Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "Air Force" ...

  • Military.com: Air Force HIV Prevention Drugs

    If you're a gay man in uniform, the Air Force presents a dilemma. You can fly for the service, or you can take Truvada, a pre-exposure prophylactic drug designed to reduce the risk of HIV. The Air Force bars pilots from using the drug, citing safety concerns. But critics say the service's reticence to approve the medication is a symptom of latent cultural reticence bordering on homophobia, and moralistic concerns over a sexually promiscuous lifestyle. This report includes interviews with pilots who have been affects by the policy, including one who opted to avoid the service due to the restriction. A follow-up report details how the Air Force reversed course to approve the drug, showing the impact of Military.com's reporting.
  • The Catch

    "The Catch" is documentary investigation that found Canada may be complicit in violating international law because the country’s navy and air force assists the U.S. Coast Guard to police international waters and capture suspected drug smugglers, some of whom have reported mistreatment on board U.S. Coast Guard vessels.
  • In These Times: Why the United States Leaves Deadly Chemicals on the Market

    We investigated the numerous ways the chemical industry influences regulation of chemicals by the EPA and the FDA. Specifically, we discovered that industry-funded researchers have used a particular type of scientific study called “physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) modeling” to support industry claims that economically important chemicals are safe. We found that the scientists who pioneered PBPK modeling while working for the Air Force in the early 1980s had recognized early on that PBPK studies could be used to industry’s advantage. As we examined the record over the past four decades, it became clear that these studies are primarily conducted by regulatory toxicologists working as private consultants or for research institutions funded by chemical companies. Further, these same individuals and consultancies often receive federal grants and contracts, suggesting widespread conflicts of interest. Our investigation documents the outcome – often delay or outright termination – of regulatory processes for numerous hazardous chemicals, including methylene chloride, formaldehyde, bisphenol A, perchlorate, styrene, and chlorpyrifos. While other journalists have documented the chemical industry’s political influence, to our knowledge no other journalists have brought to light the ways science itself is being manipulated.
  • Hazard Above

    According to a year-long investigation by The Washington Post, hundreds of military drones have crashed in major accidents around the world since 2001 and civilian drones are posing a new threat to passenger air traffic in the United States. Drones have revolutionized warfare and are set to revolutionize civil aviation under a 2012 federal law that will allow them to fly freely in American skies. But The Post found that the U.S. military and the Federal Aviation Administration suppressed widespread patterns of safety problems with drones and tried to keep details of accidents and near mid-air collisions a secret. Drawing on more than 50,000 pages of accident investigation reports and other records obtained under FOIA, The Post uncovered more than 400 major military drone crashes worldwide, including 49 in the United States. Some drone models were particularly crash-prone: almost half of the Air Force’s iconic Predator fleet has been destroyed in accidents. The Post published details of 194 of the most serious accidents in an interactive online database, as well as crash-scene photographs, voice-recording transcripts and a video of a stricken Predator drone filming its own fiery breakup over Iraq. The Post also exposed a rash of dangerous encounters between civilian airplanes and drones flown in contravention of FAA rules intended to safeguard U.S. airspace, a problem that has worsened since the series was first published.
  • Broken Code

    Broken Code was a Gazette investigation into athlete misconduct at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., and the Air Force’s failure to hold coaches and other leaders accountable for the acts of their players. It also examined the systems and the culture that led to widespread misconduct at a school where cadets pledge to live by a strict honor code. The stories showed a raucous culture on teams, especially the football squad, with sexual assault, academic misconduct, drug use and binge drinking. The Air Force had punished players but kept the pattern of misconduct tightly under wraps while taking no actions against leaders. The reporting later revealed a backdoor that lets star athletes into military academies despite serious academic deficiencies that would see them denied admission otherwise.
  • Nuclear Missteps

    After exposing low morale, training flaws and leadership lapses in the Air Force’s nuclear missile corps in a series of stories in 2013, Robert Burns used the Freedom of Information Act, tips from his network of military sources and interviews with Air Force officers at all levels to reveal in an exclusive series of stories in 2014 that the problems initially denied by the Air Force ran so deep and wide that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel declared “something is wrong” with the most high-risk arm of the U.S. military.
  • Nuclear Missteps

    Beginning with his discovery of an internal Air Force admission of "rot" infesting its nuclear missile forces, AP National Security Writer Robert Burns probed to extraordinary depths within this highly secretive, rarely investigated organization for eight months to reveal a series of missteps by men and women with their finger on the trigger of the world's most deadly weapons. Using sources inside and outside the Air Force, in Washington and beyond, Burns documented deliberate safety and security violations, personal misbehavior, training failures, leadership lapses and chilling evidence of malaise among those entrusted with nuclear weapons. Burns peeled away the veneer of Air Force assurances that nothing was amiss, and brought to the attention of the American public a fuller picture of a nuclear missile force facing an uncertain future. His reporting prompted the Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, to lament these "troubling lapses" and make a personal visit tot he force to insist they live up to their standards and demonstrate that they can be trusted with nuclear responsibilities.
  • There Will Be Diatomaceous!

    In this series of coverage, Mission and State looks at Santa Barbara’s love-hate relationship with oil. As the country dives deeper and deeper into the enhanced-extraction oil boom, Santa Barbara grapples with what to do with the vast oil reserves waiting to be tapped in the North County and offshore. These stories delve into the fractured local oil politics, the strange bedfellows oil development can make of environmentalists, oil companies and politicians, the environmental and developmental legacies informing current debates, the missed opportunities for environmental concessions and the campaign contributions putting politicians in compromising positions. These stories paint the picture of a county in an almost schizophrenic political and cultural dance with itself. During the course of researching and reporting this series, it was revealed that Air Pollution Control District advisory board member and Lompoc City Councilmember Ashley Costa also worked in public relations for Santa Maria Energy, an obvious conflict of interest. Reporter Karen Pelland discovered that the president of a company proposing to slant drill from Vandenberg Air Force Base to get to the vast Tranquillon Ridge offshore reserve made significant political contributions to now-Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek). Garamendi had previously scuttled a deal between environmentalists and PXP oil company for the same reserve that was hailed as a landmark proposal at the time.
  • The F-22’s Fatal Flaws

    For more than a year and a half the Brian Ross Unit investigated the potentially deadly design flaws hidden in the crown jewel of the U.S. Air Force, the F-22 Raptor, the most expensive fighter plane in history. Digital reporter Lee Ferran and editor Mark Schone produced more than 30 web reports or blogs, starting with the story of the death of a gifted pilot and mid-air scares for dozens more, and then digging into the Pentagon’s dangerous policy of letting pilots fly planes it knew were broken. The Ross team uncovered a document showing the Air Force was aware of serious design flaws in its prize plane, and its web pieces questioned whether the service valued the reputation of a troubled $79 billion weapons system more than the safety of its airmen. Part of the investigation challenged the Air Force’s conclusion that the death of F-22 pilot Capt. Jeff Haney was his own fault. The Air Force blamed Haney even though his plane suffered a catastrophic malfunction just seconds before he crashed. The online series was so powerful that both “Nightline” and “ABC World News with Diane Sawyer” asked the Ross team to prepare reports for broadcast as well. On May 2, 2012, in an exclusive interview that appeared both on-air and online, Haney’s sister, Jennifer, said that she suspected the Air Force was tarnishing her brother’s memory to keep heat off the flawed plane. After the ABC News online reports about the crash, the Pentagon’s Inspector General’s office announced it planned to review the Air Force’s investigation – the first major crash review by the IG in more than a decade. For years, the Air Force had also been contending with another mysterious and possibly deadly flaw in the F-22 -- one that randomly caused pilots to experience symptoms of oxygen deprivation. It wasn’t until ABC News began asking questions, however, that Defense Secretary Panetta was forced to address the issue publicly. The Air Force repeatedly declined Ferran’s on-camera interview requests, but said it was his dogged attempts that pushed the service to give press briefings on the plane’s problems. Finally, the investigation uncovered a 12-year-old internal document that revealed the Air Force had long been aware of one of the plane’s potentially deadly design flaws but had neglected to fix it. In 2012, under public scrutiny inspired by the Ross team’s reporting, the Air Force addressed the flaw, and made another adjustment designed to protect pilots. Since then it has reported no further oxygen deprivation incidents.
  • "The Lonely Soldier"

    In her book, author Helen Benedict reveals what it is like to be a female in the military and serving overseas. She shares stories of sexual abuse and "discrimination against women and people of color." Female soldiers also suffer from health problems caused by the "lack of adequate medical care for women." Benedict also looks at the lives of women after they return home who suffer from isolation and "multiples traumas of combat and sexual assault."