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 [email protected] where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "Al Qaeda" ...

  • Objective Troy: A Terrorist, A President, and the Rise of the Drone

    Objective Troy tells the story of the life and death of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American imam who denounced 9/11 and called for bridge-building between Muslims and the United States, only to leave the U.S., grow steadily more militant and join Al Qaeda in Yemen. He became the most effective recruiter for Al Qaeda in English; actively plotted to kill Americans, including by coaching the underwear bomber who tried to blow up an airliner over Detroit in 2009; and finally became the first American citizen to be deliberately killed in a drone strike, on orders of President Obama in 2011. The book’s title comes from Awlaki’s code name on the government’s kill list: during a frantic 20-month manhunt that engaged all of the intelligence agencies, Awlaki was Objective Troy. Reported all over the United States and in Yemen, Objective Troy is the most detailed and best-documented account of the life of a central figure in the post-9/11 history of terrorism. Among the revelations in the book are: the first account of Awlaki’s embrace of fundamentalist Islam, while a freshman at Colorado State; the real reason that Awlaki left the United States, abandoning a promising career as a mainstream spokesman for American Muslims; an intelligence mistake in the hunt for Awlaki that led to the disastrous unintentional killing by drone of a popular Yemeni deputy governor; and Awlaki’s afterlife on the Internet, including more than 40,000 YouTube videos, now with the added authority of what his admirers see as martyrdom. The book gives the fullest account to date of President Obama’s embrace of the armed drone as a weapon against terrorism and how its performance has fallen short of the government’s claims.
  • European Jihadists

    As the world's attention turned to ISIS advancing from their staging ground in Syria through to Iraq, CNN International correspondent Atika Shubert and her team focused on the phenomenon of European jihadists joining their ranks. They are primarily young Muslims, who are drawn to fight in Syria -- often leaving solid middle-class homes and relatively comfortable lives to participate in “jihad” – holy war, alongside members of ISIS, al Qaeda and other groups. It is a phenomenon that keeps western intelligence agents up at night, and as this description is being written, Atika is in Paris reporting for CNN while French authorities are on a massive man-hunt for terrorists who may have done just that – gone to fight in Syria and come back to bring their extreme beliefs and its attendant violence back home. Through their reporting, Atika and her team have tried to understand the phenomenon – even interviewing British jihadists in Idlib, Syria via Skype to find out why they are there.
  • Alex Quade's Taliban-5/Spec Ops Capture & Release

    In her exclusive, war reporter Alex Quade, reveals the original story behind the Special Operations Forces’ capture of one of the Taliban-5. Alex Quade persuaded the elite Operators to go on the record, assess the “high risk” detainee’s exchange for POW, Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl; and whether the released Taliban leader will attack U.S. interests again. One highly decorated Green Beret who originally helped capture him, is now a National Security Council counterterrorism head, who worked behind the scenes on the recent exchange. The senior Special Forces officer tells Alex of detainee Mullah Muhammad Fazl’s release from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; and assesses the government of Qatar’s ability to hold Fazl under the one year travel ban. Former Special Operations “Horse Soldiers” share details with Alex, you’ve never heard before. In Alex Quade’s exclusive, you’ll discover Mullah Fazl’s connection to: convicted “American Taliban” Johnny Walker Lindh; and CIA Agent Mike Spann, the first American killed in action in the war in Afghanistan. You’ll also learn of the released Taliban leader’s ties to former warlord, Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum – now the Vice President of Afghanistan.
  • Double Agent: Inside al Qaeda for the CIA

    The world’s most dangerous terrorists, espionage, betrayal, and assassination are all part of the intrigue of "Double Agent: Inside al Qaeda for the CIA," a remarkable documentary about Morten Storm, a radical-Islamist-turned-double-agent who says he was in a race against time to thwart attacks by al Qaeda. It is a spy thriller told through never-before-seen videos recorded by Storm on the job as a spy. His photos and al Qaeda encrypted emails, and never-before-heard audio from his years undercover reveal a rare glimpse of CIA missteps and the destructive rivalries between competing global intelligence agencies.
  • Is it Right to Pay Ransoms?

    In 2009, an elderly retired teacher from Germany, a Swiss couple and a British citizen named Edward Dyer were kidnapped while driving down a desert highway after taking part in an annual concert of Tuareg music on the Mali-Niger border. They eventually ended up in the hands of Islamist militants belonging to the Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb or AQIM. The German and Swiss hostages were released after several months when their governments paid ransom. But the British hostage was shot and then beheaded. The UK government bans paying ransom to abductors. This story reconstructs the abduction and its aftermath and shows how whether a hostage lives or dies depends on his or her government's willingness to negotiate and pay ransom.
  • Message Wars

    In the 12 years since 9/11, al Qaeda continues to inspire numerous acts of terror with a sophisticated information campaign. Messages are spread online using sites like YouTube and other jihad forums. So far, law enforcement in the United States has been unable to find a way to respond, but that is not the case in the United Kingdom. Before 9/11, radicalization was up close and personal. A recruit was identified and groomed, taken to a camp and trained. Today, much of radicalization is global, done through sophisticated propaganda videos in the darkest corners of the Internet. The heart of this piece was investigative journalism, speaking with a former radicalized jihadist and on patrol with the officers at the front line of Britain’s outreach program.
  • Return to Benghazi

    In Return to Benghazi, Arwa Damon takes viewers back to the scene of a deadly embassy attack by unknown assailants. Damon's landmark reporting in this program led the U.S. to name the first suspect believed to be involved in the attack. On the night of September 11, 2012, four Americans including Ambassador Christopher Stevens were killed. It was a violent, well-coordinated attack that shocked the world. No one took responsibility for the killings. Libyan and U.S. officials did not know who to blame. A political firestorm erupted in the U.S. amongst lawmakers demanding to know what U.S. officials knew about the leadup to the attack. CNN's Arwa Damon arrived in Benghazi just days after the attack to cover the story. She spoke to witnesses and visited the compound where the Ambassador lived. It was there where she found Ambassador Stevens' diary. The FBI and the Libyan government vowed to find those responsible and bring them to justice, but justice did not come swiftly. It would be weeks before FBI teams would inspect the crime scene. Months passed and still no suspects were identified. Several months after the attack, Arwa Damon goes back to Benghazi to get an update on the investigation. She finds a changed city where westerners have fled and citizens face unexplained violence. Militias increasingly rule the streets and security forces struggle to keep control. Even more omonous, are the alarming signs of support for Al Qaeda that have emerged in less than a year. Damon tracks down the headquarters of Ansar Al Sharia, a group many Libyans and U.S. officials suspected might be behind the attack, but the group isn't talking. She also speaks to a Libyan rebel intelligence chief who blames a factions of Al Quada for the attack. The government is reluctant to move against either of them. In a rare interview, Arwa Damon sits down with a man U.S. officials have often suggested they would be interested in speaking to about the night of the attack: Ahmed Abu Khattala. He admits to Damon that he was at the compound that night while the attack was taking place. He also tells her no one from the FBI had tried to contact him, but that he would be willing to meet with them if it was a conversation and not an interrogation. After the program aired, an outraged U.S. Representative Jason Chaffetz told reporters, "News out today that CNN was able to go in and talk to one of the suspected terrorists, how come the military hasn't been able to get after them and capture or kill the people? How come the FBI isn't doing this and yet CNN is?" U.S. federal authorities then filed charges against against Khattala, suspecting him for being involved in the attack. Arwa Damon's reporting in Return to Benghazi not only showcased the powerful investigative journalism that CNN is known for, but it also sparked movement in the stalled investigation of the September 11, 2012 embassy attack.
  • Al Qaeda Reborn: On Europe's Doorstep

    A revolution that began with shots fired at peaceful protesters more than a thousand days ago is now a bloody civil war with no resolution in sight. But for many Syrians in battered rebel-held areas, a new, unimaginable, cruel dystopia has swallowed them. Infiltrating slowly at first, but now controlling many rebel held areas are the men of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Many of them foreigners, they make up a hardline, radical, brutal al Qaeda linked group seeking a Taliban-esque society. It is Islamic law and al Qaeda's most radical followers are now visible from Turkey, a key part of NATO. In almost six months, the group has risen to take control of much of northern Syria, killing those who oppose them. Its power is only increasing. This is the new threat emerging inside Syria.
  • Pakistan's Bin Laden Dossier

    Pakistan’s Bin Laden Dossier is until now the most important publicly available official document about an event that ended an era - the killing of Osama Bin Laden—and it was not made released by any government or pursuant to a FOIA request. Al Jazeera obtained it through sensitive, on the ground sourcing in Pakistan, and through its Investigative Unit, exclusively published the 336-page file on July 8, 2013. The Bin Laden files detail how a man sought for over a decade, the leader of Al Qaeda, eluded both his American pursuers and the Pakistani government itself. The leaked report revealed dozens of new details, based on previously unseen testimony of 201 witnesses, including Bin Laden's wives, Pakistani intelligence leaders, senior ministers, bureaucrats and military, intelligence and security commanders.
  • Brian Ross Investigates: Al Qaeda in Kentucky

    This exclusive ABC News investigation found that American counterterrorism officials were investigating more than a dozen cases of possible terrorists who have slipped into the U.S. under the refugee program. With rare access inside current and ongoing major terrorism investigations, the in-depth investigative reports broadcast on "Nightline," "World News with Diane Sawyer" and "Good Morning America" told the story of how a little noticed arrest of two men in Kentucky led to a major national security investigation that commanded the attention of top officials, including President Obama. The Iraqis were not refugees fleeing persecution, as they had claimed to immigration authorities, but were al Qaeda-iraq terrorists who had targeted U.S. troops in northern Iraq with bombs and sniper attacks. A key piece of evidence was that the fingerprints of one defendant were located on an improvised explosive device stored in a box for six years in an FBI warehouse, which had been found buried in a Baiji, Iraq road by American soldiers in September 2005. Worse, the two Iraqi insurgents, who had lied their way into the U.S. as alleged refugees -- and escaped drawing scrutiny until they were serttled in Kentucky -- were plotting to ship- heavy arms back to Iraq in an FBI sting, and were also discussing U.S. Homeland revenge bombings, the FBI learned. ABC News was able not only to tell the story of this incredible counterterrorism investigation by the FBI with help from the U.S. military, but also connect a specific bombing in Baiji that killed four Pennsylvania National Guardsmen to the Iraqi defendants. The exclusive ABC News investigation, which was broadcast on the network's three major newscasts as well as online with stories and web extra videos, also broke the news of current FBI counterterrorism investigations of suspects inside the U.S. whose fingerprints are being checked with those lifted from devices in evidence at the FBI's secret "bomb library," where ABC News was shown 100,000 IEDs collected from warzones in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere.