MIA Facts Site

Report of the
Senate Select Committee
POW-MIA Affairs:
Appendix 3


Prior Investigations

The Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs began its work in
October 1991 fully recognizing that the POW/MIA issue had been
examined and investigated by Congress and the Department of Defense
(DoD) many times over the last twenty years. The Select Committee
was determined to learn as much as possible from those previous
investigations, particularly in the early stages of our work, but
was equally determined to avoid the methodological mistakes and
issue-area omissions of those previous investigations. Most
importantly, we did not accept the findings or methodology of
previous investigations as valid for the purposes of our
investigation, nor did we limit the scope of our investigation as
many prior Congressional and Executive Branch investigations had.

In reviewing previous Congressional investigations of the POW/MIA
issue, we attempted to identify previous areas of inquiry and
omission. As a result we were able to focus the Committee's
efforts and resources on investigating topics which previous
investigations had been unable to reach as well as identifying
witnesses which the Committee wished to interview.

Our investigation has had several distinct advantages over previous
Congressional investigations. First, we were provided substantial
time (fifteen months) and resources ($2 million) to conduct our
investigation. Second, we have had better access to documents,
both classified and unclassified, than any previous investigation.
Third, we have enjoyed the advantage of a changing international
climate which has increased the level of cooperation from Southeast
Asia and the former Soviet Union. Fourth, we have been able to
interview and take oral depositions from individuals who have never
been called to testify before Congress on this issue. Fifth, we
have included every conceivable aspect of the POW/MIA issue in our

Below is a brief review of the scope, depth and general findings or
areas of inquiry of major previous Congressional and Executive
Branch investigations or oversight of POW/MIA matters. This brief
synopses of those inquiries should help distinguish this
committees work from past Congressional involvement with the
POW/MIA issue. Accompanying each investigation summary is a
critique of its strengths and weaknesses as seen with the benefit
of years of hindsight and the additional information available to,
or wider perspective obtained from, our own investigation.

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