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 "Afghanistan":

"… S. Marines and British military forces began their current withdrawal from Afghanistan’s Helmand province, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force …"

"… d province, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan abruptly classified its assessment of the fighting abilities of the Afghan …"

"… reconstruction effort that the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction by email that the latest ratings now are classified in thei …"

"… r an explanation. The change was flagged by Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko in his Oct. 2014 quarterly report released today …"

Pennsylvania super PAC gets 'dark money' infusion

By Michael Beckel

Nonprofit Green Orchard Inc. is listed as the sole donor to new Prosperity for Pennsylvania super PAC.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Federal Election Commission":

"… with “dark money,” according to a new campaign finance filing with the Federal Election Commission. The sole donor to Prosperity for Pennsylvania is listed as nonprofit Gre …"

Ex-senators Breaux and Lott confirm lobbying for Russian bank on Ukraine sanctions

By Alexander Cohen

A new filing says two former senators were part of a team that earned $150,000 for roughly a month of work.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Russia":

"… er Sens. Trent Lott and John Breaux were part of a team paid $150,000 by a Russian bank to lobby on U.S. sanctions over the Ukraine crisis, according to a n …"

"… ington, D.C., were retained over the summer by a banking subsidiary of the Russian oil giant Gazprombank and lobbied the Senate and the Department of State …"

"… e no longer expected to act as a lobbyist” for the bank. Gazprombank is Russia’s third largest bank. On July 16 — a month and a half before Brea …"

"… ing — the U.S. Treasury Department added the bank to a list of Russian firms barred from debt financing with U.S. institutions. Lott and Breaux …"

Center report spurs investigation of Bank of America, JPMorgan prison deals

By Daniel Wagner

No-bid contracts with Bank of America and JPMorgan under government scrutiny after Center report.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Treasury Secretary":

"… deal also drew questions from Capitol Hill. In a letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew sent Oct. 3, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, asked how Treasury c …"

California coverage plan for undocumented echoes earlier call by Schwarzenegger

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: former governor supported plan allowing coverage for undocumented residents.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health and Human Services Secretary":

"… ented immigrants is nearly a billion dollars a year,” Schwarzenegger’s Health and Human Services Secretary, Kim Belshe, told PBS NewsHour’s Gwen Ifill back then. “We are require …"

A life-and-death struggle for asylum in America

By Susan Ferriss and Amy Isackson

Teens' tortured road to asylum in America.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Chairman":

"… elease issued in July by House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican who opposes federal expenditures on c …"

Senator questions Bank of America’s no-bid prison deal

By Daniel Wagner

After a Center report, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, says Bank of America's no-bid prison banking deal "raises significant questions"

Excerpts from this story referencing "JP Morgan":

"… om of Information Act request. The Center’s report also noted that JP Morgan Chase & Co. issues high-fee payment cards to federal inmates when they …"

"… earnings from prison jobs and any leftover money sent by their families. JP Morgan holds a similar financial agency agreement with Treasury to provide the ca …"

"… a similar financial agency agreement with Treasury to provide the cards. JP Morgan and Bank of America are the two biggest U.S. banks by asset size. Both hav …"

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 "Center for Public Integrity":

"… xports. But Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert O. Work told the Center for Public Integrity on Sept. 30 that these measures are still being developed. Joshua M. Paul, …"

Megabanks have prison financial services market locked up

By Daniel Wagner

Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase & Co. avoid competitive bidding process in contracts serving federal prisoners.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Bank":

"… erforms money transfers for 70 percent of U.S. offenders. On Wall Street, Bank of America plays a perpetual second fiddle to JPMorgan Chase & Co., th …"

"… the New York Metropolitan Correctional Center, there exists a market that Bank of America has locked down, literally. For the 790 federal prisoners incar …"

"… locked down, literally. For the 790 federal prisoners incarcerated at MCC, Bank of America controls the provision of money transfers, e-messaging and some …"

"… f Prisons system — 121 institutions housing 214,365 inmates. Since 2000, Bank of America has collected at least $76.3 million for its work on the progra …"

Open pits offer cheap disposal for fracking sludge, but health worries mount

By David Hasemyer and Zahra Hirji

Air emissions from oil and gas waste are among the least regulated, least monitored and least understood components of the fracking boom.

Excerpts from this story referencing "United States":

"… fossil fuel waste was approved in 1988, oil and gas production in the United States was dropping and finding more domestic supplies was a national impera …"

"… down a well to crack open bedrock and tap deeply buried fossil fuels. The United States has so much oil and gas, in fact, that the industry is lobbying Congress f …"

"… ide, rules begin to tighten As oil and gas development spreads across the United States, more communities are raising concerns about the industry’s waste. At l …"

Inside the virtual tollbooth at many U.S. prisons

By Daniel Wagner, Eleanor Bell and Sarah Whitmire

How Reporters Dan Wagner and Eleanor Bell investigated a fee structure that's oppressive for many inmates' families.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Federal Communications Commission":

"… e to send money for free: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Communications Commission. Neither of them wanted to talk to us about the issue for this story. …"

Prison bankers cash in on captive customers

By Daniel Wagner

Private company profits by helping prisons squeeze inmates' families for cash.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Arkansas":

"… ges a flat fee of $2.40 in Maine to send money to inmates. Until recently, Arkansas charged 5 percent to send money through the state’s own Web portal. Flor …"

12 things to know about who’s trying to influence your vote in 2014

By Ben Wieder, Kytja Weir, Reity O'Brien and Rachel Baye

If you watch TV you've seen an unbelievable number of political ads asking for your vote. Do you know who is paying for those ads, and why?

McAuliffe names panel to reform Virginia’s ethics laws

By Nicholas Kusnetz

Governor cites Center’s State Integrity Investigation in announcing new initiative.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Global Integrity":

"… ility and transparency in state government released in 2012 by the Center, Global Integrity and Public Radio International. The commission will address a number of is …"

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 "MRAP":

"… build costly Mine-Resistant, Armored-Protected vehicles, commonly known as MRAPs. Gayl was subsequently accused by the Marines of improperly placing a th …"

Who’s trying to influence your vote?

By Chris Zubak-Skees, Kytja Weir and Dave Levinthal

A guide to our political TV ad trackers.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Federal Communications Commission":

"… to make it. And it only counts the ads once they air. Records filed at the Federal Communications Commission, for example, can show TV airtime that groups pay to reserve for the futur …"

In Kansas, Democratic donors invest in uncertainty

By Michael Beckel

Independent Senate candidate Greg Orman lures left-leaning donors despite uncertainty about whether he'll caucus with Democrats.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Politics":

"… ampaign Committee, according to data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics and a Center for Public Integrity review of Federal Election Commission fi …"

Health insurers turning into who knows what?

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: health insurers are transforming themselves — but into what?

Excerpts from this story referencing "Aetna":

"… t was enacted. We tend to think that insurers with well-known brands like Aetna, Blue Cross, Cigna and UnitedHealthcare have been around forever and likel …"

"… ne of the world’s largest multi-line insurance companies. Its peers were Aetna — which initially was just a life insurer — MetLife, Prudential and Tr …"

"… MetLife, Prudential and Travelers all sold their health care business and Aetna and Cigna decided to get out of the property and casualty business to focu …"

"… Humana says its primary focus “is on the well-being of its members.” Aetna says it is “transforming health care to create healthier communities, a …"

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 "president":

"… for secretary of defense, when he noted — while serving as a university president — that Iran is surrounded by “powers with nuclear weapons,” includin …"

DOE official seeks probe of dissident analyst’s dismissal by nuclear weapons laboratory

By Douglas Birch

The overseer of U.S. nuclear weapons production requests an Inspector General’s review of the firing of Los Alamos analyst James Doyle.

Excerpts from this story referencing "New Mexico":

"… tantial” law-breaking by the lab. Reached by phone while on vacation in New Mexico, Doyle said he had not yet seen Marmolejos’ letter and would study it wh …"

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 "California":

"… y supplies have been handed over to school districts large and small, from California, Texas, Nevada and Utah to Florida, Georgia, Kansas and Michigan.   …"

"… exas, Nevada and Utah to Florida, Georgia, Kansas and Michigan.   In California, the San Diego Unified School District acquired an 18-ton Mine-Resistant A …"

Black lung disease surges to highs not seen since the '70s, research shows

By Chris Hamby

The likely culprit: a failure by coal mining companies to use readily available tools to control the dust that lodges in miners' lungs.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Kentucky":

"… y hard in a triangular region encompassing southern West Virginia, eastern Kentucky, and southwestern Virginia. In these areas, thick deposits of coal largely …"

Treasury extends controversial bank-card deal with Comerica

By Daniel Wagner

Treasury extends Comerica program that exposed the elderly and poor to fraud.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Elizabeth Warren":

"… r bank partner after senators pummeled him during a hearing. Sen Elizabeth Warren asked incredulously if “we agreed to give Comerica — we, the U.S. gove …"

Investigating Florida's parallel legal system for foreclosures

By Alison Fitzgerald and Sarah Whitmire

A Q&A with Senior Reporter Alison Fitzgerald on her most recent investigation into Sunshine State foreclosures.

Mitch McConnell revs ad machine

By Michael Beckel

Kentucky’s embattled senior senator has aired roughly one campaign ad every five minutes since Labor Day.

Excerpts from this story referencing "New Hampshire":

"… preneur Michael Saylor, who is also Warner’s close friend. Meanwhile in New Hampshire, a quixotic super PAC that advocates for campaign finance reform failed to …"

Homeowners steamrolled as Florida courts clear foreclosure backlog

By Alison Fitzgerald

Why are Florida's courts rushing to clear more than 700 foreclosure cases per day?

Excerpts from this story referencing "Wells Fargo":

"… of America, JPMorgan Chase, Ally Financial (formerly GMAC), Citigroup, and Wells Fargo. That was the case that led to the massive settlement that now is helping …"

In New Hampshire, quixotic super PAC shaking up Republican primary

By Dave Levinthal

Big-spending Mayday PAC giving Jim Rubens an unexpected boost — and Scott Brown a headache — ahead of GOP primary.

Excerpts from this story referencing "president":

"… at Buchanan over standard-bearing Sen. Bob Dole during the 1996 Republican presidential primary — during a year when a GOP luminary like House Majority Leade …"

"… he Senate spending spree translates into a deluge of messaging that rivals presidential election season, when New Hampshire hosts first-in-the-nation party pri …"

FEC not 'Ready for Warren'

By Dave Levinthal

The nation's election regulator is telling an upstart super PAC to change its name, saying it violates federal law.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Hillary Clinton":

"… id PAC that's raised millions of dollars to urge former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to run for president, doesn't violate federal political committee naming r …"

GOP’s Senate hopes energized by Koch network ad blitz

By Michael Beckel

How many TV ads have groups connected to the billionaire brothers aired in your state?

Excerpts from this story referencing "Americans for Prosperity":

"… es the six most active nonprofit groups in the Koch brothers’ coalition: Americans for Prosperity, the American Energy Alliance, Concerned Veterans for America, the Freedom …"

"… alf as many ads to date as these six Koch-connected groups.  In all, Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers’ flagship political operation, alone has aired more t …"

"… “buy health insurance.” And Democrat Gary Peters has been slammed by Americans for Prosperity for supporting Obamacare, which the group contended was “making things w …"

"… r. In an interview with C-SPAN last month, Tim Phillips, the president of Americans for Prosperity, acknowledged that “it’s very difficult to beat a sitting United State …"

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.

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