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By Hannah Winston, News21 

The VA is overwhelmed by the number of paper claims it receives. This is an example of just one veteran's claim. Jessica Wilde/News21

The VA is overwhelmed by the number of paper claims it receives. This is an example of just one veteran’s claim. Jessica Wilde/News21

The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense spent at least $1.3 billion during the last four years trying unsuccessfully to develop a single electronic health-records system between the two departments — leaving veterans’ disability claims to continue piling up in paper files across the country, a News21 investigation shows.

This does not include billions of other dollars wasted during the last three decades, including $2 billion spent on a failed upgrade to the DOD’s existing electronic health-records system.

By Rebecca LaFlure, Center for Public Integrity 

Cooling tower at MIT's Nuclear Reactor Lab, in October 2009. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Cooling tower at MIT’s Nuclear Reactor Lab, in October 2009. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

At a research facility some two dozen miles from the White House, government scientists operate a nuclear reactor burning uranium that could be used to build a nuclear weapon. A similar research reactor sits just blocks from where the suspected Boston Marathon bombers gunned down a campus policeman. A third reactor is located in the Midwest, less than a mile from a 71,000-seat college football stadium.

Yet more than a decade after the Sept. 11 attacks, these facilities “are particularly vulnerable to sabotage attack” and are not required to meet tougher standards used by the military to protect its weapons-grade uranium from terrorists, say the authors of a new Pentagon-funded study.

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