Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama first learned through news reports on CNN about accusations that officials at a Veterans Affairs medical facility in Phoenix had allegedly used fraudulent lists to conceal wait times for veterans receiving care, a top White House spokesman said Monday.
"If you mean the specific allegations that I think were first reported by your network out of Phoenix I believe, we learned about them through the reports," White House press secretary Jay Carney said in reference to CNN's story on April 23.
While maintaining the President did not know about the accusations of fake patient lists, Carney stressed Obama has been aware of the general problem of long wait times and inadequate care at Veterans Affairs facilities for several years.
In 2007, then-Sen. Obama of Illinois vowed to tackle the issue and build a "21 century VA to serve our veterans" at a campaign event during his first run for the presidency.
"When a veteran is denied care, we are all dishonored," Obama said in the August 2007 speech. "It's not enough to lay a wreath on Memorial Day, or to pay tribute to our veterans in speeches," he added.
Carney said the President continues to have confidence in embattled VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. But the White House spokesman cautioned there may be additional consequences for officials who are deemed responsible for delays in veterans' care caused by concealed lists in the system.
"Accountable individuals must be held to account," Carney said.
The President has not publicly addressed the controversy in nearly three weeks since he first commented on the matter during a trip to Asia.
Carney hinted that may likely change this week. "I'm sure you'll hear from him on this issue soon," Carney said.
The Washington Times reported Monday that in late 2008 the Obama-Biden transition team was told about wait time issues at VA medical facilities.
Carney insisted the Obama administration addressed those concerns by securing budget increases for veterans care.
"We asked for and received from Congress significant increases in the Veterans Affairs budget. In the meantime, we saw an increase, obviously, in the number of veterans demanding services from the V.A. because of the long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq," Carney said.