NATO suddenly classifies ratings of Afghan military and police capabilities

By Julia Harte

NATO abruptly classifies assessments of Afghan army and police, which the U.S. spent billions building up.

Excerpts from this story referencing "International Security Assistance Force":

"… eir current withdrawal from Afghanistan’s Helmand province, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan abruptly classified its assessment of the fighting a …"

Investigators find Islamic State used ammo made in 21 countries, including America

By Julia Harte and R. Jeffrey Smith

A new report from an arms tracking group highlights how easily munitions shipped to the Middle East shift from one owner to another.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Lt. Gen.":

"… ons like M16s. “You gotta accept some risk in this,” said retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Barbero, who directed the training and equipping of Iraqi police a …"

Afghan government can’t account for billions of dollars in Pentagon aid

By James Arkin

Military officials did not hold Afghanistan accountable for mismanaging the disbursement of funds to the army and police.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Afghanistan":

"… ovided $3.3 billion in such aid between October 2010 and October 2013, yet Afghanistan’s government “lacked basic controls to provide reasonable assurance th …"

"… han’s security forces, known as the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, hasn’t penalized the local government for poor oversight or improper ha …"

"… ost workers.” Three years ago, the acting Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction first complained that the Afghan Ministry of Interior could …"

"… eign aid. In February of this year, current Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko reiterated those concerns in a letter to the com …"

Why Republican control of Congress hinges on nine big-money Senate races

By Michael Beckel and Dave Levinthal

Nine big-money Senate races will determine whether Republicans control both chambers of Congress.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Scott Brown":

"… Freshman Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen will likely face former GOP Sen. Scott Brown, who briefly represented Massachusetts and has now gone north to the Grani …"

Activists say gun debate overlooks gun-related deaths of children

By Kate Murphy and Jordan Rubio

An investigation found that at least 28,000 children and teens 19-years-old and younger were killed with guns in America over 10 years

Excerpts from this story referencing "Afghanistan":

"… ommunication at Arizona State University For every U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan during 11 years of war, at least 13 children were shot and killed in Ameri …"

U.S. now faces threat of U.S.-made weapons in Iraq

By Douglas Birch

Islamic State fighters seize U.S. military equipment in Iraq, become targets for U.S. warplanes.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Afghanistan":

"… back to a conflict that many Americans wanted to forget. In battles from Afghanistan to Iraq, the United States defeated conventional forces equipped mainly wi …"

U.S. loses track of weapons shipped to Afghanistan

By James Arkin

Three separate systems are used to track the arms sent to Afghanistan, but they are riddled with errors and not linked up.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Afghanistan":

"… bility.” …"

"… tem failed, according to a new report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, and for reasons that could easily have been foreseen. The …"

"… tates. The second is a Defense Department listing of all those received in Afghanistan. They rely heavily on the serial numbers of the arms. But these numbers m …"

"… were duplicates, according to the report by Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko.  More than 20,000 serial numbers in each …"

Afghans don’t like soybeans, despite a big U.S. push

By Alexander Cohen and James Arkin

Washington ignored warnings that Afghans were unlikely to embrace protein-rich soy products.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Virginia":

"… oject’s three country directors was hired, and Nuzum went to Portsmouth, Virginia, to celebrate the first shipment of 80 tons of American-made soy flour — …"

25 years, countless investigations and 935 lies

By Charles Lewis

Founder Chuck Lewis tells how the Center for Public Integrity came to be in this excerpt from his new book.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Charles Lewis":

"… reat if “we, the people” choose to demand it. This is an excerpt from Charles Lewis's new book 935 Lies: the Future of Truth and the Decline of America's …"

"… d the Decline of America's Moral Integrity, reprinted with permission from Charles Lewis and Public Affairs Books. Find out more at www.935lies.com. Some of t …"

U.S. military describes its mistakes in Afghanistan

By R. Jeffrey Smith

A report by the Joint Chiefs of Staff says that both military and civilian officials failed to tackle corrosive corruption.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Lt. Gen.":

"… t could. “We never really understood the problem … We were naïve,” Lt. Gen. Nick Carter, the Western forces’ deputy commander and incoming British A …"

U.S. literacy program for Afghan military comes up short

By Mattie Quinn and R. Jeffrey Smith

Auditor says a program in Afghanistan costing hundreds of millions of dollars has been undermined by poor contracts and weak monitoring.

Excerpts from this story referencing "U.S. military":

"… construction, John Sopko, an independent auditor. Moreover, the U.S. military’s stated goal of 100 percent of first grade literacy for the entire forc …"

"… iteracy rate among Afghan army recruits is even less — about 13 percent. U.S. military officers told the auditors that promoting literacy makes the Afghanis easi …"

Afghanistan's narcotics problems grow worse

By R. Jeffrey Smith and Mattie Quinn

A costly and ambitious U.S. effort to curtail Afghanistan's poppy production falters as U.S. forces draw down.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Afghanistan":

"… t sweeping goals for U.S. financial, military, and technical assistance to Afghanistan, including developing an economy there “that isn’t dominated by illici …"

"… o years, all that spending appears to have had little enduring impact, and Afghanistan’s prospects for finding its fiscal footing outside the drug trade are no …"

"… Caucus on International Narcotics Control on Jan. 15. “The situation in Afghanistan is dire with little prospect for improvement in 2014 or beyond,” Special …"

"… ospect for improvement in 2014 or beyond,” Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John F. Sopko told the caucus, recounting “the opinion of …"

Dwindling number of judges burdens workers

By Jim Morris

The number of judges overseeing a federal worker compensation program has fallen, even as worker caseloads rise.

Excerpts from this story referencing "West Coast":

"… ge may wait three years for an appeal to run its course, especially on the West Coast. In the meantime, it has to pay the ordered benefit. The three-year total: …"

Rising caseload, fewer Labor Department judges triggers painful mix for suffering laborers

By Jim Morris

A federal worker compensation program once viewed as a model now suffers rising caseloads — but fewer judges, triggering frustration.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Afghanistan":

"… had developed were work-related. Bouhout, who’d been driving a truck in Afghanistan, came back to Arizona in the summer of 2011. He and Ratliff worked togethe …"

"… imes he said he couldn’t find money to buy food.” Bouhout returned to Afghanistan in December 2011. Two months later, Ratliff was found dead in his home in …"

How shipping unions sunk food aid reform

By Sasha Chavkin

Maritime unions, shipping industry block reform to U.S. food aid distribution with campaign contributions.

Excerpts from this story referencing "United States":

"… hammer out a farm bill, they are likely to consider changes to the way the United States delivers food aid to hungry and impoverished nations. The debate will repr …"

"… t.” Currently, 80 percent of American food aid must be shipped from the United States. The proposed reform would have allowed the U.S.’s largest food aid prog …"

Exporting mismanagement to Afghanistan

By R. Jeffrey Smith

Auditors cannot account for many spare parts purchased for the Afghanistan Army.

Excerpts from this story referencing "John F. Sopko":

"… orders,” said the report, which was signed by special inspector general John F. Sopko. Nor could the office provide any documentation confirming that the Afghan …"

Sequestration nation: military communities feel nation's budget stress

By James Politi

Civilian Pentagon workers hit hard by sequestration-related cuts to federal budget.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Iraq":

"… ho stormed Normandy on D-day. Its troops helped lead the 2003 invasion of Iraq; men and women from the 4th brigade are still toiling in Afghanistan. At l …"

"… inancial outlook.” Some cuts occurred naturally as troops withdrew from Iraq and Afghanistan, meaning communities such as Fort Campbell had been grappl …"

Audit: U.S. lacks anti-corruption plan for Afghan aid

By Douglas Birch

Audit says U.S. lacks blueprint to assure Afghan assistance is well-spent

Excerpts from this story referencing "Afghanistan":

"… nated the Afghan public. John F. Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, released a report Wednesday warning that absent aggressive …"

"… U.N. report said it is “almost impossible to obtain a public service in Afghanistan without greasing a palm: bribing authorities is part of everyday life.” …"

"… authorities is part of everyday life.” Transparency International ranked Afghanistan with North Korea and Somalia in the cellar of its latest annual corruption …"

"… . report released in December found that the total value of bribes paid in Afghanistan shot up between 2009 and 2012, from $2.5 billion to $3.9 billion — repre …"

Some charities claiming to support veterans spend heavily on overhead instead

By Chad Garland and Andrew Knochel

News21 investigation finds that some charities supposedly supporting veterans actually spending more to keep their program alive.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Disabled Veterans Services":

"… veterans returned home from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a charity called Disabled Veterans Services of Pompano Beach, Fla., reported raising more than $8 million in cash and …"

"… land Center for Homeless Veterans can verify a gifts-in-kind donation from Disabled Veterans Services in 2009,” said Charlene Pontbriand, senior vice president for the nonpro …"

U.S. agency rejects internal warnings about potential waste in Afghanistan aid program

By R. Jeffrey Smith

USAID commissioned two reports that raised red flags about aid to Afghanistan’s Ministry of Health but decided to keep spending millions.

Excerpts from this story referencing "John F. Sopko":

"… in 2012 and 2013 — described in general terms in a Sept. 5 audit by John F. Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction — hav …"

One-fifth of female veterans from Iraq, Afghanistan show signs of sexual trauma

By Caitlin Cruz and Asha Anchan

News21 investigation reveals that the VA is struggling to deal with female vets who have been sexually assaulted.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Rape":

"… very traumatizing,” said Jennifer Norris, an advocate with the Military Rape Crisis Center who was assaulted while serving with the Air Force and Air N …"

Women veterans face stereotypes on and off the battlefield

By Asha Anchan, Kelsey Hightower and Caitlin Cruz

News21 investigation finds that more than a quarter-million post-9/11 veterans are women, but fair treatment is lacking.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Navy":

"… r two young children. Her goal is to go to medical school and serve in the Navy. “I want to be a career person and I want to accomplish things and feel …"

GI bill covered tuition for nearly a million post-9/11 veterans without tracking their progress

By Meg Wagner, Anthony Cave and Hannah Winston

News21 investigation finds that despite billions spent, no federal agency keeps track of veterans who use the GI Bill.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Florida":

"… rs also show that students in five states — California, Texas, Virginia, Florida and New York — have been granted the most GI Bill funds since August 200 …"

"… 7.8 billion, according to a News21 review. California, Texas, New York and Florida are the top four states with the most for the number of schools collecting …"

Suicide rate for veterans far exceeds that of civilian population

News21 investigation finds that veterans are taking their own lives more than twice as often as civilians.

Excerpts from this story referencing "depression":

"… ah National Center for Veterans Studies. Those factors include feelings of depression, hopelessness, post-traumatic stress disorder, a history of trauma and acc …"

"… r accidents — increase the risk of injury. “It turns up the volume on depression,” he said. In 2010, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki asked gover …"

Hearing loss widespread among post-9/11 veterans

By Kay Miller

News21 investigation finds that 414,000 post-9/11 veterans have returned home with hearing loss or "ringing in the ears."

Excerpts from this story referencing "Afghanistan":

"… on of what it takes to damage internal organs. Explosives used in Iraq and Afghanistan create pressure that exceeds 60 psi, according to VA audiology research. T …"

Health care costs will mushroom as injured veterans age

By Jessica Wilde

News21 investigation finds injured veterans returning from Iraq, Afghanistan will need costly care for decades.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Iraq":

"… t get a drink of water. Hancock, 27, joined the Army in 2004 and went to Iraq, where he drove a tank. On Memorial Day 2007 — one month after the birth …"

"… t of health care for the large number of post-9/11 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with life-lasting wounds. But it is certain to be high, wi …"

"… rsity and coauthor of "The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict." As veterans age, their injuries worsen over time, she said. Th …"

"… 3, according to the VA budget. Like Hancock, many veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have survived multiple combat injuries because of military …"

Veterans Affairs, Defense Depts. spend billions in effort to coordinate records

By Hannah Winston

News21 investigation finds Veterans Affairs, Defense departments dropped at least $1.3B on failed records system.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Congress":

"… ocessed instead of being readily accessible in electronic files. Although Congress repeatedly has demanded an “integrated” and “interoperable” electr …"

"… y, undersecretary of the Veterans Benefits Administration, told members of Congress there is an agreement in place requiring the DOD to provide “100-percent …"

Claims processors received bonuses while backlog more than doubled

By Mary Shinn, Daniel Moore and Steven Rich

Veterans Affairs processors shared millions in awards while claims piled high, News21 investigation finds.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Army":

"… e Boston office. Sean Meade was a National Guardsman who deployed with the Army to Iraq for a tour during 2006 and 2007. Claims processors denied his disa …"

"… ty compensation. Stephen Leon served two tours in Afghanistan and won the Army Commendation Medal for valor after a firefight with three suicide bombers …"

Post 9/11 veterans come home to a nation that cannot address their needs

By News21 Staff

News21 team investigates problems facing Iraq, Afghanistan veterans.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Ohio":

"… Salois a regional executive director the Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio, which provides housing for homeless veterans in Ohio. “And when you par …"

"… f America of Greater Ohio, which provides housing for homeless veterans in Ohio. “And when you particularly are already suffering from something on top …"

"… l the previous wars, they’re not set up to handle females,”  said Ohio Army National Guard veteran Crystal Sandor. “But we’ve been at this wa …"

Returning veterans focus of new series by investigative program, News 21

By Bill Buzenberg

Center and other publications to run reports from Arizona State University student journalists.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Congress":

"… that even though Republican and Democratic administrations, as well as the Congress, have mandated that these needs be addressed, veterans are still experienc …"

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