The VA whistleblower speaks out

The sign in the front of the headquarters building at the Department of Veteran Affairs is seen as a man walks past in Washington. (Reuters/Larry Downing)


The sign in the front of the headquarters building at the Department of Veteran Affairs in Washington, DC. (Reuters)

The Veterans Administration worker who leaked damning information about the federal agency has a name: Sam Foote. He is an internist, and for 19 years was a VA outpatient clinic director.

He wrote an op-ed for the New York Times:

My decision to become a whistle-blower after 24 years as a physician in a Veterans Affairs hospital was, at first, an easy one. I knew about patients who were dying while waiting for appointments on the V.A.’s secret schedules, and I couldn’t stay silent.

But there was no response to the two letters I sent to the Veterans Affairs inspector general, one in late October 2013 and one in early February. Going public would damage an institution I gave more than two decades of my life to, trying to make a better place for veterans to get their care. But I had to be able to sleep at night.

Dr. Sam Foote, speaking with CNN's Brian Stelter.


Dr. Sam Foote, speaking with CNN's Brian Stelter.

Dr. Foote retired from the VA's Phoenix, Arizona medical center in December 2013. He continued to contact lawmakers, but he also contacted a reporter at the Arizona Republic, and a series of articles about deaths, suffering, and financial waste caused by mismanagement followed.

On CNN's Reliable Sources this past Sunday, he told CNN's Brian Stelter about his decision to expose treatment delays at the Phoenix VA hospital, and how he went about blowing the proverbial whistle.

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