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 "Middle East":

"… ependent arms monitoring group has collected evidence that fighters in the Middle Eastern extremist group known as the Islamic State, labeled a “network of dea …"

"… ly from the companies and dealers that routinely profit from strife in the Middle East. Experts say the fact that the armaments have such disparate sources — …"

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 "American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees":

"… e auspices of the Senate Majority PAC, as well as labor unions such as the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and Service Employees International Union. A super PAC supporting Land — …"

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 "Obama":

"… d be nearly a third of the total. A special auditor appointed by President Obama the following year said he discovered nearly $7 billion worth of Afghanist …"

"… ministrator of the Foreign Agricultural Service, who signed it. She’s an Obama political appointee and former registered lobbyist for the International D …"

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 "Russia":

"… we found ourselves being sued in U.S. district court in Washington by two Russian billionaire oligarchs represented by the powerful D.C. law firm of Akin G …"

"… iaries of Cheney’s influence-peddling were the powerful owners of one of Russia’s biggest banks. OAO Alfa Bank v. Center for Public Integrity was …"

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 "Obama":

"… co-published with Slate, Business Insider, and Globalpost. …"

"… no oversight or alignment with other … [U.S. government] efforts.” Obama heard some of this bad news directly in an exit briefing a year ago from t …"

"… o Afghanistan.” Allen’s assessment was in some ways unsurprising: The Obama administration is considering an accelerated drawdown of forces there — …"

"… Western authority assuming overarching responsibility for the problem. As Obama administration officials flirted with taking a more aggressive stance, Afg …"

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 "NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan":

"… orce, the report indicates. These conclusions conflict with claims by the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan to the auditor last October that the U.S.-led alliance was on tr …"

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 "chief":

"… y fields, drug labs, and opium bazaars,” Drug Enforcement Administration chief of operations James L. Capra said in written testimony to the caucus. Sop …"

"… as formulated after a 2009 visit to Afghanistan by the Pentagon’s policy chief Michelle Flournoy, who warned Secretary of Defense Robert Gates that only …"

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 "Labor Department":

"… years,” Pulver, 63, said in a telephone interview. Then, last March, the Labor Department’s already-weakened Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ) took a 5-p …"

"… requests from the Center for Public Integrity. In a written statement, the Labor Department said it is “very concerned with the budget situation for all its program …"

"… rloughs imposed on the judges this year as a result of sequestration. The Labor Department, Mapes argues, could have found better targets for budget-cutting than the …"

"… April memo to deputy secretary Harris, chief judge Purcell noted that the Labor Department planned to boost spending on enforcement of whistleblower and wage-and-hou …"

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 "Afghanistan":

"… own as the merchant marine out of business. Advocates say that in Iraq and Afghanistan, 90 percent of shipping supplies were carried by the merchant marine.  …"

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 "Afghanistan":

"… y, the Pentagon has successfully exported its spare parts mismanagement to Afghanistan. It seems that a multinational, U.S.-led military office called the Combin …"

"… , U.S.-led military office called the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan spent $370 million from 2004 through the middle of this year on spare part …"

"… e spare parts, according to an Oct. 16 report by the Special Inspector for Afghanistan Reconstruction. Not only that, the multinational office ordered another $ …"

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 "Middle East":

"… town a decade ago when the entire 101st airborne division deployed to the Middle East, Jenkins says. Family members moved back to their hometowns. Still, the re …"

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 "director":

"… sults — are they significant?” asked Kimberly Mitchell, who was deputy director of the Office of Warrior and Family Support for the chairman of the Joint …"

"… ommon for a charity to be audited by the IRS,” said Marcus Owens, former director of the IRS’ exempt organizations division. “There usually has to be so …"

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 "Afghanistan":

"… istry itself. …"

"… of financial assistance to the country. The funds are being disbursed to Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health for doctor’s salaries, immunizations, pren …"

"… rms in a Sept. 5 audit by John F. Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction — have warned agency officials that the aid was at r …"

"… n who is the assistant to the administrator in the agency's office of Afghanistan and Pakistan affairs, acknowledged that the health ministry “does not ha …"

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 "Afghanistan":

"… this summer. …"

"… help. Young female veterans — those returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — often don’t show up for their first VA appointments, if they show up …"

"… health clinic in Germany and prepared soldiers to be deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. She also comforted families who lost soldiers in the war. But back home …"

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 "Pew Research Center":

"… rs in the Air Force, but only 6.4 percent of all Marines, according to the Pew Research Center. Now, Siska’s working on a biochemistry degree at Kent State University …"

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 "University of Massachusetts":

"… eed that face-to-face explanation.” Now a criminal-justice major at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, Lanteri said he’s more focused on finishing his degree. “Beca …"

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 "Suicide":

"… se its Suicide prevention efforts. In response to the Joshua Omvig Veteran Suicide Prevention Act — named for an Iraq war veteran who committed Suicide in …"

"… edgy feelings while being easily startled, according to the SAMHSA report. Suicide warning signs including feelings of being hopeless, out of control, angry …"

"… te vital statistics showed they represented about 23 percent of Suicides. Suicide rates within the veteran population often were double and sometimes triple …"

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 "Afghanistan":

"… th 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, with the veterans …"

"… ing to the VA budget. Like Hancock, many veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have survived multiple combat injuries because of military medicine’s hi …"

"… analyzed the medical costs of war through 2035. More than half of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are between the ages of 18 and 32, according to 2011 American Com …"

"… eir numbers are growing at the fastest rate. Fifty-six percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans use the VA now. and their numbers are expected to grow by 9.6 per …"

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 "Afghanistan":

"… 000 service members who will make their way home within the next year from Afghanistan. Nor does it include veterans who have yet to file disability claims. Tho …"

"… or chronic back pain. All are common among veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2012, the average time a claim waited for evidence to be processed …"

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 "Oakland":

"… ry, gave bonuses averaging $1,100 each to 40 percent of its workforce. The Oakland, Calif., office, which shut its doors to retrain underperforming employees …"

"… x Falls, S.D., claims workers processed claims four times faster than both Oakland and Baltimore but less than one in 10 there received extra pay last year. …"

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 "Afghanistan":

"… disconnection.” …"

"… d dramatically during his tenure.   Stephen Leon served two tours in Afghanistan and won the Army Commendation Medal for valor after a firefight with three …"

"… d PTSD. When he returned home July 2011, Leon couldn’t get his mind off Afghanistan, the battles and the friends he lost. “You’re used to a life of being …"

"… e those memories anymore,” said Clinton Hall, 35, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan as an infantryman and now lives in Portland, Ore.  His friend and fel …"

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 "S. and James L. Knight Foundation":

"… larger story of systemic failures.  News 21 is supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundat …"

Talk instead of development in Afghanistan

By Rebecca LaFlure

Millions for chats instead of grants.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Afghanistan":

"… ot helpful.” …"

"… tives or constituents,” according to a new Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR)  report on the program. The Stability in …"

"… ostly on difficulties reaching a written agreement on the program with the Afghanistan government. ------------------------- Don’t miss a single Center for Pu …"

"… the program must first build up local governments in challenging areas of Afghanistan — a process that does not happen overnight. “It’s not like peo …"