A long-term blank check for 'war' spending

By Julia Harte

In the federal budget, emergency spending for combat operations is the new normal.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Defense Department":

"… troops deployed in Afghanistan is shrinking faster than OCO spending. The Defense Department’s budget request for 2015 anticipated that troop levels in Afghanistan w …"

"… guidance quickly and set a deadline for completing the shift. Although the Defense Department promised to provide such guidance by the end of July 2014, it has not yet …"

"… ussed at length throughout the ongoing budget process,” said Bill Urban, Defense Department spokesman, in an emailed comment. He declined to elaborate. New programs&n …"

"… iny Moreover, the OCO budget isn’t a fiscal salve only once a year. The Defense Department comptroller can — and often does — ask the House and Senate committees …"

Smoke, odors and drifting foam in Fort Worth suburb stir frustration over fracking

By Jamie Smith Hopkins

Some residents of the Fort Worth suburb of Mansfield are arguing for stricter local regulation of hydraulically fractured wells.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Texas Commission on Environmental Quality":

"… , bringing the complex to the entire neighborhood’s attention. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, known as the TCEQ, sent investigators several times in response to compla …"

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 "Iraqi Army":

"… d 2013. His April 2008 quarterly report noted that attrition rates for the Iraqi Army were around 3.6 percent per month — but he also cited Defense Department …"

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 "Thomas Moore":

"… 2013, the senior Senate staff member in charge of that review process was Thomas Moore on the Foreign Relations committee, who said the experience made him wary …"

Marine Corps settles dispute with whistleblower

By Julia Harte

Scientific adviser Franz Gayl, whose protests forced the Corps to buy costly MRAPs, is appointed to a new commission on whistleblowers.

Excerpts from this story referencing "lawyer":

"… ances were not fully restored. In a Sept. 25 statement issued through his lawyer, Gayl said “this resolution not only vindicates me but also my loyalty a …"

Children's rights groups urge Defense program to stop giving school cops military hardware

By Susan Ferriss

Groups trying to curb use of police in school discipline urge federal officials not give military weapons to campus police departments.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Education":

"… said the protest letter, signed by the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Education Fund and public-interest law groups Texas Appleseed of Austin, Texas, and …"

"… litary hardware for school police include the Children’s Law Center, the Education Law Center, the National Center for Youth Law, the Advancement Project — …"

The 47-year-old nuclear elephant in the room

By Douglas Birch and R. Jeffrey Smith

A growing number of U.S. experts say that feigning ignorance about Israel’s nuclear arsenal creates more trouble than it averts.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Richard Nixon":

"… evidently grew out of a September 1969 meeting between President Richard Nixon and Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. No transcript of the meeting has su …"

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 "PAC":

"… ly about half of these ads. Nominally independent groups — such as super PACs and politically active nonprofits — are responsible for most of the res …"

"… ation. On the left, the TV ad wars have been dominated by Senate Majority PAC, a super PAC, and Patriot Majority USA, a nonprofit led by a longtime ally …"

"… e left, the TV ad wars have been dominated by Senate Majority PAC, a super PAC, and Patriot Majority USA, a nonprofit led by a longtime ally of Senate Ma …"

"… d “dark money” abounds: Of these five groups, only the Senate Majority PAC must regularly disclose its donors to the Federal Election Commission. The …"

Firearms used in homicides often purchased illegally

By Kelsey Jukam, Aaron Maybin and Jordan Rubio

A News21 analysis of the FBI’s national database of supplementary homicide reports found that across the country, 17,422 black men between a

Excerpts from this story referencing "General Motors":

"… nd violence stem from drugs, a lack of education, and a lack of jobs. When General Motors and other factories left, the city’s fall from grace came shortly after. …"

White House faces Democratic Senate revolt over nuclear security cuts

By James Arkin

Members of the Senate are asking Obama to increase spending to secure global nuclear weapons stocks

Excerpts from this story referencing "Iraq":

"… nt and Budget Director Shaun Donovan. “The recent spate of terrorism in Iraq, Pakistan, and Kenya is a harrowing reminder of the importance of ensuring …"

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 …"

Nuclear weapons lab employee fired after publishing scathing critique of the arms race

By Douglas Birch

Los Alamos lets a 17-year employee go after retroactively classifying his published article.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Washington":

"… Jeffrey Smith contributed to this article. …"

"… exico lab. But he says he believes the sudden firing was instead part of a Washington-inspired campaign of retribution for his refusal to stay on message and su …"

"… ts at the nonprofit National Security Archive, affiliated with George Washington University. “We have a bunch of postings on our site [referring to Israe …"

"… he said, he got a call from the lab’s top government relations office in Washington, Patrick Woehrle, a former congressional staffer who had worked closely wi …"

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 "media":

"… systematic investigations and announcing our findings to the national news media could actually lead to media coverage and to systemic change. We were sta …"

"… announcing our findings to the national news media could actually lead to media coverage and to systemic change. We were starting to be noticed. At the s …"

"… re in for-profit newsrooms, because today’s advertising-supported, major-media journalists are generally expected to run full-speed on “the hamster whe …"

"… indings. The Center no longer has to depend solely on coverage by the news media to inform the public about its findings; now the organization is reporting …"

Finding the truth in 935 lies about war with Iraq

By Bill Buzenberg

New book from Center's founder discusses the orchestrated deception that led to war in Iraq, and what it means for the future of truth.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Iraq":

"… nter published in January 2008, five years after the start of the war with Iraq. It was called Iraq: The War Card: Orchestrated Deception on the Path …"

"… 2008, five years after the start of the war with Iraq. It was called Iraq: The War Card: Orchestrated Deception on the Path to War. Working wit …"

"… mation coming from top government officials leading up to the start of the Iraq war in March of 2003. The project overview is called False Pretenses. …"

"… lying realities.” The realities he found in regard to misinformation on Iraq were stunning. “Our report found that in the two years after the terrori …"

Japan could be building an irresistible terrorist target, experts say

Japan has balked at U.S. security advice for its nuclear plants.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Vienna":

"… tempts by insiders. Asked for comment, Gill Tudor, an IAEA spokeswoman in Vienna, did not dispute the one percent error estimate, which experts say is stan …"

"… f 65 overhead and underwater video cameras watched at IAEA headquarters in Vienna. To guard against sabotage, Iwamoto said that the plant was preparing to i …"

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 "president":

"… asked for more than $1 million in additional funding for the judges in the president’s 2014 budget. But there’s no guarantee the money will come. Paul Map …"

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 "Eric Cantor":

"… evenly on the reform. The top-ranking members of each party to cast votes, Eric Cantor and Nancy Pelosi, supported the proposal and went down in defeat. The …"

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 "Washington":

"… pbell for 30 years as part of the army logistical unit, says the cuts from Washington have damped morale in the town and disrupted normal life. She did not take …"

"… ilies and the staff who supported them has been rewarded with a wound from Washington. “Sequestration is a bad deal. I don’t know why it hasn’t been repea …"

Russian site eyed for Syrian chemical weapons destruction

By R. Jeffrey Smith

There’s a reason why Western officials are being nice to Moscow now — they want Russia to destroy Syria’s deadly arsenal on its own soil.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Moscow":

"… ions-organized probe undermine several hypotheses advanced by officials in Moscow and elsewhere who disputed Western intelligence claims that the Syrian reg …"

"… me. But neither she, nor the British and French ambassadors, assailed Moscow directly.Secretary of State John Kerry, whom Russian president Vladimir Pu …"

"… ans to do just that, according to U.S. and allied officials, but until now Moscow has shown little enthusiasm for the task. The officials, speaking on condi …"

"… e Syrian arsenal. It’s located at Shchuch’ye, 1,000 miles southeast of Moscow, where its employees have been destroying Russia’s own stocks of VX and …"

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 "Columbia Law School":

"… rth billions of dollars,” said Cindy Lott, lead counsel for a program at Columbia Law School that provides legal research and education to state attorneys general abou …"

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 "Chellie Pingree":

"… not all maintained in one place,” Schroeder said. Because of this, Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, introduced the 2013 Ruth Moore Act, which aims to make it easier …"

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 "Department of Veterans Affairs":

"… ou do over there?” 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 Scout cookie …"

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 …"

Is the Veterans Affairs Dept. too stringent on veteran-owned companies?

By Steven Rich

News21 investigation details the complex verification process for contracts aimed at veteran-owned companies.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Iraq":

"… sonnel. Robert Doyle, a sergeant first class in the Army during a tour in Iraq, returned in late 2007 as a 100 percent service-disabled veteran. For his …"

"… ployment track for a year,” Doyle said in June. “Every single night in Iraq we wrote a check that was cashable to the enemy for our lives. So why can …"

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 "Centers for Disease Control and Prevention":

"… “almost impossible” until recent years, Kemp said, because the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not track veteran deaths and most veterans are not enrolled in the VA …"

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 "physician":

"… almost 99 percent” eventually are approved, he said. Benishek, who is a physician, has proposed that every service member gets a full audiology examination …"

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 "Health":

"… Lucht, program manager of the polytrauma center at the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System in Tucson. Each polytrauma patient costs the VA on average $1 …"

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 "Department of Veterans Affairs":

"… Not for my generation, but for future soldiers I don’t even know.” …"

"… y of personal health information between the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs.” In 2011, the DOD and VA decided the solution would be to create a sin …"

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 "Department of Veterans Affairs":

"… r than ever in recent years for their wartime disability compensation, the Department of Veterans Affairs gave its workers millions of dollars in bonuses for “excellent” perfor …"

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