Welcome to episode 935 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast where the old nemesis of all Vietnam Veterans, Agent Orange will be featured. It seems Jim Sampsel, a lead analyst within the Department of Veterans Affairs’ compensation service, told a VA advisory committee in March 2017 that he believes much of the renewed attention to Agent Orange is the result of media “hype” and “hysteria.”
A story about Sampsel’s comments appeared in The Mint Press News titled: Veterans Affairs Official Downplays Agent Orange Risks, Questions Critics. The story was submitted Charles Ornstein. The VA issued the following about Sampsel’s statements: “The objective of a federal advisory committee is to have open and public discussion of the issues for which it is chartered from the experts who understand and bring their own unique perspectives. The March 2017 meetings were no exception and Mr. Sampsel’s comments did not fully or accurately reflect VA’s position concerning these issues.”
Rick Weidman, legislative director for Vietnam Veterans of America, met with VA Secretary David Shulkin last week and demanded that Sampsel and others in the Veterans Benefits Administration be replaced. Weidman added that he doesn’t expect Sampsel and other VA employees to necessarily be advocates “but we do expect them to be neutral and honest arbiters of science—and they are not.”
Sampsel presented the following points to the VA advisory committee:
- He believes Agent Orange contained “very, very small amounts” of dioxin, which was quickly destroyed by sunlight and the open air.
- His extreme skepticism of claims that veterans who served outside of Vietnam were exposed to Agent Orange.
- Criticism of Board of Veterans Appeals Agent Orange decisions.
- Criticism of National Academy of Medicine nee Institute of Medicine.
- Support for Dr. Alvin Young an advocate for Agent Orange manufacturers.
- Belief that Agent Orange never went to the Philippines, Okinawa and Guam.
Sampsel sounds like a fox in the hen house.
The whole story in episode 935 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast.