Oversight Committee Leaders Request Dover AFB Remains-Handling Documents from Secretary Panetta

November 28, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Democratic and Republican leaders today requested information from Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta about U.S. government mishandling of remains at a U.S. Air Force base.

The letter was authored by Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD), along with Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Subcommittee Ranking Member John Tierney (D-MA).

“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, located at Dover Air Force base, Delaware,” the letter said.

The Committee leaders asked that Secretary Panetta produce to the Committee the following information:

1. A copy of the Defense Department’s policies and procedures regarding the handling, preparation, and burial of remains;

2. A list and description of all allegations involving improper handling, preparation, and burial of remains since January 1, 2002. This should include, but shall not be limited to, the incidents that occurred at Port Mortuary;

3. All documents and communications referring or relating to allegations involving improper handling, preparation, and burial of remains since January 1, 2002. This should include, but shall not be limited to, the incidents that occurred at Port Mortuary;

4. A list of all personnel involved in any allegation of improper handling, preparation, and burial of remains since January 1, 2002. This should include, but shall not be limited to, the incidents that occurred at Port Mortuary;

5. A list of personnel found to have violated policies and procedures regarding the handling, preparation, and burial of remains. This list should describe any discipline imposed by the Department of Defense. This should include, but shall not be limited to, the incidents that occurred at Port Mortuary;

6. All documents and communications referring to mismanagement, dishonesty, and misconduct at Port Mortuary; and

7. A staff-level briefing on the allegations involving Port Mortuary, any Department investigations thereof, and a description of the Department’s efforts to remedy the deficiencies allowing such incidents to occur.

A copy of the letter is available here.