By Matthew M. Burke
Copyright 2014 Stars and Stripes
SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Internal communications obtained by Stars and Stripes allege a troubling pattern of wrongdoing and violation of scientific ethics by JPAC’s Central Identification Laboratory, the section responsible for the lion’s share of efforts to search, recover and identify American personnel missing from past military conflicts.
The documents contain allegations of botched recovery and identification efforts that span modern American military history, including World War II dead on Tarawa Atoll; Korean War dead at Upo Lake, South Korea; and Vietnam-era war dead on Koh Tang island in Cambodia.
The offenses allegedly committed by laboratory personnel include possible desecration and mishandling of remains, failure to keep critical records, excavation of incorrect sites and waste of taxpayer funds on duplicate efforts caused by shoddy performance.
“These charges echo concerns that have been raised before about JPAC’s performance, and there needs to be a full investigation,” said U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, a republican from New Hampshire, after viewing a portion of the documents Jan. 23.