In a first, NSA allows news cameras into Kunia facility. And vets aren’t happy.
HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - CBS News got a rare view of NSA Hawaii in Wahiawa, which opened in 2012.
It keeps an eye over America’s adversaries.
Capt. Kurt Mole, commander of NSA Hawaii, told CBS the top secret tour was a first for him.
“However, we recognize that transparency breeds trust,” he said.
But veterans who worked in the older NSA facility — the Kunia “Tunnel” Field Station near Schofield Barracks — years ago say they’re shocked the military is talking when they had to keep quiet.
“We can’t talk about what we did. We’ve been holding secrets for myself well over 31 years. I can’t tell anybody, my family anyone what I did,” said Matthew Lamb, a Kunia veteran who lives in Texas.
Lamb says the military is still ignoring the health claims of many Kunia veterans.
He says he has 23 medical conditions after working in the “Tunnel” in the mid 80s. The facility sits under old pineapple fields, and veterans believe they were exposed to toxic chemicals from the pesticides.
His wife, Donna, also worked in the “Tunnel” and died early after two bouts of cancer.
"I always felt like nobody in her family had this issue. I always felt like it was something going on with the situation. Here I am today a very sick person with a lot of health issues. I've got a lot of the same things going on with myself," said Lamb.
Kunia veteran Tara Lemieux is fighting to get the VA to compensate herself and other vets for toxic exposure at the old Kunia “Tunnel” Field Station.
"Not only are we discussing that these sites exist. We are discussing what occurs at these sites which is unprecedented," she said.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has a section of its website saying there were no health or environmental threats from the chemicals found in the soil at Kunia.
What’s made the Kunia veterans’ cases a challenge is that they’re from all branches of the military and are now scattered around the world, but the publicity has reinvigorated their efforts to find each other and settle their claims.
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