It was Drew Griffin’s reporting that broke the lid off the scandal at the VA hospitals, ultimately leading to the resignation of Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki Friday.
The CNN correspondent and his team have been working the story since last November, beginning with vetting the complaints of Phoenix VA hospital whistleblower, Dr. Samuel Foote. “You really have to vet them very carefully,” Griffin told us in an interview Friday, noting that whisteblowers can often be vindictive and have impure motives.
As for the delayed reaction from the White House over the scandal, Griffin says he was “flabbergasted” by the president’s lack of awareness of the widespread fraud and abuse.
“I was confused by his [the president’s] statements prior because he didn’t seem to absorb the enormity of the problem.”
“It’s really up to the media now to not take its foot off the gas pedal,” Griffin said, especially once the scandal falls off the front page.
“CNN has told me since I’ve gotten here 10 years ago, ‘go out and find crap, dig it up, and put it on the air.’ We do a ton of stories here that I think are unbelievably important. I have never lost faith in what CNN has done, or can do.”