Shinseki Resigns as Veterans Affairs Chief Amid Furor Over Hospitals

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from The New York Times,

Eric Shinseki resigned as secretary of the Veterans Affairs Department Friday after meeting face-to-face with President Obama about mounting evidence of widespread misconduct and mismanagement at the agency’s vast network of medical facilities.

In a statement Friday morning after the meeting, Mr. Obama said that Mr. Shinseki had offered his resignation from the post he has held since the beginning of the president’s administration. “With regret, I accepted,” Mr. Obama said.

“He has worked hard to investigate and identify the problem,” the president said, adding that Mr. Shinseki told him that “the V.A. needs new leadership to address it. He does not want to be a distraction.”

In a speech Friday morning to a veterans group, he apologized and described his agency as having “a systemic, totally unacceptable lack of integrity.” He vowed to fix what he called a “breach of integrity” and said he had already initiated the firing of top managers at the V.A. medical center in Phoenix, where allegations of mismanagement first surfaced.

But his contrition and promises of action came too late to save his job.

A four-star general who spent nearly four decades in the Army, Mr. Shinseki had captured the attention of Mr. Obama and other Democrats in 2003, when he publicly disputed claims by top officials for President George W. Bush that the United States could invade Iraq with a relatively small force.

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