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 "United States":

"… nsuring the validity of those self-reported assessments. In response, the United States Forces – Afghanistan wrote that ISAF would work to create an “overarch …"

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 "United States":

"… tured in at least 21 different countries, including China, Russia, and the United States. The group’s report, released Oct. 6, indicates that the Islamic State …"

"… s recovered from Islamic State forces. The third-highest supplier was the United States, with 323, the report said. Some of these shells, meant for M16A4 assault …"

"… s ownership or its work for the Pentagon. But he said, “There are many United States businesses, including wholesalers and manufacturers, that supply ammunitio …"

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 "Massachusetts":

"… heen will likely face former GOP Sen. Scott Brown, who briefly represented Massachusetts and has now gone north to the Granite State in a bid to reclaim his politi …"

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 "Barack Obama":

"… d dispatching more than 1,000 troops there as military advisers, President Barack Obama has sent U.S. forces back to a conflict that many Americans wanted to forg …"

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 "Kabul":

"… lace the auditors looked, the Afghan National Army Central Supply Depot in Kabul, the auditors looked at records for 4,388 small arms. But only 3,837 of th …"

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 "USD":

"… wal in Afghanistan Initiative, was overseen by the Agriculture Department (USDA) and implemented by the main trade association for the industry, the Amer …"

"… rs on the idea, and that it was not halted when problems were flagged in a USDA-financed review this February. “What is troubling about this particula …"

"… and would be reexamined before it is extended. But Food for Progress, the USDA program financing the soybean project, has a broader history of mismanage …"

"… mismanagement and oversight failings, according to a March 2014 report by USDA Assistant Inspector General for Audit Gil H. Harden. The program has “ …"

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 "Afghanistan":

"… Windfalls of War,” which examined the major US government contracts in Afghanistan and Iraq, definitively revealing Halliburton and its subsidiary, Kellogg, …"

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 "Kabul":

"… tral Command to stop relying on Kam Air, a privately-held airline based in Kabul, due to its alleged involvement in opium smuggling was quickly reversed, 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 "Afghanistan":

"… ates. 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 …"

"… oops to read and write in either Dari or Pashto, the official languages of Afghanistan. Officials with the training program told the auditor last October that 2 …"

"… total of $200 million over four years. Two of the contractors are based in Afghanistan and one, headquartered in Florida, is led by retired U.S. Army officers. …"

"… spond to the report, Major Doug McNair, a training mission spokesperson in Afghanistan, wrote in an email that “literacy training must be balanced against …"

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 "Obama":

"… hed with Foreign Policy. …"

"… attering light on the costly U.S. effort, which is now winding down as the Obama administration prepares to pull additional troops from the country. From …"

"… d Province, the principal locus of the U.S. miltary’s “surge” during Obama’s first term. This grim news is a boon to the Taliban, which is now dra …"

"… fghanistan now produces more than 80 percent of the world's opium. But the Obama administration seems uninterested in shifting course. Its spending on the …"

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 "Judge":

"… ch, the Labor Department’s already-weakened Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ) took a 5-percent hit from congressionally mandated budget cuts kno …"

"… cent hit from congressionally mandated budget cuts known as sequestration. Judges were told to expect furloughs. For Pulver, that was it. He decided to le …"

"… In a memorandum to Deputy Secretary of Labor Seth Harris last April, Chief Judge Stephen Purcell wrote that staff cuts — not only Judges but also law cle …"

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 "AIG":

"… ngshore claim in May 2010. SEII’s insurer, Chartis, a subsidiary of AIG, contested it, denying that the lung and heart problems Ratliff had develo …"

"… pree, representing Ratliff’s estate, and Chartis — now known simply as AIG — settled the case for $75,000, which went to Bouhout, Ratliff’s named …"

"… ly payments — now up to $1,180 — from his former employer’s insurer, AIG, which also must pay for doctor visits and medication. In August, a lawye …"

"… h also must pay for doctor visits and medication. In August, a lawyer for AIG filed a petition for modification with the Labor Department, saying a “m …"

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 "America":

"… hase most food aid in the regions that receive it, the U.S. buys food from American farms, ships it on American vessels, and gives away much of the goods fre …"

"… gions that receive it, the U.S. buys food from American farms, ships it on American vessels, and gives away much of the goods free of cost for humanitarian g …"

"… different,” said Gawain Kripke, policy director for the aid group Oxfam America, which advocated in favor of the amendment. “We never really had a …"

"… pproached, the shipping unions told Congress that the reform would destroy American jobs and gut the nation’s military sealift capacity. Their message was …"

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 "Kentucky":

"… history of U.S. warfare. The sprawling military base, which straddles the Kentucky-Tennessee border, was home to the special forces unit that helped raid Osa …"

"… ntrol Act of 2011 that established the cuts. In the borderland of western Kentucky and central Tennessee, those federal dollars flow into local businesses an …"

"… percent from 9.1 percent as sequestration took hold. In Christian county, Kentucky, the jobless rate rose 2.4 percentage points to 13.2 percent over the 12 m …"

"… s home states, including Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader from Kentucky. President Obama signed the bill that set sequestration in motion in Augu …"

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 "Kabul":

"… to reduce “pervasive corruption.” But it found that U.S. diplomats in Kabul lack a formal plan laying out the strategic goals and benchmarks needed …"

"… nd businesses. Instead of pursuing the 2010 strategy, the U.S. embassy in Kabul told auditors that it has set up three working groups on corruption under …"

"… ing to create a strong financial sector following the 2010 collapse of the Kabul Bank. In March, the bank’s founder and 20 others were convicted on charg …"

"… gather intelligence, according to media reports. When auditors asked the Kabul embassy what the three anti-corruption working groups had accomplished, So …"

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 "GuideStar":

"… etter about pointing to impact,” said Lindsay Nichols, a spokeswoman for GuideStar USA, which provides information about charities. The IRS’s exempt organ …"

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 "advocate":

"… . “The assault itself is very traumatizing,” said Jennifer Norris, an advocate with the Military Rape Crisis Center who was assaulted while serving with …"

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 "Air Force":

"… n 2009, women made up 19.5 percent of officers and enlisted members in the Air Force, but only 6.4 percent of all Marines, according to the Pew Research Center …"

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 "Afghanistan":

"… e Post-9/11 GI Bill has paid for nearly 1 million veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to go to school at a cost of about $30 billion since 2009, but the fe …"

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 "Afghanistan":

"… n Portland, Ore., working as a supply-chain analyst. He served in Iraq and Afghanistan as an Army specialist and was discharged in 2007. One of his close friends …"

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 "associate director":

"… uch as the HLAA and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Army Col. Vickie Tuten, associate director for the Hearing Center of Excellence, and Kyle Dennis, the VA representati …"

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 "injuries":

"… ans’ disability ratings and the compensation they will receive for their injuries. Stacks of paper files — including veterans’ evidence from DOD of thei …"

"… — including veterans’ evidence from DOD of their military service and injuries — sit at VA regional offices waiting to be processed instead of being re …"

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 "Seattle":

"… nything more or anything less. It’s up to them.” Fran Lynch, a former Seattle claims processor and exam consultant, said the VA built a “wall of separ …"

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 "America":

"… o deploys overseas … there’s a disconnection.” …"

"… veterans, said Mike Salois a regional executive director the Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio, which provides housing for homeless veterans in Ohio. “ …"

"… m … they are not knowing how to cope with putting that off any more.” America’s post-9/11 veterans are the most diverse group of soldiers in the natio …"

"… f the population.” “That means,” he told News21, that 99 percent of Americans “don’t know what a family is going through, don’t know what a mili …"

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 "Journalism":

"… as the News 21 website. News 21 is based at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. Former Washington Post …"

"… Knight Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, the Hearst Foundations, the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, Wom …"