Dina Temple-Raston

As part of NPR's national security team, Dina Temple-Raston reports about counterterrorism at home and abroad for NPR News. Her reporting can be heard on NPR's newsmagazines. She joined NPR in March 2007.

Recently, she was chosen for a Neiman Fellowship at Harvard. These fellowships are given to mid-career journalists. While pursuing the fellowship during the 2013-2014 academic year, Temple-Raston will be temporarily off the air.

Prior to NPR, Temple-Raston was a longtime foreign correspondent for Bloomberg News in Asia. She opened Bloomberg's Shanghai and Hong Kong offices and worked for Bloomberg's financial wire and radio operations. She also served as Bloomberg News' White House correspondent during the Clinton administration and covered financial markets and economics for both USA Today and CNNfn.

Temple-Raston is an award-winning author. Her first book concerning race in America, entitled A Death in Texas, won the Barnes' and Noble Discover Award and was chosen as one of the Washington Post's Best Books of 2002. Her second book, on the role Radio Mille Collines played in fomenting the Rwandan genocide, was a Foreign Affairs magazine bestseller. Her more recent two books relate to civil liberties and national security. The first, In Defense of Our America (HarperCollins) coauthored with Anthony D. Romero, the executive director of the ACLU, looks at civil liberties in post-9/11 America. The other explores America's first so-called "sleeper cell", the Lackawanna Six, and the issues that face Muslims in America, The Jihad Next Door.

Temple-Raston holds a Bachelor's degree from Northwestern University and a Master's degree from the Columbia University's School of Journalism. She has an honorary doctorate from Manhattanville College. She was born in Belgium and French was her first language. She also speaks Arabic. She is a U.S. citizen.

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3:31am

Mon November 5, 2012
The Two-Way

Recovery To Take 'Quite A Long Time' In Storm-Ravaged Breezy Point

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 8:17 pm

A chapel icon that once adorned the front of a beachfront home is one of the few items to have survived what is now known as the Breezy Point fire in Queens.
Dina Temple-Raston NPR

Anyone who traveled to Breezy Point, Queens, in New York City in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, even as recently as a few of days ago, would have needed an SUV — its main thoroughfare was under 3 feet of water. Today, you can see pavement. It sounds like a small victory, but this beachfront, blue-collar town is willing to accept progress in increments.

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4:43pm

Fri October 26, 2012
National Security

As Jihadists Spread, Connecting The Dots Proves Hard

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 5:57 pm

The Ansar Dine group in northeastern Mali is among the Islamist factions proliferating in North Africa and the Middle East. Officials have focused on possible links between these groups and al-Qaida, but counterterrorism experts say understanding the differences is just as important.
Adama Diarra Reuters /Landov

More than a year after popular protests rocked the Arab world, U.S. intelligence officials are struggling to understand the myriad of Islamist groups that have filled the vacuum.

Those groups run the gamut from moderate believers who are willing to give the political process a try to violent extremists. The difficulty is figuring out which is which.

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5:58pm

Fri October 19, 2012
National Security

Minnesota Case Re-Opens Wounds Among Somalis

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 7:12 pm

Burhan Hassan of Minnesota was recruited to fight in Somalia for al-Shabab, which the U.S. calls a terrorist group. He was killed there in 2009. This undated file photo released by his family in 2008.
Anonymous AP

For nearly three weeks, the benches at the back of a federal courtroom in Minneapolis were filled with local Somalis. The man on trial, Mahamud Said Omar, was accused of conspiring to help a terrorist group recruit some two dozen young Minnesota men to fight a holy war in Somalia.

It took a federal jury just eight hours to convict him of all of the five terrorism charges leveled against him, but the verdict is only the beginning for the Somali community in the Twin Cities.

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5:58pm

Wed October 17, 2012
National Security

Man Arrested In Plot To Blow Up NY Federal Reserve

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 7:09 pm

A man has been arrested in an alleged terror plot to blow up the Federal Reserve building in New York City. Federal authorities and the New York Police Department collaborated to foil the plot apparently conceived by a Bangladeshi man, Quazi Mohammd Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis. Nafis is said to have conceived the plot. However, authorities learned of the plot and actually provided what appeared to be the bomb. It was inert and there was no threat to the public.

7:00pm

Tue October 16, 2012
National Security

Court Overturns Conviction Of Bin Laden Driver

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 7:26 pm

A federal appeals court on Tuesday threw out the conviction of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a former driver for Osama bin Laden, who served a prison term for material support for terrorism.
AP

A federal appeals court on Tuesday overturned the conviction of Osama bin Laden's former driver and bodyguard, Salim Ahmed Hamdan. If the name sounds familiar, it should. Hamdan was at the center of a Supreme Court case that ruled that the Bush administration's military commission system at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was unconstitutional.

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3:07am

Mon October 8, 2012
National Security

Predicting The Future: Fantasy Or A Good Algorithm?

Originally published on Mon October 8, 2012 11:47 am

After failing to predict the Arab Spring, intelligence officials are now exploring whether Big Data, the combing of billions of pieces of disparate electronic information, can help them identify hot spots before they explode. The intelligence community has always been in the business of forecasting the future. The question is whether tapping into publicly available data — Twitter and news feeds and blogs among other things — can help them do that faster and more precisely.

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5:58am

Sat October 6, 2012
Asia

U.S. Drones Navigate Murky Legal Path In Pakistan

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 8:15 pm

An unmanned U.S. Predator drone sits on the tarmac of Kandahar military airport in southern Afghanistan in 2010. The U.S. has been using drones in Pakistan for years. The Pakistanis initially claimed the drone attacks as the work of their own military, but the strikes have become a source of friction.
Massoud Hossaini AP

The U.S. has been carrying out drone strikes in Pakistan for some eight years, but it's done so under a policy that has emerged piecemeal over that time.

"It started in 2004, when drones were really an oddity," says Daniel Markey, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He was on the State Department's policy planning staff when it all started during the Bush administration.

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4:29pm

Fri October 5, 2012
Africa

Benghazi Attack Raises New Questions About Al-Qaida

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 11:07 pm

U.S. authorities are investigating whether al-Qaida played a role in last month's attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. Here, a damaged vehicle sits outside the consulate one day after the attack.
EPA/Landov

For the past decade, al-Qaida has been a top-down organization.

Letters seized at Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan showed that he was a hands-on manager, approving everything from operations to leadership changes in affiliate groups.

But there's early intelligence that al-Qaida may have had a small role in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, on Sept. 11.

If al-Qaida involvement is confirmed, it may signal that al-Qaida has changed.

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3:35am

Thu September 20, 2012
Middle East

U.S., Libyan Versions Of Consulate Attack Diverge

Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 9:24 am

The U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was in flames during an attack on Sept. 11. There are competing narratives on whether the attack was premeditated.
Esam Omran Al-Fetori Reuters /Landov

The attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya last week has led to dueling versions of what unfolded that night in Benghazi.

To hear the Obama administration tell it, the attack that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans was spontaneous — and staged by local extremists who saw an opportunity to hijack peaceful demonstrations against an offensive film.

The Libyans have a different view. They say it was a premeditated strike, launched by foreign fighters with ties to al-Qaida.

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12:45pm

Thu September 6, 2012
The Two-Way

Percent Of Detainees Who Return To Terrorism After Release Edges Up

Almost 28 percent of the detainees transferred out of the U.S.-run detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have either returned to terrorism or are suspected of having done so, the Director of National Intelligence says in a new report.

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3:38am

Wed August 15, 2012
National Security

Taliban Showing New Willingness On Prisoner Swap

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 5:14 am

This image provided by IntelCenter on Dec. 8, 2010, shows a frame grab from a video released by the Taliban containing footage of a man believed to be Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. The 26-year-old Army sergeant was captured by the Taliban more than three years ago.
AP

There are new glimmers of hope for the only known U.S. prisoner of war held captive in Afghanistan — 26-year-old Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured by the Taliban more than three years ago. After lengthy discussions, it appears his captors may be more receptive than ever before to finding a way to send him home.

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4:58am

Fri August 3, 2012
Middle East

U.S. Sees Signs Of Al-Qaida Arm In Syria

Originally published on Sat August 4, 2012 5:34 am

Members of the Free Syrian Army are seen in a neighborhood of Damascus, Syria on June 28. Several huge suicide bombings this year suggest al-Qaida or other extremists are joining the battle against President Bashar Assad's regime.
AP

Late last month, counterterrorism officials discovered a disturbing video on YouTube that showed what appeared to be a faction of the Syrian rebel army standing in front of a fluttering black banner. The mysterious flag — which read "no god but God" in white Arabic cursive — is thought to be a reproduction of the Prophet Muhammad's battle flag. It has also become al-Qaida in Iraq's calling card in Syria.

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5:50am

Sat July 14, 2012
National Security

Osama's Driver Freed In Latest Guantanamo Release

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 4:54 pm

Ibrahim al-Qosi, shown here on July 11 in Khartoum, Sudan, was released from Guantanamo Bay prison this week after spending a decade there. He was Osama bin Laden's former driver, and he pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy with al-Qaida and supporting terrorism. There are now 168 prisoners remaining at Guantanamo.
STR Reuters/Landov

The latest detainee to leave the Guantanamo Bay prison boarded an Air Force jet earlier this week. His destination: Sudan. The man, 52-year-old Ibrahim al-Qosi, had admitted to being Osama bin Laden's bookkeeper, driver and sometime cook, and he was one of the first prisoners to arrive at Guantanamo in 2002.

Now, he is the latest to leave. His departure brings the total detainee population at the U.S. naval base in Cuba down to 168 — from a high of 680 in May 2003.

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2:45pm

Fri July 13, 2012
World

Al-Qaida: Now Vying For Hearts, Minds And Land

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 10:33 pm

Militiamen from the Ansar Dine Islamic group, an al-Qaida affiliate, ride on a vehicle in northeastern Mali in June. Mali is one of the places where al-Qaida-linked groups are trying to take over territory and win over local residents to their cause.
Reuters/Landov

Al-Qaida has been subtly testing a new strategy. In the past couple of years, the group's affiliates have been trying their hand at governing — actually taking over territory and then trying to win over citizens who live there. It happened with various degrees of success in Somalia and Yemen, and recently in the northern deserts of Mali.

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3:07am

Thu July 12, 2012
Africa

Al-Qaida Arm In Yemen Flexes Its Muscles In Nigeria

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 12:25 pm

An unusual terrorism case started in Nigeria late last week. Prosecutors in the capital city of Abuja accused two local men of being members of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP. They were charged with accepting thousands of dollars from the group to recruit potential terrorists inside Nigeria and then send them to Yemen. Olaniyi Lawal, 31, and Luqman Babatunde, 30, have pleaded not guilty.

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