Trump signs Tester’s bill into law
President Trump recently signed into law the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes U.S. Sen. Jon Tester’s Gary Deloney and John Olsen Toxic Exposure Declassification Act.
“This is a momentous day for John Olsen and all veterans who deserve accountability,” said Tester, ranking member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “Mr. Olsen and I have worked for years to get the records of his service declassified, and he will now be able to use his military records to apply for VA health care and benefits that he has fought so long for.”
“Finally! It’s taken a long time, but I’m happy that we’ve reached this point,” said Olsen. “I appreciate Jon Tester’s work to get my records declassified. We’ve finally gotten to the point we should have gotten to 50 years ago. There are a lot of people that will be excited to hear about this.”
Tester’s bipartisan Gary Deloney and John Olsen Toxic Exposure Declassification Act declassifies the records of Project SHAD (Shipboard Hazard and Defense), allowing Olsen to use his records to apply for VA disability benefits and care.
Olsen participated in Project SHAD in the mid-1960s. The classified project included a series of tests to gauge the vulnerability of naval vessels and personnel to chemical and biological attacks. During these tests Olsen was regularly exposed to highly toxic carcinogens, and has since battled cancer four times.
Because the records of Project SHAD have remained classified, the VA has denied Olsen his benefits and refused to administer care related to his exposure.