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Sep 28, 2013

Pilot 1: The VA’s deadly pain pill habit

Co-produced with PRX Logo

In our first pilot: an exclusive story about the volume and impact stemming from the VA’s overprescription of opiates to addicted veterans; the attorney behind many of the worst for-profit charities; bodycams for cops; and how one reporter helped one man prove his brother had been abused at a state mental facility.

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Sep 28, 2013

Defending leaks

Edward Snowden, who leaked classified NSA documents, is currently in Moscow, where he has temporary asylum. Credit: The Guardian
Edward Snowden, who leaked classified National Security Agency documents, is currently in Moscow, where he has temporary asylum.
Credit: The Guardian

Earlier this year, a defense contractor named Edward Snowden leaked classified documents to a small group of reporters about the National Security Agency’s top-secret surveillance programs. The information he provided has given the public an unprecedented view of the scope and cost of those programs.

Unlike most leakers, Snowden chose to go public. Federal prosecutors have charged Snowden with espionage and theft of government property. Snowden is now in Moscow, where he has temporary asylum.

Ben Wizner, an attorney for the ACLU, is coordinating Snowden’s legal defense. We spoke with him at his office in New York about the value and limits of leaks.

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Sep 28, 2013

A history of official secrecy

Courtesy of the Declassification Engine Project.
Credit: Courtesy of the Declassification Engine Project

Researchers at Columbia University are working on a project they hope will save a part of U.S. history.

They are building a “declassification engine.” Using tools from statistics and computer science, the researchers are trying to archive and review millions of pages of government documents and restore sections of text that officials have redacted. They hope the project will provide a history of official secrecy and help ensure government accountability.

Reporter Amanda Aronczyk spoke with professor Matthew Connelly about the project.

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Sep 28, 2013

The VA’s pain pill habit

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has supplied Tim Fazio with nearly 4,000 oxycodone pills since he returned home after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2008. Fazio says he was never in acute physical pain but used the pills to blot out feelings of guilt for surviving when many of his friends did not.
Credit: Adithya Sambamurthy/CIR

Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the number of opiate prescriptions by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has skyrocketed. Data shows prescriptions for four opiates – hydrocodone, oxycodone, methadone and morphine – have surged by 270 percent from 2001 to 2012. In some cases, the VA has prescribed drugs to known addicts.

Dig Deeper

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Sep 28, 2013

The drama of an investigation

Screengrab of video of "A Guide to the Aftermath," Tides Theater and KQED.
Screengrab of video from the one-act play, "A Guide to the Aftermath."
Credit: Tides Theater and KQED

Playwright Jon Bernson turned an investigative report about female veterans’ struggles into a one-act play.

The drama, “A Guide to the Aftermath,” debuted earlier this year at Tides Theatre in San Francisco as part of our StoryWorks collaboration with the theater.

DIG DEEPER

  • Watch “Her War,” the documentary by Mimi Chakarova that inspired Bernson’s play.

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Sep 28, 2013

Policing on camera

Many police departments around the U.S. have embraced having its officers wear small cameras as a way to protect themselves and citizens alike.
Credit: Screenshot from "Policing on Camera"

In August, a federal judge ruled that the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policy was unconstitutional because it resulted in discriminatory practices and unreasonable searches.

As part of her ruling, Judge Shira A. Scheindlin of the U.S. District Court in Manhattan ordered the department to establish a pilot program requiring officers in the five precincts where most of the stops occur to wear small cameras as part of their uniforms. The cameras would record officers’ interactions with the public, an “objective record of stop-and-frisks,” Scheindlin wrote.

New York City is appealing the judge’s ruling.

Alexis Karteron, senior staff attorney with the New York Civil Liberties Union, discusses the stop-and-frisk ruling.

DIG DEEPER

  • Watch this video to see how officers in one California police department use the cameras every day.

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Sep 28, 2013

Brotherly love

Larry Ingraham (left), a retired San Diego police officer, spent years trying to find out how his brother, Van Ingraham, died in 2007 in a state-run developmental center that was supposed to keep him safe. Larry and Van are shown in a 1963 family photo on the right. Credit: Photo on left: Nadia Borowski Scott; photo on right: Courtesy of Larry Ingraham
Larry Ingraham (left), a retired San Diego police officer, spent years trying to find out how his brother, Van Ingraham, died in 2007 in a state-run developmental center that was supposed to keep him safe. Larry and Van are shown in a 1963 family photo on the right.
Credit: Photo on left: Nadia Borowski Scott; photo on right: Courtesy of Larry Ingraham

In 2007, Larry Ingraham received a call that his brother, Van, was in a hospital in Newport Beach, California.

Larry was told that Van had suffered a minor injury. But when Larry arrived at the hospital, he learned that Van had a broken neck and crushed spinal cord. A neurosurgeon told Larry, “Somebody did this to your brother.”

Van died six days after he was found lying on the floor of his room. The severely autistic man had spent most of his life at a state-run facility for the developmentally disabled.

Larry, a retired police officer, spent years trying to find out how Van died in a place that was supposed to keep him safe. Hear what happened when he met Ryan Gabrielson, a reporter investigating the state police force responsible for protecting residents of facilities like the one where Van lived.

Dig Deeper

  • Read the full investigation: Broken Shield.
  • Download the e-book, “In the Wrong Hands.”
  • Watch “Behind Closed Doors,” a video about the failures of the Office of Protective Services, the state-run police force at California’s developmental centers.

Credits

Host: Al Letson
Executive Producers: Ben Adair, Susanne Reber
Editors: Amy Pyle, Mia Zuckerkandel
Producers: Michael Montgomery, Michael Schiller
Reporters: Aaron Glantz, Kendall Taggart, Ryan Gabrielson, Amanda Aronczyk
Data team: Agustin Armendariz, Aaron Williams, Michael Corey
Production Assistance: Allegra Bandy, Stan Alcorn, Bianca Bruno, Julia B. Chan, Sharon Pieczenik, Ben Rosenthal
Mix Engineer: Jim Briggs
RevealRadio.org: Jaena Rae Cabrera, Nikki Frick, Christine Lee, Sam Ward, Mia Zuckerkandel
Video Producers: Adithya Sambamurthy, Michael Schiller
Senior Management for PRX: Jake Shapiro, John Barth, Kerri Hoffman
Senior Management for CIR: Robert J. Rosenthal, Mark Katches, Joaquin Alvarado, Susanne Reber

"Reveal" is a co-production of The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX. It was co-created by Ben Adair, Susanne Reber, Joaquin Alvarado, John Barth and Kerri Hoffman.