Berkley Calls For VA Secretary to Tender Resignation Following Failure to Safeguard Data From 26 Million Veterans
Following a hearing today before the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (D-NV) called for VA Secretary Jim Nicholson to tender his resignation in the wake of his agency's failure to protect the private information of more than 26 million U.S. veterans.
"Throughout his tenure at the VA, Secretary Nicholson has repeatedly failed America's veterans. I was astounded to learn that he was not notified for nearly two weeks that personal information about 26 million veterans had been stolen. When employees do not respect their boss enough to inform him about something this massive, it is clearly time for a change. Secretary Nicholson should at least get one thing right and submit his resignation immediately for the good of America's veterans," said Berkley, who serves on the House Veterans' Affairs Committee.
Berkley also questioned Nicholson's actions following the disclosure that records stolen from a VA employee could leave more than 26 million veterans vulnerable to identity theft.
"The fact that no one has been fired over this incident is an absolute outrage and it speaks volumes about the disconnect between Secretary Nicholson and what is really happening inside the VA," said Berkley. "He should be cleaning house, not closing ranks to protect those employees who are responsible for this incredible violation of our veterans' privacy."
The botched response to the theft of personal information about more than 26 million veterans is but the latest problem for the VA under Nicholson's watch, according to Berkley.
"From the very first day he took over as head of the VA, Secretary Nicholson has failed to ensure the needs of America's veterans are being met. This is a man who came before the Veterans' Affairs Committee and actually told us we didn't need more money in the budget for the VA because fewer troops would be returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, despite the fact that our nation is at war. And it was Secretary Nicholson who failed to convince the President to include in his budget more than $140 million in additional funding needed to build Southern Nevada's first full-service VA medical complex. To put it bluntly, for the good of America's veterans, Jim Nicholson has got to go," said Berkley.