Sen. Johnson to DOD: Altering medical database without preserving records would 'mislead Congress'

Wisconsin lawmaker has been attempting to confirm that agency preserved numbers from Defense Medical Epidemiology Database that it now says had error

Updated: February 10, 2022 - 2:19pm

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GOP Sen. Ron Johnson is asking Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to confirm he has preserved records, per the Wisconsin senator's previous requests, from the department's Defense Medical Epidemiology Database.

Johnson sent the letter Tuesday, the third such he's sent on the matter.

The database, for a time, appeared to show a significant spike in the average number of U.S. troops diagnosed with miscarriages, myocarditis, cancer and other serious issues in 2021, as compared to the 2016-2020 period.

In his letter, Johnson points out that instead of responding to his initial Jan. 24 letter or one sent Feb. 1, the department instead released a statement to PolitiFact, in which it declared the massive spike in medical issues was the result of a database error. The database has since been taken down to identify and correct the problem, department officials said.

"I was disappointed to see that instead of immediately responding to the American people through their elected representative, DoD apparently decided to prioritize a response to PolitiFact about allegations relating to the same database," Johnson wrote.

Johnson is now attempting to ensure that the DMED records that he initially identified as suspicious have been preserved, despite the agency's claim that they are incorrect.

"Let me be clear, any attempt to alter data contained within DMED without preserving all records before and after these changes are made to the database will completely undermine my preservation request and will be considered an active effort to mislead Congress," Johnson wrote. 

The senator asked for a response from the department no later than Thursday.

On Wednesday, Army Maj. Charlie Dietz, an agency spokesman, told Breitbart that access to the DMED had been restored on Jan. 30, once the data was corrected, and that data "was backed up to meet record preservation request."