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WASHINGTON (AP) — Estimates of the number of graves potentially affected by mix-ups at Arlington National Cemetery grew to as many as 6,600 on Thursday, as the cemetery's former superintendent blamed his staff and a lack of resources for the scandal that forced his ouster.
John Metzler, who ran the famous military burial ground for 19 years, said he accepts "full responsibility" for the problems.
But he also rebutted some of findings of Army investigators. And he suggested cemetery employees were to blame for mix-ups because the system used to track grave sites relied mostly on a complicated paper trail vulnerable to error.
"Personally it is very painful for me that our team at Arlington did not perform all aspects of its mission to the high standard required," he told a Senate panel. He was subpoenaed to testify.
Metzler and his deputy, Thurman Higginbotham, were forced to retire after Army investigators found that as many as 211 graves were unmarked or misidentified.
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