America

Report: FBI Probing Mishandling Of Remains At Arlington

On Memorial Day, a patriotic balloon, flags and flowers adorned graves at Arlington National Cemetery. i i

On Memorial Day, a patriotic balloon, flags and flowers adorned graves at Arlington National Cemetery. Jose Luis Magana/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Jose Luis Magana/AP
On Memorial Day, a patriotic balloon, flags and flowers adorned graves at Arlington National Cemetery.

On Memorial Day, a patriotic balloon, flags and flowers adorned graves at Arlington National Cemetery.

Jose Luis Magana/AP

A Washington Post exclusive this morning:

"The Justice Department is investigating the mishandling of remains at Arlington National Cemetery in a broad criminal inquiry that is also seeking evidence of possible contracting fraud and falsification of records, people familiar with the investigation said Tuesday."

The problems at Arlington have been well-documented in recent years. Last June, as NPR.org reported:

"Army Secretary John McHugh told a House panel Wednesday that a 'fractured, unmanageable oversight structure' was responsible for a host of problems recently revealed at Arlington National Cemetery. An Army investigation released earlier this month concluded that hundreds of gravesites at Arlington have been mismanaged.

"The six-month Army inquiry found problems including improperly marked graves, mismanagement, bad record keeping and wire fraud. The cemetery's mission, the report said, 'was hampered by dysfunctional management, a lack of established policy and procedures, and an overall unhealthy organizational climate.' "

That Army report, from the Office of the Inspector General, is posted here. It prompted management changes at the cemetery.

This month, cemetery officials issued a report on "progress at Arlington," which made the case that:

"One year ago, an investigation by the Army Inspector General revealed several issues at Arlington National Cemetery. In the past year, the new leadership team has taken steps to address them by employing new chain of custody procedures, implementing a financial management system and contracting process, rebuilding the workforce, overhauling the automated interment scheduling system and improving the facilities and infrastructure on the grounds of the cemetery. In this next year, leadership will focus on using technology to develop programs and products that will bring the American public closer to Arlington National Cemetery."

Now, according to the Post, "a federal grand jury in Alexandria has been subpoenaing witnesses and records relating to the scandal at the nation's most venerated military burial ground, sources said."

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