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CNN "CNN Newsroom" - Transcript


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Congressman Jon Runyan heads up the House Subcommittee on Veterans' Memorial Affairs, which is holding today's hearing. He joins us now from the Hill.

So, Congressman, since the story broke, you know, the Army took over the challenge of trying to fix all these horrendous problems at Arlington. But a lot of military families are still wanting confirmation that their loved one is still in the right grave or that they're even there.

So, what are you telling them right now?

REP. JON RUNYAN (R-NJ), CHMN., SUBCMTE. ON VETERANS' MEMORIAL AFFAIRS: Well, the biggest thing is the leaders, especially Ms. Condon over at Arlington, is going through that process, and that process of digitizing all these records and cross-referencing everything they have in the process to really help figure it out.

The unfortunate part is, I've been in hearings and oversight hearings, you know, also with the Army and on the armed services side, there are still some questions sometimes where there have been mix ups. We had a colonel that was only 77 percent sure that his wife was buried in the grave where it was marked. So, there's that kind of stuff out there.

And the biggest thing is to put this team in the place to make sure this never happens again as we address the problems of mismanagement of the past.

PHILLIPS: And we really won't know how many discrepancies are there -- are still there until this task force is finished with its work. When will that be?

RUNYAN: Well, these records -- the biggest thing that surprised me when I went over there right after I got elected was that they're still basically on a card catalog system. All these records were paper in an office building that never even had a fire suppression system in it. So, they're behind the eight ball there.

And, you know, as we know with the paper system and we deal with it every day, things get lost. And that kind of stuff is not acceptable.

And what Ms. Condon has done has really stepped in and put together a framework, a guideline, procedures and protocols in place that were not there to really hold people accountable for doing their job on a day-to-day basis.

PHILLIPS: So, finally today at the hearing, what are you going to do? What are you going to demand to hear today?

RUNYAN: Well, I think the biggest thing and the I.G. kind of raises the question, we understand what the problems of the past were and we're moving forward and the I.G. raised the question of, are we prepared? Do we have the procedures and protocols in place, once we get this under control to have them for the long term, as we bring new people in and can hold people accountable? That is my biggest question that I'm going to raise today.

PHILLIPS: Congressman John Runyan, appreciate your time today.

RUNYAN: Thank you very much.

PHILLIPS: You bet.


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