The United States lost some 58,000 soldiers in the Vietnam War, and their names appear on the black memorial wall in Washington, D.C.
But more than four decades later, there still are some for whom there has been no accounting, and a prominent Washington watchdog wants to resolve the issue.
Judicial Watch said Tuesday it has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Defense Department seeing government records on the missing soldiers from 1973 to the present.
“The Vietnam MIA-POW issue is a sore spot for many veterans and concerned Americans. Why is the Pentagon stonewalling our attempts to obtain information that is clearly in the public interest?” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
The organization previously filed Freedom of Information Act requests, and the court case came about based on the government’s lack of response.
A May 21, 2018, request asked for lists of American prisoners of war or soldiers missing in action that were given to North Vietnam.
Also it asked for the materials used to brief President Nixon in 1973 about the missing soldiers.
A followup request asked for: all live-sighting reports of American POWs in Vietnam and Laos, satellite photographs of possible or suspected rescue symbols seen in the territories of Vietnam and/or Laos, and electronic messages containing individual code numbers issued to U.S. airmen transmitted from the ground in Vietnam and/or Laos.
Judicial Watch said the DoD confirmed receipt of the requests but said it would not be able to respond within the statutory time period because of the “unusual circumstances.”
So far, the federal agency has not produced the records or demonstrated that the records are exempt from disclosure.
Nor has it told Judicial Watch of the scope of any responsive records.