Veterans Demand Transparency from the VA
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The VA has not been honest with Veterans and the public. Instead of revealing who has been spying on veterans they will stone wall veterans until they give up or die and if that doesn't work the VA will attack and discredit any veteran who demands the VA to do the right thing.
When people served their country by joining the military - they did not give up their constitutional rights in order to defend it. However, some people who work for the VA never served and have no idea what service and sacrifice means, yet they have been allowed to take away some of our rights. Some of these people are more interested in their careers and in gaining power to control others. These power hungry bureaucrats are really faceless cowards that create ways to make themselves money and to feel important.
The VA can add a extra layer of defense to safeguard veteran's privacy by allowing veterans to become their own watchdog over their own private information. The VA can released unredacted audits of the Veteran's private information to the Veteran and/or beneficiary. Every veteran and beneficiary has the right to know who has been snooping in their private information. Every Veteran has the right to know if their ex-wife or ex-husband or neighbor or former boss or whoever was not authorized has had access to their private information.
The VA and other agencies are not enforcing existing privacy laws. One of the ways the bureaucrats escape accountability and are allowed to continue to violate the privacy of veterans is by keeping the bureaucrats faceless. Every Veteran has the right to know who has been accessing their private information.
1) The prevalence of privacy violations at the VA has become an epidemic system wide; and
2) Even though the VA is one of the top Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) privacy offenders, the Office of Civil Rights, an arm of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), that enforces HIPAA, has largely ignored the VA’s problem; and
3) The VA is required by several regulations (e.g., Federal Information Processing Standards Publication) to develop, sustain, and retain audit records to supervise, analyze, and report on inappropriate access of information systems; and
4) The VA’s own VA Handbook states that information systems are required to create detailed audit logs that can help recreate a data security incident; and
5) The VA does not send out unredacted “accounting of disclosures” (aka audits) even through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in a timely manner – it often taking months to years to receive an incomplete audit; and
6) Regional Office Directors are redacting important information on claim file audits generated by the VA’s Office of Information and Technology (OIT) before mailing the FOIA requests to veterans – important information that identifies privacy violators -- thus preventing Veterans from obtaining recourse; and
7) It is every Veteran’s right to know who has accessed their private information, in a timely manner, and why; and
8) It is every Veteran’s right to restrict who sees their information.
Veterans need your help with supporting legislation and changing applicable regulations that requires the VA to allow every Veteran and/or their guardian, to become a watchdog over their private information, if the Veteran so chooses, by releasing unredacted audits of the Veteran’s Claim file (C-file), also known as accounting of disclosures and FOIA requests, that shows everyone who has been viewing the Veteran’s information and why, in a timely manner upon request, and whenever requested.
Why the Administrative State is a threat to Veterans' Civil Liberties
The VA has become a very serious administrative threat because, often faceless, government bureaucrats can take away the civil liberties of veterans. The rule of law can serve as a safeguard against tyranny, because just laws ensure that rulers (government bureaucrats) do not become corrupt. Tyranny occurs when absolute power is granted to a ruler (or in this case a government bureaucrat). The rule of law is the principle that no one is exempt from the law, even those who are in a position of power. Yet at the VA, many government bureaucrats commit crimes every day with impunity because our agencies are failing to enforce the rule of law.
The administrative state describes a form of government that uses an extensive professional class to provide oversight over government, the economy and society. It creates a "network of small complicated rules" bringing about "soft tyranny." It stands in stark contrast to a representative democracy with limited powers and reach.The Administrative state violates the constitutional principle of separation of powers, threatens civil liberties including the right to due process, and undermines the ability of citizens to have a meaningful say in politics and public policy. The administrative state empowers a distinct knowledge class to make important political and policy decisions, largely unchecked and unsupervised, at the expense of citizens' voting power and the power of the legislature and the judiciary.
James Madison, wrote that the human tendency to accumulate power required a government with checks and balances "...to control the abuses of government."
As you will see from some of the facts shown above, the Department of Veterans of Affairs has been allowed to police itself with very dire consequences for veterans. Petty tyrannical paper pushers are allowed to destroy the lives of veterans. The paper pushers have been able to infiltrate and control veteran's lives using a dangerous language that denies choice. The Nazi's coined this language by calling it "Amtssprache" which can be loosely translated into English as "office talk" or "bureaucratese".
The Nazi's found ways to disconnect any emotional sensibility they might have felt from prohibitive thoughts in order to continue their grisly work. They did it by developing a language that helped them to deny the reality of what they were doing and transfer the responsibility for their actions onto a faceless entity, like VA policy. In this extreme disconnection of thought and feeling innocent people died and perpetrators continued, immunizing themselves with their words and rationalizations. They blinded themselves to what they and their colleagues were doing in order to satisfy superiors' orders so they could keep their jobs. During the Nuremberg trials, when Adolf Eichmann was asked, "was it difficult for you to send those tens of thousands of people to their death?' Eichmann replied, 'To tell you the truth, it was easy. Our language made it easy.' Asked to explain, Eichmann said, 'My fellow officers and I coined our name for our language. We called it an "amtssprache"--"office talk." In our "office talk" you deny responsibility for your actions. So, if anybody says, "Why did you do it?" you say, "I had to." Why did you have to?" "Superiors' orders. Company policy. It's the law".' Eichmann's defense is also known as the "Nuremberg plea."
In fact, what Eichmann said about the power of bureaucratically--obscure, euphemistically--mentioned language, shadowing operations few people participated in, provides a very clear example of how, by creating a culture that values following the rules, you risk also creating a culture that loses its moral compass or code.
The Eichmann defense is the most dangerous language (-have to, -can't) because it is a language that denies responsibility for choice. Stating, "It's my job"; "They told me to do it"; "I'm only following company policy"; "It's the rules"; "It's not my job"-- shields ourselves from doing what is best and right.
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