The United States of America's Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) gave tens of millions of dollars in cash to Afghan President Hamid Karzai in an attempt to win influence.
Karzai has confirmed that his office received cash from the CIA over the past decade.
What we are told is that the Karzai administration doesn't have an ideology - there is no political party behind it - it runs through patronage. It keeps its allies and enemies on side and in line by paying them off, by distributing spoils and the CIA through their payments helped finance this greater scheme ...
A detailed report in The New York Times has revealed tens of millions of dollars were handed over to Karzai, with wads of cash stuffed into suitcases, backpacks, even shopping bags.
The report says the CIA cash was then given to Afghan warlords in an attempt to secure stability before international troops pull out of Afghanistan next year.
Afghanistan's problems with corruption have been well documented, but an official says the cash was the biggest source of corruption in the country.
So, is it all just business as usual for the CIA?
Inside Story Americas, with presenter Shihab Rattansi, discusses with guests Matthew Rosenberg, The New York Times correspondent who authored that report; and Glenn Carle, a former CIA officer who spent 23 years at the agency's Clandestine Services.
Coming out in the NBA
The National Basketball Association star, Jason Collins, has revealed that he is gay - becoming the first openly-homosexual professional athlete playing in a major US team sport.
The 34-year-old is a veteran of 11 seasons in the NBA, for teams including the Boston Celtics and the Washington Wizards. He is now a free agent.
It is a major step forward, but much attention will now be on his future. Professional sports - along with the military – are often seen as one of the last major bastions of homophobia in the US.
Inside Story Americas discusses with John Amaechi, a former NBA player who came out as gay after he retired from the sport.
"... I think he felt the burden of responsibility that he knows come with being a role model and that comes with being in the public eye, being a veteran of the NBA and he knows that makes him ideally placed to do this work now. I don't think he is going to become some kind of gay crusader; he is simply now going to be able to speak out authentically on any number of different issues including this one of sexuality that seems to burden sports unnecessarily."
John Amaechi, a former NBA player
Source: Al Jazeera