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 "Cold War" ...

  • Mafia Spies: The Inside Story of the CIA, Gangster, JFK and Castro

    MAFIA SPIES tells the story of America’s first known attempt at state-sanctioned assassination: how the CIA recruited two top gangsters, Sam Giancana and Johnny Roselli, in a plot to kill Cuban leader Fidel Castro during the Cold War. Using recently declassified documents, MAFIA SPIES reveals many details about the US clandestine military effort from a hidden CIA base in Florida to get rid of Castro and, even more remarkably, how Castro managed to avoid getting killed with the help of a Soviet-trained Cuban spy network and double agents placed in Florida. Using FBI and police records, MAFIA SPIES also points to mobster Santo Trafficante as the likely mastermind in the unsolved murders of Giancana and Roselli, as the proverbial “last one standing” in this complex spy tale.
  • Irradiated

    McClatchy reported for the first time that the push to win the Cold War left a legacy of death on American soil: At least 33,480 former nuclear workers who received compensation are dead. The death toll is more than four times the number of American casualties in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • Subversives

    "Subversives" reveals the FBI's covert operations at the University of California during the Cold War through the bureau's involvement with three iconic figures who clashed at Berkeley in the sixties: Governor Ronald Reagan; UC President Clark Kerr; and student leader Mario Savio. By tracing these narratives, "Subversives" tells a dramatic story of FBI illegal break-ins, infiltrations, planted news stories, poison pen letters, and secret detention lists.
  • The Spy Among Us

    Jack Barsky held a job at some of the top corporations in America and lived a seemingly normal life as a father and husband - all while spying for the Soviet Union in the last days of the Cold War. He tells Steve Kroft about his spying days in the 1980s and how he is able to remain in the U.S., technically a retired KGB spy, after being found by the FBI.
  • Missteps and Secrets: Los Alamos Officials Downplayed Waste's Dangers

    A leak from a drum of Cold War-era nuclear waste at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, N.M., on Feb. 14, 2014, released radioactive contaminants that reached almost two dozen and the environment outside the ancient salt cavern turned nuclear waste dump. Documents obtained by The Santa Fe New Mexican exposed truths deliberately hidden from regulators and waste dump personnel by Los Alamos National Laboratory, where the waste originated, and the private contractors that operate the lab.
  • The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War

    Based on previously unavailable documents and interviews with more than 100 key characters, including General David Petraeus, The Insurgents unfolds against the backdrop of two wars waged against insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the main insurgency is the one led at home, by a new generation of officers—including Petraeus, John Nagl, David Kilcullen, and H.R. McMaster—who were seized with an idea on how to fight these kinds of “small wars,” and who adapted their enemies’ techniques to overhaul their own Army. Fred Kaplan explains where their idea came from, and how the men and women who latched onto this idea created a community (some would refer to themselves as a “cabal”) and maneuvered the idea through the highest echelons of power. This is a cautionary tale about how creative ideas can harden into dogma, how smart strategists—“the best and the brightest” of today—can win bureaucratic battles but still lose the wars. The Insurgents made the U.S. military more adaptive to the conflicts of the post-Cold War era, but their self-confidence led us deeper into wars we shouldn’t have fought and couldn’t help but lose.
  • Nazi Past

    It was a sensational find by AP reporters David Rising and Randy Herschaft _ a suspected Nazi war criminal living in the United States, hiding in plain view for more than six decades. More than just a low ranking foot soldier, suspect Michael Karkoc was an officer who commanded a combat company responsible for civilian massacres, and a founding member of the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion _ and had never before come across authorities' radar. In an eight-month investigation with reporting in more than a half dozen countries and documents in five languages, the two were able to put together evidence so solid that it has led to criminal investigations in Poland and Germany, and not officially confirmed investigations in the United States and Ukraine, with Germany already recommending that prosecutors pursue murder charges against Karkoc. Rising and Herschaft were able to prove Karkoc lied to American officials when he immigrated to Minnesota in 1949, saying he never served in the military during the war _ which has been enough in similar cases for a Nazi war crimes suspect to be deported. But the investigation went much deeper, with the two uncovering details from eyewitnesses, wartime documents and Cold War-era archives firmly establishing not only that Karkoc's unit massacred civilians, but that he specifically gave the order to attack a village in which more than 40 men, women and children were gunned down and burned in their homes.
  • Nuclear Waste

    What could possibly be wrongheaded about a U.S.-Russian effort to eliminate 64 tons of plutonium that could be fashioned into thousands of nuclear weapons? Begun in the 1990’s, it was blessed by four presidents, including Barack Obama, who called it an important way “to prevent terrorists from acquiring nuclear weapons.” To carry it out, the federal government spent billions of dollars on a South Carolina plant to transform the Cold War detritus into fuel for civilian nuclear power plants, an act meant to turn swords into ploughshares — all with surprisingly little debate or oversight in Washington. When the Center for Public Integrity looked closely at the project, after hearing of some of its troubles, we found plenty of scandal. Our major conclusions are reported in our "Nuclear Waste" series of four articles totaling around 12,000 words that were published in June 2013.
  • Hanford's Dirty Secrets

    “Hanford’s Dirty Secrets” exposed mismanagement, wasted tax dollars and a cover-up by government officials and private contractors at the country’s most contaminated site -- the Hanford Nuclear Reservation located in Washington state -- where the most complex environmental cleanup effort in human history is underway. The liquid and solid waste housed at Hanford is dangerously radioactive and toxic, and any leak has the potential to pose serious threats to human and environmental health throughout the Pacific Northwest. The federal government produced plutonium at Hanford for the nuclear bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan and for the U.S. nuclear arsenal throughout the Cold War. This production left behind millions of gallons of cancer-causing nuclear byproducts, much of which remains stored in aging underground tanks at Hanford. KING’s reporting showed that the government contractor in charge of the tanks ignored signs of leaking nuclear waste for nearly a year while the company collected millions in bonus money from the Dept. of Energy for its "very successful" stewardship of the waste holding tanks. In addition, we revealed that during the year the contractor failed to address the leak, the company wasted millions of taxpayer funds on a project rendered useless by the very fact that the tank was leaking
  • Waste Lands

    Today, they have long been converted into parks, office buildings and even hiking trails. But in a remarkable investigation, two of our most intrepid reporters discovered that in these places once stood factories and research centers that the government pressed into service to produce nuclear weapons. A yearlong effort resulted in revelations about what happened to the atomic waste from these facilities and a first-of-its-kind online historical database on more than 500 sites. The government, primarily the Energy Department, has for years assured the public the waste is being cleaned up efficiently and with no harm to anyone. It plans to have spent an estimated $350 billion before the work is done. But despite all this funding, as reporters John Emshwiller and Jeremy Singer-Vine discovered, the government hasn’t been able to find even the exact address of some of these facilities. Records on other sites are so spotty no real determination can be made on the next step. And 20 of the sites that were initially declared safe have required a second, and sometimes third, cleanup over the years. Thanks to an effort that married 21st-century Internet analysis with old-fashioned reporting, online readers can now enter their ZIP Code to get a full history of any site near them. The detail of this database—including hundreds of documents, corporate photos of factories and interviews with current property owners, most of whom had no idea of their property’s Cold War legacy—makes for helpful and at times alarming reading. Not surprisingly, almost a half a million online hits were recorded in the first weeks after our project, called Waste Lands, was published.