Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL), Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, says staff members of his committee were forced to work in a room that was wired with activated microphones and video cameras. “In that room, both of the mics were hot and the camera itself was activated,” Miller told me during an interview Tuesday on WMAL radio in Washington DC.
The incident occurred on July 2nd at the VA regional office in Philadelphia when the committee staffers were conducting a surprise site audit to investigate the ongoing corruption scandal plaguing the Veterans' Administration.
"The staff got there - they only gave them 15 minutes heads-up - they were told on three occasions that they needed to go to a specific room. But, there was an employee there that told them it wasn't necessary, they could bring the files and the computers up to the conference room that they were in.
And the Acting Director took that employee outside, had a two or three minute conversation, when they came back in the room my staff was directed to go to another floor into what was a video/teleconference hearing room. In that room both of the mics were hot and the camera itself was activated. Now, I don't know if they were recording anything but it makes you wonder if they weren't preparing to monitor them as they went through and reviewed files."
Miller said that when he brought the incident up in a late-night hearing Monday, "there was no attempt to deny that it had occurred" by the Undersecretary of Benefits at the VA, Allison Hickey.
Miller also revealed that during the site visit his staff observed and took a photo of a legal pad "that some things were written on that, I'm sure VA hoped had never been discovered." I asked the Chairman if he could tell us what was on the legal pad.
"On top of the legal pad had two of the whistle-blowers names written and circled. Then it had, half way down the page, that they should ignore my congressional staff. When I tried to get them to explain what that meant they said 'well that they should ignore what people said about my staff.' The fact of the matter is they were caught in a bold faced lie and they should be more than embarrassed.