Dina Temple-Raston

Adding to the coverage 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 fresh from a two year sabbatical in which she completed two books, learned Arabic and received a Master's Degree from Columbia.

A long-time foreign correspondent for Bloomberg News in Asia, Temple-Raston opened Bloomberg's Shanghai and Hong Kong offices working for both Bloomberg's financial wire and radio operations. She also served as Bloomberg News' White House correspondent during both Clinton administrations and covered financial markets and economics for both USA Today and CNNfn.

Temple-Raston is an award-winning author. Her first book, entitled A Death in Texas and about race in America, 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. She has two books related to civil liberties and national security. The first, In Defense of Our America (HarperCollins) written with Anthony D. Romero, the executive director of the ACLU, looks at civil liberties in post-9/11 America. The other, The Jihad Next Door (Public Affairs), is about the Lackawanna Six, America's first so-called "sleeper cell" and the issues that face Muslims in America.

Temple-Raston holds a Bachelor's degree from Northwestern University and a Master's degree from the Columbia University's School of Journalism. She was born in Belgium and French was her first language.

The man who tried to blow up a U.S. passenger plane three Christmases ago was sentenced to life in prison in a Detroit courtroom today. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 25, boarded Northwest Flight 253 in Amsterdam on Dec. 25, 2009, with a massive bomb hidden in his underwear. As the plane approached Detroit, he tried to detonate the explosives. They failed to go off.

Four months ago, on the second day of his criminal trial, Abdulmutallab pleaded guilty.



A legal case in Britain involving a radical cleric has raised new questions about whether authorities can hold a suspected terrorist forever. An immigration judge ruled Monday that a longtime terrorism suspect and detainee in the U.K. should be released on bail.

A request for a delay in the Sept. 11 case at Guantanamo has been denied.

Two lawyers close to the proceedings tell NPR that a military judge denied their request to delay the arraignment of the Sept. 11 suspects at Guantanamo until the summer.

The lawyers were asking for more time to file memos on why Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his alleged co-conspirators should not be tried in a capital case and be eligible for the death penalty. The 911 suspects are expected to be arraigned before a military commission as early as April.

Anyone watching the recent court proceedings in the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay couldn't have helped but notice that several of the lawyers sitting on the prosecution side of the courtroom were not in uniform. That's because two of the five lawyers prosecuting the alleged mastermind of the USS Cole attack aren't members of the military at all: They are lawyers from the Justice Department.

Defense attorneys for a detainee held at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base have asked a military judge to subpoena Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The attorneys representing Abd Al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi man accused of orchestrating the bombing of the USS Cole off Yemen in 2000 and of leading an al-Qaida cell in Yemen, say president Saleh could have information important to the case. President Saleh, who suffered severe burns after an attack on a mosque during the uprising in the Yemen last year, arrived in New York for medical treatment over the weekend.

The 20 detainees who stumbled down the gangway had been put on a nonstop flight from Kandahar, Afghanistan, to Cuba. The men came from all over the Middle East and Africa: Yemen, Sudan, Tunisia, Afghanistan. They all wore the same blackened goggles, earmuffs and orange socks as U.S. soldiers guided them from the plane by their elbows.

The long-awaited trial of five men accused of helping plan the Sept. 11 attacks is scheduled to begin early this year in a revamped trial process at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Initially, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other men charged with planning the attacks were going to be tried in a New York federal court, but congressional opposition forced the Obama administration to reverse course.

Terrorist groups seemed to be all over the Web in 2011. There were al-Qaida videos on YouTube, Facebook pages by Islamic militants in Somalia, and webzines – like Inspire magazine – produced by al-Qaida affiliates in Yemen.

If there were an award for the best known terrorist music recording in the past couple of years, it would probably go to the Somali militia group al-Shabab for a YouTube video that extolled the virtues of jihad, or holy war.

The White House will unveil a broad, new strategy Thursday aimed at battling homegrown terrorism in the U.S. The program aims to empower communities by teaching local officials to recognize violent extremism and see the threat as a public safety issue, like the battle against gangs and drugs.



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The Obama administration's first attempt to try a Guantanamo detainee in a military commission began Wednesday with the arraignment of the man accused of masterminding the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole. The incident killed 17 servicemen and women in Yemen in 2000. Human rights groups object to trying terrorists in a parallel justice system hundreds of miles off U.S. shores.

[The alleged mastermind of the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole was seen today for the first time in nine years during an arraignment in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It's the first test of the Obama administration's revamped rules for military commissions. NPR's Dina Temple-Raston was there.]

When Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri walked into the Guantanamo courtroom this morning, he was all swagger.

The man accused of orchestrating the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000 will be arraigned Wednesday at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. He is the first Guantanamo detainee to have his case tried under the Obama administration's revamped rules for military commissions, and he could be put to death if he is found guilty.

Opening statements are expected to begin Thursday in an unusual terrorism trial, involving a young Massachusetts man named Tarek Mehanna. What makes this case unusual isn't the alleged terrorist's plot. It's his defense: the First Amendment.

Mehanna's lawyers asked the judge Wednesday to instruct the jury about free-speech rights under the U.S. Constitution. Prosecutors say 29-year-old Mehanna tried to help al-Qaida by promoting its cause in an online blog. Mehanna's attorneys say he was just exercising his right to free speech — and isn't a terrorist at all.

The U.S. has had major successes against al-Qaida this year, taking out Osama bin Laden in Pakistan and Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen.

But for American counterterrorism officials, concerns over al-Qaida in Africa keep growing.

A debate is raging in the intelligence community about what it means to defeat al-Qaida. Because America's efforts to capture or kill al-Qaida's key members have been so effective, some officials say the core group — al-Qaida's founders and longtime members hiding out in Pakistan — is near collapse.

One camp, which includes members of the Obama administration, says al-Qaida's core group is three to five members away from collapse. Others, however, say with al-Qaida affiliates gathering strength, any victory over the core will be a hollow one.

Opening statements in the trial of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the suspect in the failed Christmas Day attack on a U.S.-bound airliner, begin Tuesday in Detroit. Besides the obvious issue of Abdulmutallab's guilt or innocence, questions remain about his ties to the American-born radical imam killed last month in a CIA drone strike.

A Hellfire missile fired from an American drone killed Anwar al-Awlaki on Friday, ending a two-year hunt for a radical cleric who had called on his followers to attack the U.S. any way they could.

Some details of the strike are sketchy. U.S. officials and the Yemeni Defense Ministry both confirmed that a drone had fired on a convoy of cars that was carrying Awlaki in northern Yemen. They said it was a joint operation, but it is unclear what role the Yemeni military played in the attack.

The first inkling that something was amiss in the counterterrorism training given to local and federal law enforcement came in March. That's when NPR reported on the cottage industry of independent counterterrorism trainers who signed up to teach local and federal law enforcement officials about terrorism.

The Obama administration is expanding its controversial drone program to the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.

The Washington Post first reported last week that the administration was setting up secret bases for the unmanned aircraft all over the region. U.S. officials say the drone surveillance will allow them to keep watch on terrorists in Yemen and Somalia. The question is whether the program will eventually go a step further and include armed drones to kill terrorists before they strike.

U.S. officials say that a CIA drone strike Aug. 22 killed al-Qaida's freshly minted second-in-command. Atiyah al-Rahman was a Libyan who was a key Osama bin Laden associate for decades.

The White House unveiled its strategy to counter radicalization today, ending months of speculation about how President Obama intends to tackle the problem of violent extremism in this country.

The White House will unveil its strategy to counter radicalization on Wednesday afternoon, ending months of speculation about how President Obama intends to tackle the growing problem of violent extremism in this country.

The strategy paper, titled The National Strategy on Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism, has been more than a year in the making and marks the first time the U.S. has laid out a comprehensive strategy to counter violent extremism.

In the second part of a series on counterterrorism training, NPR looks at a test case in Miami.

To understand the events that unfolded two months ago in Miami, you need to know that one of the most volatile things that can happen in a Muslim-American community is the arrest of a religious leader, the imam. Back in May, the FBI's Miami field office ended up arresting two of them: Imam Hafiz Khan and his son, Izhar Khan. They were charged along with several other members of the Khan family with financing terrorism in Pakistan.

In the first of two stories on counterterrorism training, NPR reports on one training session that turned a state employee into a suspect.

The man at the center of this story is a 59-year-old Jordanian-American named Omar al-Omari. He looks very much like the college professor that he is — all tweed jacket, button-down shirt, thick round glasses, drinking coffee. We met at a coffee shop near downtown Columbus, Ohio, where he laid out a series of events that ended with him being accused of having links to terrorism.

When U.S. commandos stormed Osama bin Laden's compound earlier this month, they spent much of their time on the ground shoving papers, CDs and thumb drives into huge document bags strung around their necks. That sweep was considered an integral part of the operation, and it confirmed what the intelligence community had long believed: that bin Laden was obsessive about documenting everything.

Opening arguments begin Monday in a Chicago trial that could complicate the already-fragile relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan. The case involves a man accused of helping facilitate the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, and the defendant, Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Rana, faces life in prison if he is convicted.

A terrorism trial set to begin in Chicago next week could end up further inflaming tensions between the U.S. and Pakistan. The case involves a man named Tahawwur Rana, who was arrested two years ago and charged with conspiring with others in the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India. Jury selection in his case begins Monday, but the question of Rana's guilt or innocence has taken a back seat to a bigger issue: Pakistan's role in the deadly attacks.