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 [email protected] where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "agencies" ...

  • The Surveillance State of California

    The investigation centered around our discovery that at least seven California law enforcement agencies were using controversial high-tech cell phone tracking technology without the public's knowledge and no judicial oversight. They uncovered police from San Diego to Sacramento have been using fake cell towers, known as "Stingrays", for years and in complete secret. In fact, Sacramento judges and prosecutors had no idea the technology was being used until we approached them about the story. Grant applications obtained during our investigation showed law enforcement agencies used terrorism as the justification for purchasing Stingray technology, when in reality they were using the device for people suspected of far more routine crimes, including drugs and robberies.
  • Sell Block: The empty promises of prison labor

    Our state’s glossy marketing brochures and polished YouTube videos told a story that everyone wanted to believe: Washington Correctional Industries, a for-profit arm of the state prison system, would employ inmates in its factories to make goods for government agencies while paying for itself. The program would teach prisoners new skills so that after release they’d more easily find jobs, thereby lowering crime. It was a wonderful success story, but, unfortunately, it was mostly untrue. Behind the nation’s fourth-largest inmate labor program, our reporters found a broken system that has cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars, charged exorbitant markups on goods that state agencies are required to buy, and taken jobs from private businesses that can’t compete with cheap prison labor. “Sell Block: The Empty Promises of Prison Labor” is the first investigative project about this growing industry
  • 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.
  • 2008 Mumbai Attacks

    The intelligence agencies of three nations did not pull together all the strands gathered by their high-tech surveillance and other tools, which might have allowed them to disrupt the 2008 Mumbai attacks -- a terror strike so scarring that it is often called India’s 9/11.
  • Dying at Opp

    "Dying at OPP" examined how the troubled Orleans Parish Prison, Louisiana’s largest lockup for pre-trial suspects, handled inmate deaths. The series exposed institutional failings and indifference that persist despite the jail being under a court order mandating widespread reforms. After the series, the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office, which operates the jail, called in outside law enforcement agencies to investigate the latest inmate fatality -- only the second time in at least a decade that an outside law enforcement was called in to review a jail death. The series also led to major policy changes at the Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office. Our series exposed a lack of autopsies when inmates died at a hospital after becoming ill or injured in jail. The coroner now requires his pathologists conduct autopsies in those cases.
  • Crude oil in Pittsburgh

    North America is now one of the biggest producers of crude oil in the world, partly because of fracking in North Dakota and other Western states. With a lack of pipelines in place to move the oil, much of it has been pushed onto the rails. Much of that oil is moved in tank cars found to spill their loads when accidents occur. With the increased traffic, accidents have piled up across North America. Refineries processing much of the crude from the Bakken formation in the West are in the Philadelphia area. In May, the federal government told the railroads to give that information to states where they shipped large quantities of crude. Many states made the information public, but Pennsylvania was one of the states that opted out, citing that the information was “confidential” and “proprietary” to railroads. The state emergency response agency denied our public records requests (as well as other news agencies requests) for the information. PublicSource wanted to show people where trains were traveling in Pittsburgh and the potential affected population living around those lines.
  • Unholy Alliances

    “Unholy Alliances” by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, exposed close ties between Montenegro's long-time political leader who had been promising to clean up corruption -- and organized crime. Powerful Milos Djukanovic, one of the last tyrants in Europe, worked through the instrument of his family's bank, requiring the government agencies he controlled to make deposits into it, and then letting his friends who included drug loads and smugglers borrow what they wanted and launder money.
  • Stop and Seize: Cops and the Cash They Confiscate

    After Sept. 11, 2001, federal authorities asked local and state police to serve as their eyes and ears on America's highways. The departments of Justice and Homeland Security, along with state agencies, spent millions to train them in an aggressive technique known as highway interdiction. But it soon became something else: Dragnets that swept up the criminal and innocent alike in a search for money. The Washington Post series revealed one of the great unknown consequences of 9/11. Local and state police, working through a Justice program called Equitable Sharing, have made nearly 62,000 cash seizures totally $2.5 billion since 9/11, without warrants or criminal charges.
  • Fatal Encounters

    Fatal Encounters is a six-part series regarding issues surrounding officer-involved homicides in the United States that was published in the Reno News & Review. It was begun more than a year before the events in Ferguson, Missouri, and other similar incidents, but started publishing in February 2014. There were also integrated social media campaigns on Twitter and Facebook. Major findings are that government does not accurately collect statistics regarding officer-involved homicides, law enforcement agencies are often resistant to following public records laws regarding issues of officer-involved homicides, officers involved are almost invariably damaged psychologically, mental illness is a very large factor in who gets killed by police, and collecting substantial data is no longer solely the province of big media or the government.
  • Home Field Advantage

    An investigation exposed the corrosive damage from the staggering influence and wealth of powerhouse collegiate sports programs: Colleges and law enforcement agencies reflexively protect athletes accused of sexual assault and other crimes. Cases against football stars were ignored, covered up or not properly investigated. An article about accusations of rape against players on the undefeated football team at Hobart and William Smith Colleges gave readers a disturbing account of scandalous bumbling. Players admitted lying and discussing their stories with the football coach before the hearing. Questioning by the hearing committee was inept and at times ludicrous.