Senator McCaskill Searches for Answers

7 years 11 months 2 weeks ago Wednesday, July 28 2010 Jul 28, 2010 Wednesday, July 28, 2010 5:18:13 AM CDT July 28, 2010 in News

COLUMBIA - Missouri families may be a part of a national record mix-up found during a recent audit of a portion of Arlington National Cemetery.

Thousands of misplaces headstones at the cemetery brought Senator Claire McCaskill to Columbia on Monday when she brought an update on a scheduled hearing on the misplaced headstones in Washington, D.C. this week.

Senator McCaskill says the problem stems from a failed effort on the part of private contractors to digitalize burial records. McCaskill said despite spending more than $5.5 million on multiple contracts over seven years, the cemetery's complex records remain in paper form, making them prone to human error.

"Thinking that this kind of mismanagement could have occured to these families and the price they've payed," said McCaskill, "so, I think obviously it's weighing on these families minds and I think we've got to clarify the record as to how big the problem is and what we can do going forward...at a minimum we owe the families that."

As chairman of the contracting oversight committee, McCaskill says the record mix-ups could affect Missouri families but at this point, there's no telling how many plots were mismanaged until a review of the entire cemetery takes place.

McCaskill said, "What that five million dollars was supposed to buy was a very straightforward and simple software system that would keep track of who was buried where and that clearly has failed so we did not get anything for our investment in that software system and that's one of the things we've got to figure out is what did they do with that money...because this is not complicated."

McCaskill also said she would be surprised if the problem didn't stretch across Arlington Cemetery and even to the graves of soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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