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Congress Members Grill Officials Over Arlington National Cemetery Controversy

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By Sara Sciammacco

The nation's most revered military burial site has been mired in scandal since early June, when a federal investigation unearthed a shocking pattern of neglect and mismanagement. Today the House Armed Services Committee, which includes several Virginia and Maryland lawmakers, grilled the military and civilian officials in charge of Arlington National Cemetery.

The investigation found graves that were mismarked, bodies that had been misidentified, and remains that were improperly handled.

Army Secretary John McHugh responded to Virginia Republican Rob Whitman.

"Can you give us an idea of how that was allowed to continue to occur and for that dysfunctional organizational structure there to continue?" Whitman asks.

"I wish I had the answers to that, congressman," says McHugh. "A lot of this is conjecture, we are talking back to '97, '92, so well over a decade, and a lot of the people who were directly involved are gone. I will say this: there is no excuse why it happened."

McHugh said he has created an oversight team and advisory commission to help restructure the cemetery. He also said the Army should continue the role of overseeing the national site.


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