Reps. Issa, Cummings want more info on mishandling of troops' remains

“According to an investigation of whistleblower reports completed by the Office of Special Counsel, there were serious violations of rules and regulations, gross mismanagement, dishonesty and misconduct by individuals employed at Port Mortuary,” Issa and Cummings told the Pentagon chief. The lawmakers are the chairman and ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Panetta earlier this month announced he has formed an independent panel to review mismanagement of the deceased soldiers’ remains at the Delaware base because a probe already completed by the Air Force Office of Special Counsel raised “additional questions” that must be answered.

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Retired Army Gen. John Abizaid, a former U.S. Central Command chief, will chair that panel.

Issa and Cummings want Panetta to deliver to Congress several pieces of data about its ongoing investigation, including:

• A list and description of all allegations involving the improper handling and burial of troops’ remains since January 2002.

• A list of personnel that DOD has concluded “violated policies and procedures regarding the handling, preparation and burial of remains.”

• “All documents and communications referring to mismanagement, dishonesty and misconduct at Port Mortuary.”

The lawmakers also requested the panel’s staff be briefed on the Dover situation and all Pentagon investigations of the matter. That briefing should also cover any DOD-proposed policy remedies, they wrote in the letter.