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The VA's silencing of whistleblowers

Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

An office established by the Trump administration in the Department of Veterans Affairs to protect internal whistleblowers ended up alienating "the very individuals it was meant to protect," according to a VA Office of Inspector General report released Thursday.

Why it matters: Creating a permanent Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection was a key campaign promise of President Trump's, who said he wanted more accountability on veteran's care.

  • Instead, the office "engaged in actions that could be considered retaliatory [against whistleblowers]" and "likely diminished the desired confidence of whistleblowers and other potential complainants in the operations of the office," the report said.

What they're saying, per a VA spokesperson: "VA appreciates the inspector general's oversight and has been encouraging the IG to complete this work for some time, but it's important to note that this report largely focuses on OAWP's operations under previous leaders who no longer work at VA."

Go deeper: Veterans face surprise medical bills from non-VA hospitals