Directive. The ability of new and established patients to get more timely care has showed significant improvement in the last two years which is attributable to increased budget, staffing, efficiency and infrastructure."
    Foote says Helman's response in the first statement is stunning, explaining the entire secret list and the reason for its existence was planned and created by top management at the Phoenix VA, specifically to avoid detection of the long wait times by veterans there.
    "This was a plan that involved the Pentad, which includes the director, the associate director, the assistant director, the chief of nursing, along with the medical chief of staff -- in collaboration with the chief of H.A.S."
    Washington is paying attention
    The Phoenix VA's "off the books" waiting list has now gotten the attention of the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee in Washington, whose chairman has been investigating delays in care at veterans hospitals across the country.
    According to Rep. Jeff Miller, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, what was happening in Phoenix is even worse than veterans dying while waiting for care.
    Even as CNN was working to report this story, the Florida Republican demanded the VA preserve all records in anticipation of a congressional investigation.
    In a hearing on April 9, Miller learned even the undersecretary of health for the VA wasn't being told the truth about the secret list:
    "It appears as though there could be as many as 40 veterans whose deaths could be related to delays in care. Were you made aware of these unofficial lists in any part of your look back?" asked Miller.
    "Mr. Chairman, I was not," replied Dr. Thomas Lynch, assistant deputy undersecretary, Veterans Health Administration.
    Congress has now ordered all records in Phoenix, secret or not, be preserved.
    That would include the record of a 71-year-old Navy veteran named Thomas Breen.