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 "entrapment" ...

  • Investigating the Investigators

    WTSP's series investigating sex predator stings exposed how detectives were improperly entrapping men that posed little – or no – threat to society. They challenged authority, exposed wrongdoing, and prompted changes over the course of our two-year-long investigation. Even though NBC ended its run of “To Catch a Predator” stings years ago, similar operations continued in Florida well into 2014, thriving on federal grants and made-for-TV press conferences. Their nine stories showed how detectives had to start leaning on dishonest and unethical tactics to keep up their arrest totals.
  • Backfire

    The investigation revealed that the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) employed rogue tactics in undercover storefront strings in Milwaukee and across the country, including using those with mental disabilities to promote the operations – and then turning around and charging them with gun and drug crimes. The investigation found ATF agents set up operations near schools and churches, allowing them to arrest people on more serious charges; let felons armed with guns leave the fake storefronts; paid such high prices that people bought guns from stores and then quickly sold them to agents; bought stolen goods, spurring burglaries in the area; arrested and charged the wrong people; and drew in juveniles by allowing them to play video games, smoke marijuana and drink alcohol; failed to employ sufficient security, allowing sting storefronts to be burglarized; carelessly handled sensitive documents containing undercover officer’s names and vehicle information; and left behind damaged rental properties, failing to pay landlords for repairs. In Milwaukee, an ATF agent’s guns were stolen, including an automatic machine gun, which has not been recovered. The sting operations were part of an ATF initiative meant to go after “the worst of the worst” and target areas beset by violent crime. But in the Milwaukee operation and elsewhere, the defendants largely had nonviolent criminal backgrounds. Even a federal prosecutor criticized the ATF for the kinds of people targeted.
  • Buried in Grain

    NPR Correspondent Howard Berkes and Center for Public Integrity Senior Reporter Jim Morris spent seven months investigating dozens of horrific and preventable deaths in America’s grain storage bins. They immediately discovered that the government’s own data for grain entrapment incidents was inaccurate and incomplete, and a database kept by Purdue University and used by OSHA and industry was also incomplete. That prompted weeks of painstaking scrutiny of multiple government datasets, which resulted in a more complete list of incidents and discernible and disturbing patterns in enforcement. The NPR/CPI analysis showed that grain bin “drownings” occurred repeatedly and increasingly during a 20-year period in which both OSHA and the industry had promised more focused attention to safety. The analysis also showed that the same safety standards were violated over and over again, year after year, in incidents that left workers dead, including incidents involving underage, illegally employed workers. Workers were repeatedly sent into bins in violation of the law, and without proper training or safety equipment. But NPR/CPI found that OSHA’s fines were cut an average of 60 per cent in 60 per cent of the incidents. In the very worst cases, which involved willful and egregious employer behavior, OSHA cut fines from 50 to 97 percent. NPR/CPI also found that criminal referrals and prosecutions are rare, even when employers are cited for egregious and willful behavior. “Buried in Grain” chronicles a failed regulatory system even as grain harvests and storage, and worker entrapments and deaths, reached record levels. The series highlighted one particular incident in 2010 in Illinois in which a 14-year-old and 19-year-old died, and their best friend watched them die. “Buried in Grain” prompted calls for reform from members of Congress, support for legislation that would make willful behavior in worker deaths a felony, an internal agency effort to look more closely at fine reductions and a second look at possible federal criminal charges in the Illinois case.
  • New Times Broward-Palm Beach: Buju Behind Bars

    Reggae great Buju Banton is locked up on drug charges. Did the US government, with help from a shady snitch, entrap him?
  • Television Justice

    This series raised questions about the relationship between law enforcement and the NBC Dateline show "To Catch a Predator." The investigation revealed that police may sacrifice justice, and their role as independent investigators, in the interest of taping the prime-time show. This situation raises concerns about entrapment, tainted evidence, faulty warrants, and questionable arrest reports.
  • The Sex Avengers

    "Citizen cybersleuths are busy prowling the Web in search of perverts who prey on kids. Why aren't the police cheering them on?" This timedigital.com article answers that question while addressing the delicate issue of why these cybersleuths are so vigilant in their jobs.
  • "Lewd Online" (Parts 1 and 2)

    KCOP-TV reports that "the new video teleconferencing technology has created a unique danger for children who use online chat rooms.... children who enter supposedly G-rated chat rooms are often greeted by adults performing sex acts. A producer went online in video chat rooms for several months posing as a 13-year-old girl. Not only did she witness both men and women performing sex acts, but one man ultimately bought her a plane ticket so she could visit him out-of-state. We flew to Wisconsin, captured their meeting at a restaurant on hidden camera, then confronted him.... then confronted the company charged with monitoring the G-rated site and offered advice on how parents can protect their children.
  • (Untitled)

    Texas Monthly investigates Operation Lightning Strike, an FBI sting designed to root out fraud and corruption among NASA employees and contractors. Under the code name, John Clifford, Special Agent Hal Francis propositioned struggling NASA contractors, entering into illegal deals with them designed to rip off NASA. The article catalogues the FBI's aggressive manipulation of NASA employees in a law enforcement operation which bordered on entrapment. (August 1996)
  • (Untitled)

    According to the Utne Reader, Criminal informants may be the real winners in the American Drug Enforcement Agency's (DEA) drug war. This article looks at how professional rats make thousands of dollars off the U.S. government by convincing the DEA they can turn in Class One drug offenders. Because agents with the highest percentages of Class One drug offenders earn the highest bonuses, federal agents will stop at nothing short of entrapment to find a Class One conviction. (May/June 1996)