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FBI joins Army investigation at Arlington Cemetery
Wednesday - 6/29/2011, 5:56pm EDT
WASHINGTON (AP) - The FBI has joined Army agents investigating possible criminal practices at Arlington National Cemetery that may have surrounded the burial of eight sets of cremated human remains found in urns in a single grave.
Investigators are looking into whether there was contract fraud at the cemetery and whether burial reservations were made properly, Chris Grey, spokesman for the Army Criminal Investigation Command, said Wednesday.
A string of embarrassing revelations have come out about operations at the nation's most hallowed burial ground since the office of the Army's inspector general said last year it had found hundreds of discrepancies between burial maps and grave sites as well as a host of other problems. New leaders were brought in, a string of other problems were discovered, and graves have even been reopened as part of the probe.
Last week, it was revealed that 69 boxes of scanned records from Arlington, including personally identifying information like Social Security numbers, were found in a private storage facility, although Grey said Wednesday they've been unable to link the boxes to any criminality.
Grey said three of eight sets of remains have been identified and the remains of two have been re-interred at their families' request. Four sets can't be identified while the investigation on one continues, he said.
An assistant U.S. attorney has said the act of burying multiple urns in one grave did not in itself constitute a crime, but the incident is still part of the investigation into possible contract fraud and improper reservations, Grey told reporters at a news conference.
The Washington Post first reported Wednesday that the Justice Department has begun a broad criminal inquiry using the FBI and issuing subpoenas from a federal grand jury for witnesses and records.
AP Broadcast Correspondent Sagar Meghani contributed to this report.
(Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)