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By Richard Simon, Tribune Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — President Obama announced Friday that Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki has resigned amid a health-care scandal that had engulfed the agency.

Shinseki has been under fire over allegations that VA facilities manipulated records to hide long waits for medical care.

The retired four-star general, whom President Obama appointed to lead the VA in 2009, had asked for patience while the charges were investigated. But a scathing interim report by the VA inspector general found a “systemic” problem at VA facilities nationwide, leading to bipartisan congressional calls for his resignation.

Obama made the announcement in a statement from the White House after meeting with Shinseki. He said he had accepted Shinseki’s resignation “with regret” but agreed with him that it was time for new leadership at the VA.

“We don’t have time for distractions,” Obama said.

AFP Photo/Saul Loeb

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