Military crime lab's problems widen

WASHINGTON, May 16 (UPI) -- Problems at the U.S. military's crime lab are "systemic," a sailor's lawyer charges, and go far beyond the alleged misconduct of one analyst.

McClatchy Newspapers, which previously reported botched DNA tests and false statements by analyst Phillip Mills, reported Monday that firearms analyst Michael Brooks was fired for faking tests and destroying evidence.


And a fingerprint analyst at the Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory in Atlanta, which serves all the military branches, made errors in at least three cases, one involving murder, officials said.

Six discrimination or retaliation complaints have been filed against lab management in the past three years.

"The problem is not with just one person, but systemic," said David Sheldon, attorney for a Navy veteran who is appealing the lab's work to the Supreme Court. The lab "has had no oversight and one has to seriously question whether or not it can effectively police itself."

Last week, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, asked the Pentagon inspector general to investigate Mills.

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