Martin Kaste

Martin Kaste is a correspondent on NPR's National desk. He covers law enforcement and privacy, as well as news from the Pacific Northwest.

In addition to general assignment reporting in the U.S., Kaste has contributed to NPR News coverage of major world events, including the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and the 2011 uprising in Libya.

Kaste has reported on the government's warrant-less wiretapping practices as well as the data-collection and analysis that go on behind the scenes in social media and other new media. His privacy reporting was cited in the U.S. Supreme Court's 2012 United States v. Jones ruling concerning GPS tracking.

Before moving to the West Coast, Kaste spent five years as NPR's reporter in South America. He covered the drug wars in Colombia, the financial meltdown in Argentina, the rise of Brazilian president Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, and the fall of Haiti's president Jean Bertrand Aristide. Throughout this assignment, Kaste covered the overthrow of five presidents in five years.

Prior to joining NPR in 2000, Kaste was a political reporter for Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul for seven years.

Kaste is a graduate of Carleton College, in Northfield, Minnesota.

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10:18am

Sat February 21, 2015
Law

Police Are Learning To Accept Civilian Oversight, But Distrust Lingers

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 1:48 am

Late last month, a scuffle cut short a St. Louis Board of Aldermen meeting where a committee was to discuss a proposed civilian review board for the city's police force.
Robert Cohen Courtesy of St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Late last month, during a meeting of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, a shoving match broke out among members of the public — some of them off-duty police officers.

The cause of the tension was a proposal to create a new civilian oversight authority for the police. Advocates of police reform like civilian oversight, but police officers say the boards are often politicized and unfair to them.

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4:39pm

Thu February 12, 2015
Around the Nation

Police-Involved Shooting In Washington Sparks Protest

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 6:26 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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5:17pm

Tue February 10, 2015
U.S.

Family Confirms Death Of American Hostage Held By ISIS Militants

Originally published on Tue February 10, 2015 8:53 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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7:56am

Sat February 7, 2015
Middle East

American Hostage's Parents Say They Hope She Is Alive

Originally published on Sat February 7, 2015 11:19 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

5:28pm

Fri February 6, 2015
Middle East

ISIS Claims Hostage American Woman Killed In Jordanian Airstrike

Originally published on Sat February 7, 2015 2:24 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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8:01pm

Thu January 22, 2015
All Tech Considered

Police Departments Issuing Body Cameras Discover Drawbacks

Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 1:03 pm

A Philadelphia police officer demonstrates a body-worn camera being used as part of a pilot project last December.
Matt Rourke AP

Wearable video cameras are fast becoming standard-issue gear for American police. The cameras promise a technological answer to complaints about racial bias and excessive force.

But in fact, the beneficial effects of body cameras are not well-established yet. And the police departments that rushed to buy them are now dealing with some unintended consequences.

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4:16pm

Tue January 13, 2015
U.S.

Obama's Policing Task Force Begins With Public Hearing

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 6:45 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

3:43pm

Fri January 2, 2015
Around the Nation

Trial Of Polygraph Critic Renews Debate Over Tests' Accuracy

Originally published on Fri January 2, 2015 6:23 pm

A screen shot of Doug Williams from one of his videos on how to beat a polygraph test.
Screen shot/Polygraph.com

The federal government is throwing the book at one of the most vocal critics of the polygraph test.

Doug Williams, a man who makes his living teaching people how to beat the test, will go on trial in January on charges of witness tampering and mail fraud. But Williams' defenders say he's being punished by a government that has become overly dependent on polygraphs.

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5:02am

Fri December 19, 2014
Around the Nation

Transparency Vs. Privacy: What To Do With Police Camera Videos?

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 10:06 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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6:15pm

Wed December 10, 2014
Around the Nation

Why Police Departments Have A Hard Time Recruiting Blacks

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 3:16 pm

Police wearing riot gear walk toward a man with his hands raised Aug. 11 in Ferguson, Mo. Renewed calls for police departments to hire more minorities have followed the shooting there of a black man by a white police officer.
Jeff Roberson AP

Since the Ferguson, Mo., shooting, there have been renewed calls for police departments to hire more minority officers, but it turns out it's not that simple.

Police in the U.S. are more diverse than they were a generation ago. In the 1980s, 1 in 6 officers belonged to an ethnic or racial minority. Now it's about 1 in 4. The challenge these days is finding enough recruits to keep that trend going.

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4:54am

Wed December 10, 2014
Around the Nation

Bertha, The Giant Borer That Broke, May Be Sinking Seattle's Downtown

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 6:23 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

3:48am

Thu November 20, 2014
Around the Nation

Officer's Death Raises Safety Concerns For Alaska's Unarmed Law Enforcement

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 2:16 pm

Mike Myers is the roving village public safety officer serving southwest Alaska villages including Manokotak. Like many officers in rural Alaska, Myers doesn't carry a gun and often doesn't need one.
Martin Kaste NPR

Americans expect police to carry guns. In most places, it's just assumed that law enforcement is always armed. But not everywhere.

One of the last exceptions to the rule is the native communities of rural Alaska, such as Manokotak, a Yupik village of about 400 in southwest Alaska. Hunters and fishermen live there in modest houses huddled along a few roads.

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4:52pm

Wed November 19, 2014
Around the Nation

Bush Pilot Helps Rural Alaskan Police Explore Isolated Villages

Originally published on Wed November 19, 2014 8:09 pm

Bush pilot John Bouker (right) and village public safety officer Mike Myers (left) outside Bouker's Cessna 207. Bouker transports Alaskan cops to remote areas and helps pick up prisoners.
Martin Kaste NPR

In order to reach what Alaskans call "The Bush" — villages isolated across tundra — you'll need a bush pilot. That's where John Bouker comes in.

Most of Bouker's passengers are civilians he transports to and from Alaska's remote villages. He does his job with the nonchalance of a suburban dad in a minivan dropping his kids off at the mall.

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3:26am

Thu November 6, 2014
Environment

Republican Sweep Highlights Climate Change Politics In Alaska

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 11:15 am

Oil, carried here by the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, is fundamental to the state's economy. But Alaskans also face the effects of climate change in their daily lives.
Al Grillo AP

On election night in a hotel ballroom in Anchorage, Alaska, Sen. Lisa Murkowski picked up a chair and waved it over her head.

"I am the chairmaaaaaaaaaaan!" she shouted.

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5:38pm

Thu October 30, 2014
The Two-Way

Maker Of 'Body Cams' Used By Police Reports Spike In Sales

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 7:31 pm

Washington, D.C., police officer Debra Domino wears a body camera at City Hall in September.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Taser International is reporting a big jump in demand by police departments for "body cameras." The company, one of the biggest providers of body cams to police departments, says 2014 sales of its "Axon Body" model are up 300 percent over last year, and sales of its more expensive "Axon Flex" camera have doubled.

And what's interesting is that this spike started well before the August shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

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