By LUCY MCCALMONT |
5/11/14 10:35 AM EDT
Addressing the scandal plaguing the Department of Veterans Affairs, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the backlog is an issue that should have been looked at "years ago."
"I don't think it just started with [Veterans Affairs Secretary] Gen. [Eric] Shinseki's term at the VA," Hagel said in an interview with ABC's Martha Raddatz that aired Sunday on "This Week." "This is something that should've been looked at years and years ago. So. yes, we missed it."
"It's not good enough, obviously, it has to be better," Hagel said, when asked about the reported five month average wait time for veterans. Still, Hagel said be supports Shinseki, who is facing calls for resignation, adding that "no one who understands accountability more than Shinseki."
"But there is no margin here," Hagel added. "If this in fact, or any variation of this, occurred all the way along the chain, accountability is going to have to be upheld here because we can never let this kind of outrage, if all of this is true, stand in this country."