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 "Pentagon" ...

  • AP: Hidden Victims

    The Pentagon and DOJ often fail to provide basic justice when the children of service members sexually assault each other on American military bases worldwide.
  • Holding the Pentagon Accountable

    In 2016, Washington Post reporter Craig Whitlock surmounted the Pentagon's Byzantine bureaucracy and near-epidimic secrecy to reveal epic examples of military corruption and waste. Drawing on years of Pentagon beat reporting experience and deft use of the Freedom of Information Act, Whitlock exposed several scandals that defense officials fought to conceal from the public.
  • The Pentagon’s $10-Billion Bet Gone Bad

    This body of work is the result of reporter David Willman’s investigations of the nation’s dauntingly complex missile-defense programs. The articles reveal how program after program was sold to Congress based on false and misleading claims – ultimately amounting to waste on a grand scale. The U.S. spent $2.2 billion alone for a giant, floating radar that was supposed to scan the skies for long-range missiles from North Korea or other “rogue” nations. But the radar spends most of the year mothballed at Pearl Harbor – and has never docked at its intended Alaskan berth. The “SBX” radar, Willman reported, will never fulfill its intended strategic mission.
  • The Pentagon Finally Details its Weapons-for-Cops Giveaway

    The Marshall Project, in collaboration with MuckRock, published, for the first time, agency-level data on the Pentagon's 1033 program, a program brought to light during the protests in Ferguson, Mo., in which the Pentagon gives surplus weapons, aircraft and vehicles to law enforcement agencies. We wrote an initial story on the data, created an easy-to-use, embeddable widget, and put together a "Department of Defense gift guide," highlighting some of the more perplexing giveaways. The story led to unprecedented public scrutiny of military equipment going to law enforcement agencies, as over forty local news outlets published articles detailing what their local cops had received.
  • Failing the Fallen

    The series investigated the numerous failings of the Pentagon’s efforts to recover and identify remains of the more than 80,000 service members missing from past wars. On average the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command identifies just 72 service members a year.
  • The CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley: Bringing Home America’s Fallen Correspondent: Chip Rei

    Four-story series on waste and mismanagement within the Pentagon agencies responsible for bringing home the remains of 83,000 US military personnel who never returned from battle. Despite a budget of more than $100 million, the series revealed the POW/MIA Accounting Community, as it is officially known, has a very poor record of repatriating and identifying remains. In fact, the Pentagon’s results were eclipsed by those of a non-profit charity whose work we carefully documented. Two days after our first story ran, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered a thorough review of the sprawling Pentagon bureaucracy. The CBS reporters followed up with another story when Hagel ordered a massive reorganization. The story included interviews with family members who endured years of agony while they pleaded for answers from the Pentagon. CBS also reported on a highly critical DoD Inspector General’s report months before it was officially released. The fourth story in the series tracked the work of History Flight, a charity that has successfully recovered WWII remains on the Pacific Island of Tarawa. CBS reporters traveled to Tarawa with six US Marines, now in their 90s, on their first return visit since they fought there in 1943. The series documented the emotional scene as they witnessed History Flight’s painstaking recovery of their fellow Marines. http://vimeo.com/cbseveningnews/review/115438489/56d862cc1e
  • 1033 program

    Over the past year, MuckRock reporter and projects editor Shawn Musgrave investigated the Pentagon’s 1033 program, which distributes excess military equipment to law enforcement agencies nationwide. After the Department of Defense rejected FOIA requests for data indicating which departments had received tactical equipment such as assault rifles, armored vehicles, and grenade launchers, Musgrave — spurred by events in Ferguson — submitted FOI requests to each state’s 1033 program coordinator. This effort not only secured this crucial data for 38 states, but also pressured the Pentagon to reverse its position and release spreadsheets which detailed what tactical equipment had been distributed to every participating agency in the country. MuckRock’s investigation of the 1033 program revealed such questionable transfers as mine-resistant vehicles distributed to school districts and helicopters allocated to small-town police departments.
  • Secret Casualties

    While American troops in Iraq never found an active weapons-of-mass-destruction program, they instead found — and greatly suffered from — long-abandoned chemical weapons. Nearly 5,000 old chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs had been recovered; dozens of Americans and Iraqis were wounded by them. Yet, year after year, the Pentagon covered it up. Congress was misled, medical care was denied and soldiers were refused the honors and recognition they deserved for battlefield injuries.
  • Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan

    This multi-part print and online investigation, including an extensive, interactive database of incidents involving the deaths of Afghan civilians at the hands of U.S and allied forces, provides the first comprehensive look into collateral damage in the war in Afghanistan over the years 2001 through 2013.* Approximately 30,000 words in all, the package of articles uncovers faulty and profoundly inadequate efforts to count the dead and to keep track of civilian casualties, the gaps and missteps involved in efforts by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and its office for protection of civilians to account for civilian casualties, serious flaws in the U.S. military’s (classified) database called the Civilian Casualty Tracking Cell (and parallel units), and the lack of any serious effort by the Pentagon to create an Office of Civilian Protection for “lessons learned.” The package examines the practice of lethal profiling of so-called “military age males” throughout the U.S. chain of command and exposes its pernicious effect on American rules of engagement in Afghanistan. It also reports on studies, including those performed by the U.S. military itself, on the measurable and quantifiable effect of civilian casualties in “creating insurgents.” In additional features published online, we report on the haphazard record-keeping and lack of a coherent policy when it comes to payment of reparations for civilians killed in Afghanistan. And we closely examine three mass-casualty incidents involving Afghan civilians, tracing how they resulted from changes in the Pentagon’s own commander directives and guidelines to the troops in the field. *The interactive database concludes at the end of 2012, the last year for which a full data set was available at the time of publication.
  • Explosion at West

    Tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer at a central Texas plant exploded last April with the force of a small earthquake. The blast came just two days after the Boston Marathon and, in the national media, was overshadowed by events in the Northeast. While not the result of a terrorist attack, the explosion in West, Texas, was far larger and deadlier, and raised more significant public safety issues. In a series of investigative reports over eight months, The Dallas Morning News revealed that ammonium nitrate remains virtually unregulated by federal and state governments, despite its well-known explosive potential. (Timothy McVeigh used it in 1995 to blow up an Oklahoma City federal building.) Efforts to strengthen oversight have been blocked by industry lobbyists and government gridlock, The News found, even as the Pentagon sought bans on ammonium nitrate in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In pro-business, anti-regulation Texas, the federal government’s lax oversight meant no oversight at all. West Fertilizer Co. – scene of the disaster – violated almost every safety best practice. No state agency was charged with preventing an ammonium nitrate blast. There was no public registry of companies that handled the compound, even though many facilities are near homes and schools. Texas prohibits most counties from having fire codes and does not require facilities like West to obtain liability insurance. Gov. Rick Perry and other state politicians, who created this wide-open environment, washed their hands of the problem. They said West was a tragic accident that no amount of regulation could have prevented. The News’ findings, however, proved otherwise.