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 "hijack" ...

  • Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the First Digital Weapon

    In 2010, computer security researchers discovered a mysterious virus/worm infecting computers in Iran. At first, they believed the malicious code was a simple, routine piece of malware. But as they and other experts around the world dug into the code, they found that it was a virus of unparalleled sophistication and complexity. They had, they soon learned, stumbled upon the world’s first digital weapon. Stuxnet, as it came to be known, was unlike other viruses and worms built before because rather than simply hijacking targeted computers or stealing information from them, it escaped the digital realm to physically destroy equipment the computers controlled. Stuxnet had been designed and launched to destroy centrifuges used in a uranium-enrichment plant in Iran in order to set back the Islamic Republic's nuclear program and prevent it from producing a nuclear weapon.
  • Medical Marijuana

    Loose restrictions in state law and scant oversight by regulators have allowed people to hijack Oregon’s medical marijuana program for purposes voters never intended, The Oregonian’s investigation revealed. Most patients are using the drug to treat chronic pain rather than terminal illness, far more marijuana is grown than patients consume, and traffickers ship the excess out of state for profit. At the heart of the yearlong investigation was a wide range of public records. First there were written documents: court records and police reports on medical marijuana growers; disciplinary actions against doctors who admit patients to the state program; internal policy manuals; and correspondence between regulators and doctors. Then there were electronic data. Through months of negotiations, the paper persuaded state health authorities to release a database of participants in the marijuana program that protected patient confidentiality. A separate database on Oregon State Police traffic stops helped us to demonstrate the widespread diversion of medical marijuana to the black market. Among the investigation’s original results, published as an occasional series: Communities in southern Oregon have concentrations of marijuana patients 10 times the statewide average; Police patrolling Oregon’s highways now seize more West Coast medical marijuana than pot grown outside the program; The state places few limitations on felons participating in the program, and dozens of trafficking prosecutions involve medical marijuana cardholders with existing criminal histories; Fifty-two children are legally permitted to use pot under the state program, with limited input from pediatricians or specialists treating their underlying illnesses; Nine doctors signed off on more than half the patients in the program, and 75 percent of patients used doctors with improbably high caseloads.
  • The Cuban Hijacking

    Investigation of the first international hijacking of a commercial airliner from the United States.
  • FBI found direct ties between 9/11 hijackers and Saudis living in Florida; Congress kept in dark

    Disclosing the existence of a decade-old FBI investigation into the abrupt departure of a Saudi family from the luxury home in a gated community near Sarasota, FL. two weeks before the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Law enforcement later used gatehouse security records to determine the home was visited by vehicles used by the hijackers. Despite FBI claims that Congress has been briefed, no documentation proving that statement has been provided.
  • Under the Radar: U.S. Aire Force purchase of air defense shields against terrorist attacks raises questions

    "The Pentagon charged the US Air Force Electronic Systems Command, or ESC, with the task of developing a radar system that would marry NORAD and FAA radars together in a manner meant to prevent terrorists from using hijacked jets for 9/11-like attacks. Under the guise of such work, ESC instead used the panic of the 9/11 charter to fund another project that the Air Force and Pentagon had rebuffed years earlier as being too expensive: the funding of a mobile air defense system."
  • Inside Gitmo

    "Speaking publicly for the first time, senior U.S. law enforcement investigators say they waged a long but futile battle inside the Pentagon to stop coercive and degrading treatment of detainees by intelligence interrogators at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba."
  • Failure In the Sky

    20/20 and ABC News report on the "fatally flawed" air marshal system, even getting an air marshal to speak, undisguised and on the record. The marshals are intended to be anonymous, but the marshal, Spencer Pickard, notes the rules for the air marshals include staying in the same hotels, a dress code that prohibits jeans and sneakers, and "airport boarding procedures that force air marshals to identify themselves as passengers watch." These rules can compromise their anonymity, and render them targets for terrorists rather than the hidden lawmen they are intended to be. The story resulted in a review of policy by the Federal Air Marshal Service, and an eventual relaxing of the dress code and hotel policy. But a solution regarding the boarding procedures is still pending.
  • The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11

    Lawrence Wright examines the rise of terrorist organization al-Qaeda, and how the U.S. intelligence community was unable to check it. Sources included Arabic press, captured al-Qaeda documents, jihadis and members of U.S. and Saudi Arabian intelligence.
  • Cybercrime, Inc.; Meth addicts' other habit: Online theft; Cyber safecrackers break into online accounts with ease; This little fob could foil a cyber bank robber; Net crooks con Americans into web of crime; Unprotected PCs can be hijacked in minutes; The rise of zombie computers -- Are hackers using your PC to spew spam and steal?; Tech industry has no unified defense system

    These USA Today reporters set out to delineate the underlying economic drivers of cyber crime. On Sept. 8, 2004, Achohido and Swartz were the first to comprehensively describe how cyber crooks systematically took control of millions of home computers, turning them into zombies to carry out various fraud schemes. An accompanying cover story took big tech suppliers to task for placing an unfair burden on consumers for keeping the Internet safe. A November 30 story reported the results of a honey pot test -- designed and overseen by the reporters -- showing how simply connecting a new PC to the Internet triggers nonstop break-in attempts by intruders. They also outlined what readers can and should do to protect themselves. These findings were only the beginning of their investigation.
  • Who Financed 9/11? One family's quest to trace the money behind the murders

    This story is about how the parents of Tom Burnett, one of the leaders of the heroic passenger revolt on Flight 93 on September 11, 2001, initiated a lawsuit that is intended not to obtain a monetary award but to punish the 9/11 organizers by ferreting out the sources of terrorist funding.