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 "Afghanistan":

"… e more” for what’s being sold under the label “Strong Naan.” …"

"… e soybean production. Soybeans are now no more a viable commercial crop in Afghanistan than they were in 2010, when the $34 million program got started, accordin …"

"… r shortcomings of the estimated $120 billion U.S. reconstruction effort in Afghanistan, including what many experts depict as ignorance of Afghan traditions, mis …"

"… has calculated precisely how much the United States wasted or misspent in Afghanistan, but a special congressionally-chartered group known as the Commission on …"

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 "Afghanistan":

"… wed optimism that America’s estimated $120 billion effort to reconstruct Afghanistan will leave behind “a stable and secure country that serves the prosperit …"

"… ion. The officers concluded in a report for the Joint Chiefs of Staff that Afghanistan’s ability to serve its citizens’ needs remains directly threatened by …"

"… y for those involved; Washington made the problem worse by inundating Afghanistan with more cash than it could absorb in legitimate channels to undertake ne …"

"… ng a year ago from the outgoing head of the multilateral military force in Afghanistan, Marine Corps Gen. John Allen. According to the report, Allen told the pre …"

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 "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 …"

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 …"

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 "Afghanistan":

"… litary contract workers, are mounting steadily due to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In a memorandum to Deputy Secretary of Labor Seth Harris last April, Chi …"

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 "Afghanistan":

"… invasion of Iraq; men and women from the 4th brigade are still toiling in Afghanistan. At least 370 troops from Fort Campbell have died in the wars that followe …"

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

"… s at the Christian County Chamber of Commerce, whose husband is serving in Afghanistan, says the region has become accustomed to big economic fluctuations coinci …"

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 "Veteran":

"… 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 …"

"… ust one shipment worth about $210,000. Another charity, Help Hospitalized Veterans of Winchester, Calif., spent only 25 cents of every dollar it raised on a …"

"… ntil early 2012. She is now president of the Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Community Services, a program of Easter Seals. Disabled Veterans Service …"

"… tary and Veterans Community Services, a program of Easter Seals. Disabled Veterans Service, for example, which until recently operated out of a single room …"

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 "Veteran":

"… ed positive for military sexual trauma (MST) once back home, Department of Veterans Affairs records show. And this may understate the crisis, experts say, be …"

"… le the Veteran was serving on active duty or active duty for training.” Veterans can seek a disability compensation rating for MST and the related effects …"

"… ed. Despite this, Amanda Schroeder, a union president for employees of the Veterans Benefits Administration in Portland, Ore., said MST claims are complicate …"

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 "Veteran":

"… re?” some gray-haired male Veterans in Akron, Ohio, at the Department of Veterans Affairs asked as they sized up her petite frame. “Did you sell Girl Sco …"

"… ” said John Pickens III, a Vietnam Veteran and the executive director of VeteransPlus, a nonprofit offering financial counseling to service members. A wom …"

"… lt learners,” said Rachel Anderson, director of the Center for Adult and Veteran Services at Kent State University. The Independent Budget — an annual V …"

"… y and continue her military career. According to the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), many women carry the burden of caring for children whi …"

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 "Veteran":

"… uated, much less whether they stayed in school. Neither the Department of Veterans Affairs nor other agencies maintains data that tracks retention and gradu …"

"… st-9/11 GI Bill,” said Michael Dakduk, executive director of the Student Veterans of America, a Washington, D.C.-based organization. "It's an investment in …"

"… overseas — unless we can prove a return on investment.” The Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008, designed to provide an education to t …"

"… ans are receiving for the government's substantial investment.” Student Veterans of America is pursuing a more proactive role. In January, the organizatio …"

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 "Veteran":

"… cs and Excellence in Journalism Foundation Fellows for News21 this summer. …"

"… cceptable,” Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., chairman of the House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs, told an American Legion conference in Washington earlier this …"

"… it isn’t getting any better.” A 2007 law required the Department of Veterans Affairs to increase its suicide prevention efforts. In response to the Jo …"

"… o increase its suicide prevention efforts. In response to the Joshua Omvig Veteran Suicide Prevention Act — named for an Iraq war Veteran who committed sui …"

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 "Veteran":

"… gs, and now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. The Department of Veterans Affairs pays him $10,000 every month for his disability, his caretakers, …"

"… ooking at the moment, but which will hit in 30, 40, 50 years from now.” Veterans like Hancock with polytraumatic injuries will require decades of costly r …"

"… e recommended 14 days for their appointments, the OIG reported last year. Veterans have complained for many years about long wait times to schedule appointm …"

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 "Afghanistan":

"… the toxic chemical, Agent Orange. In addition, more than 830,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans returning home had filed claims as of March 2013, according t …"

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

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

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 "Veteran":

"… aumatic brain injuries, physical disabilities and military sexual trauma. Veterans who survived Taliban and al Qaida attacks, roadside bombs, mortar fire an …"

"… ically, more than two-thirds of the claims processors in the Department of Veterans Affairs collected more than $5.5 million in bonuses. Claims workers were …"

"… al documents and medical records, all of which received zero points on the Veterans Benefits Administration performance evaluation for processors until Decem …"

"… e to stabilize their lives and help them readjust for many years to come. Veterans told News21 that the collateral consequences of PTSD, financial instabili …"

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 "Veteran":

"… months.   Titled  “Back Home: The Challenges Facing Post-9/11 Veterans Returning from the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,”  this series of …"

"… ning Veterans, highlighting the bureaucratic failures of the Department of Veterans Affairs to process disability and assistance claims in a timely fashion, …"

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 …"

The huge drone that could not be grounded

By Richard H.P. Sia and Alexander Cohen

A major defense contractor used its connections on Capitol Hill to keep a troubled drone aircraft aloft at a cost of billions of dollars.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Afghanistan":

"… ed to war zones, Global Hawks were pressed quickly into service over Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, the Horn of Africa, Japan and Haiti while still technically under …"

Security lapse provokes new criticism of huge role played by costly intelligence contractors

By Richard H.P. Sia

The number of intelligence contractors must come down, a key Senator says.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Afghanistan":

"… ” to reduce the size of the contractor workforce as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were ending. Clapper, an Air Force lieutenant general who retired in 1995 …"

OPINION: health reform to be political fodder in 2014

By Wendell Potter

Will implementation of health care act result in 'train wreck'?

Excerpts from this story referencing "Afghanistan":

"… he war in Iraq is over and most American troops are scheduled to be out of Afghanistan by the end of next year. The GOP appears to have lost the advantage to Dem …"

Government auditor challenges White House account of Afghanistan security

By Richard H.P. Sia

A special inspector general discloses that as US forces head for the exit, the Pentagon has not met its goal for enlarging the Afghan force

Excerpts from this story referencing "Afghanistan":

"… e highest level,” GAO said. …"

"… report this week by the government’s top watchdog over U.S. spending in Afghanistan casts doubt on whether the U.S.-led coalition and the Afghan government ha …"

"… ree more years, to allow continued progress toward a secure environment in Afghanistan,” it said. But on Tuesday, Special Inspector for Afghanistan Reconstruc …"

"… ronment in Afghanistan,” it said. But on Tuesday, Special Inspector for Afghanistan Reconstruction John F. Sopko challenged this rosy assessment, which W …"