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 "tankers" ...

  • Pentagon secretly struck back against Iranian cyberspies targeting U.S. ships

    In the middle of June, tensions were rising between the United States and Iran. Iran had attacked oil tankers traveling through the Strait of Hormuz, and then downed an expensive, high-tech Navy RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance drone flying over the Strait, upping the ante of the conflict. Given previous rhetoric from Trump administration officials including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo against the Iranian regime, the decision to exit the Iran deal or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and the increasingly heavy sanctions on Iran, the Yahoo News team was monitoring for chances to report in more depth on specific Iranian capabilities as well as U.S. plans to counter them. Following the attack on the U.S. drone, Yahoo News began communicating with sources who had extensive detail on a specific unit within the Iranian military in the cross-hairs of the U.S. military, a unit that had advanced its cyber capabilities to the point that it was able to track nearly all ships traveling through the Strait through both social engineering, or pretending to be attractive women engaging with service members traveling on the ships, to actually compromising ship GPS data websites in order to digitally monitor their paths. In the course of reporting, Yahoo News discovered a key, news breaking event—that just hours prior, the U.S. Cyber Command had launched a retaliatory strike aimed at limiting the capabilities of the specific Iranian cyber group the team had already been investigating. Yahoo was the first to break the news of the retaliatory strike, leading dozens of major news outlets to race to match the story. However, given the fact Yahoo News was investigating details into the cyber unit, our story was not only first but best and most detailed. The story demonstrates our ability to jump into the news cycle, provide key breaking news to our readers, as well as dig deep into illuminating new details. The story also revealed that Iranian capabilities to intercept and down drones to study them for espionage purposes was highly advanced, a fact previously unknown. Given President Trump’s recent decision to authorize a strike to kill IRGC Commander Qasem Suleimani, our reporting will continue to provide value to readers, analysts, and other interested parties hoping to better understand Iranian capabilities and how the U.S. might respond to them.
  • Rep. Weller's Land Deal

    Illinois Rep. Jerry Weller failed to disclose the extent and the true cost of his property investments in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, an apparent violation of House ethics rules. Weller's misstatements about his real estate activity were particularly extensive in 2005, when he served as a key Congressional advocate of the Central American Free Trade Agreement.
  • Uncovering "Coingate"

    After breaking a story of Ohio's $50 million investment in rare coins and the mired issues attached to this, in April, the (Toledo) Blade decided to dig deeper, filing public records requests with the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation to inspect the coin transaction and business records of the state's rare-coin investment. This brought a refusal from the coin fund's manager, saying the fund was exempt from the state's Open Record Laws. Once the Supreme Court of Ohio ordered the release of the records, it was discovered that $13 million dollars of the state's investment was missing.
  • The Human Factor

    16 years after the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill efforts to reduce crew work hours, crack down on alcohol use and improve tug escorts are being evaded or undermined. The industry and regulators are relying on new tankers they say are far less susceptible to trouble. But the investigation revealed that spills have gone unreported, alcohol is still being consumed on the ships and risky behavior is still characteristic in the industry.
  • Uncovering "Coingate" and Ohio's pay to play culture

    What began as an investigation into Ohio's $50 million investment in a rare-coin fund controlled by one of President Bush's biggest Ohio fundraisers led to a year-long probe of Ohio's pay-to-play system and corruption in the office of Gov. Bob Taft.
  • LNG: Analyzing risk

    This ongoing investigation examines the potential risks of damage from a liquified natural gas supertanker or onshore facility. The Register's research, analyzed with help from those in the academic community, showed that if such a supertanker caught fire, the blaze would be much, much larger than what federal documents and officials have suggested. Federal officials also conceded that a certain type of flammable insulation is commonly used on the supertankers, despite earlier assertions to the contrary.
  • "Trucking food and wastewater"

    This investigation uncovered a trucking company that hauled orange juice and other citrus products in tankers used earlier to haul slightly radio-active wastewater from a state environmental cleanup project. The investigation noted a federal law passed in 1990 to prevent truckers from carrying food and nonfood products in the same tanks, which prompted both an FDA investigation and Congressional efforts to better enforce the Sanitary Food Transportation Act.
  • "Under the Radar" and "Stormy Weather"

    These stories revealed crucial information undermining the U.S. Air Force's controversial plan to lease 100 air refueling tankers from Boeing-a deal, which, if completed, would have cost U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars more than if traditional purchasing were used. "Under the Radar" deals with documents showing how Boeing pushed a plane that even some military officials doubted was right for the job. It also revealed how the Air Force relied on Boeing to shape the basic performance requirements for the tanker and let the company devise the financial structure of the costly, unusual lease agreement. "Stormy Weather" discloses a perverse effect of the derailing of the lease proposal.
  • The New Supertanker Plague

    Hundreds of oil-bearing ships have faced destruction in the form of "super rust," a virulent form of corrosion that is "the inevitable result when unforgiving chemistry meets the harsh economics and tangled industry politics of transporting fossil fuels." Wired Magazine examines the root causes of such "hyper-accelerated corrosion," and determines among other things that proper maintenance in re-coating the steel ships would effectively combat the problem. However, "first-class ship maintenance has become increasingly rare," as ships change hands frequently, and find themselves in the hands of owners who "tend to be less interested in maintaining their vessels than maximizing the return on their investments." The article details the scientific processes of corrosion, examines the recent history and challenges facing supertankers, and investigates where the industry -- and its aging ships -- might be headed.
  • Aging Airtankers

    "An Associated Press investigation of the nation's aerial firefighting program found that many of the aging planes should never have been flying in the first place. It found a spotty safety record by a contractor who had the wings snap off two airtankers in mid-flight last summer, and that no single registry or agency keeps track of accidents involving so-called public service aircraft. The series traced the use of the airtankers to an apparently illegal transfer of military aircraft, showing that the investigation of one of last summer's crashes was hampered because the plane once was used to fly spy missions for the CIA. It found that there is poor financing and supervision of the crucial program, findings echoed in a report by a special government commission."