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Dina Temple-Raston

As special correspondent, Dina Temple-Raston develops programming focused on the news of the day and issues of our time.

Previously, Temple-Raston served as NPR's counter-terrorism correspondent, reporting from all over the world. In that role, Temple-Raston covered deadly terror attacks in the U.S. and abroad, the evolution of ISIS, and radicalization. While on leave from NPR, Dina independently executive produced and hosted a non-NPR podcast about adolescent decision making called What Were You Thinking.

In 2014, she completed a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University where, as the first Murrey Marder Nieman Fellow in Watchdog Journalism, she studied the intersection of Big Data and intelligence.

Prior to joining NPR in 2007, Temple-Raston was a longtime foreign correspondent for Bloomberg News in Asia and served as Bloomberg's White House correspondent during the Clinton Administration. She has written four books, including The Jihad Next Door: Rough Justice in the Age of Terror, about the Lackawanna Six terrorism case. She is a frequent contributor to the PBS Newshour, a regular reviewer of national security books for the Washington Post Book World, and also contributes to The New Yorker, The Atlantic, New York Magazine, Radiolab, the TLS, and the Columbia Journalism Review, among others.

She is a graduate of Northwestern University and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, and she has an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Manhattanville College.

Temple-Raston was born in Belgium and her first language is French. She also speaks Mandarin and a smattering of Arabic.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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