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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National Security
3:49 am
Fri December 12, 2014

When Americans Head To Syria, How Much Of A Threat Do They Pose?

Ana and John Conley, parents of defendant Shannon Conley, exit the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Denver following their daughter's plea hearing on Sept. 10. Shannon Conley, 19, pleaded guilty on a charge that she intended to wage jihad.
Brennan Linsley AP

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 6:34 pm

Shannon Maureen Conley was just 19, barely out of high school and a convert to Islam, when she fell in love with a Tunisian man who said he was an Islamic State fighter in Syria. And, according to a criminal complaint, she wanted to leave her Denver suburb and join him.

Over the course of five months, the FBI talked to Conley nine times, trying to persuade her not to go to Syria.

But it didn't work. According to a local news report, her father tipped off the FBI after he found her one-way ticket from Denver to Turkey.

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National Security
5:15 am
Thu December 11, 2014

ISIS Used Predatory Tools And Tactics To Convince U.S. Teens To Join

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 10:19 am

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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National Security
4:54 am
Wed December 10, 2014

Report Reveals Deeply Misguided Interrogation Tactics, Feinstein Says

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 2:16 pm

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

What has come to be known as the "Torture Report" by Senate investigators broke more new ground than expected. Lawmakers examined interrogations of terror suspects after 9/11.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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The Two-Way
12:39 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Al-Qaida Reasserts Itself With Khorasan Group

Supporters of the al-Nusra Front protest in Aleppo, Syria, on Sept. 26, days after airstrikes there targeted the al-Qaida unit called Khorasan. U.S. officials say some top Khorasan leaders were embedded with the Nusra Front, al-Qaida's arm in Syria.
Fadi al-Halabi AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 3, 2014 6:17 pm

One of the first targets of U.S. airstrikes in Syria was an al-Qaida unit that American officials call the Khorasan Group. Because few outside the intelligence community had ever heard of it, some critics have said Khorasan was created out of whole cloth to give the U.S. an excuse to bomb Syria.

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Middle East
5:17 am
Thu September 25, 2014

Prominent Muslim Sheik Issues Fatwa Against ISIS Violence

Sheik Abdullah bin Bayyah is interviewed about his fatwa explaining why ISIS is wrong to claim that Islam supports violence and the establishment of a caliphate by force.
Dina Temple-Raston NPR

Originally published on Fri September 26, 2014 9:55 am

In a speech before the U.N. General Assembly laying out a blueprint for the global battle against the group that calls itself the Islamic State, President Obama called on the world to take a stand against religious extremism. "The ideology of ISIL or al-Qaida or Boko Haram will wilt and die if it is consistently exposed and confronted and refuted in the light of day," Obama said.

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The Two-Way
2:45 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Al-Qaida's Khorasan Group Led By Hard-Core Fighters

Lt. Gen. William C. Mayville Jr., Joint Staff Director of Operations, speaks about airstrikes in Syria during a briefing at the Pentagon yesterday.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 24, 2014 7:28 am

While the al-Qaida offshoot known as the Khorasan Group only burst into the public consciousness in the past week, the group has been on the radar of counterterrorism officials for a while, and intelligence officials say they have tracked the individual members of the group for years.

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Parallels
3:29 am
Fri August 29, 2014

For Islamic State, Hitting The U.S. May Not Be A Top Priority

This image, posted on a militant website, shows an Islamic State fighter waving a flag from a captured government fighter jet in Raqqa, Syria. The group is well-funded and has gained territory over the past few months; that's raised some concerns in America, although experts say the organization is largely focused on regional goals.
AP

Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 12:04 pm

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel recently talked about the militants associated with the Islamic State, the group also known as ISIL or ISIS. He made them sound 10 feet tall.

"ISIL is as sophisticated and well-funded as any group we have seen," he said. "They are beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology [and] a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess; they are tremendously well-funded. This is beyond anything we've seen."

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Parallels
3:42 am
Thu August 28, 2014

Brooklyn Man Fights In Syria. Is He A Threat To The U.S.?

This image obtained by NPR shows Ahmed al-Moflihi, a Yemeni-American who is believed to have fought in the Syrian civil war.
NPR

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 10:59 am

Mocha Hookah is a little Middle Eastern restaurant and cafe on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn where you can pick up a shawarma gyro sandwich and a falafel platter and still get change back from your $20 bill. Walk inside and there's Arabic music, soccer games on flat screen televisions, and a hookah, or water pipe, set up at every table.

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Parallels
3:39 am
Wed August 27, 2014

U.S. Officials Try To Gauge Threat From American Fighters In Syria

American Eric Harroun threatened Bashar Assad on Facebook and YouTube. He spent six weeks fighting with a rebel army, a journey that did not end well for him.
ABC News YouTube

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 1:38 pm

The heyday of "war tourism" was probably the 1930s, when a host of intellectuals and artists left the U.S. to bear witness to the Spanish Civil War. Ernest Hemingway wrote about it. George Orwell, just to name another, actually fought in it.

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National Security
4:10 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

Failed Foley Rescue Reveals Challenges Faced By U.S. Intelligence

Originally published on Thu August 21, 2014 6:24 pm

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

Middle East
4:13 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Militants Behead American Journalist, Leveling New Threats At U.S.

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 8:30 pm

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

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Today, American foreign policy intersected with personal tragedy. The parents of James Foley spoke about their son. He's the American journalist killed by the extremist group known as the Islamic State.

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The Two-Way
6:15 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Big Data Firm Says It Can Link Snowden Data To Changed Terrorist Behavior

This photo provided by The Guardian in London shows Edward Snowden, who worked as a contract employee at the National Security Agency, in Hong Kong last year.
AP

Originally published on Mon August 18, 2014 5:28 am

Editor's note on Aug. 17 at 11:25 a.m. ET: A clarification and links to the ombudsman's critique of this post have been added.

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News
4:40 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Obama: U.S. Confident That Missile Came From Rebel-Held Region

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 7:54 pm

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

Transcript

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Parallels
5:42 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Against 'Islamic State' Militants, Treasury May Need To Try New Tools

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 8:24 pm

In the fight against terrorist organizations, one weapon has been effective in the past: cutting off their funding.

Terrorist groups tend to get their money from outside donors or charities. But the Islamic State, the group that now controls huge areas of Syria and Iraq, doesn't get its money that way. So the methods the U.S. Treasury has used to fight terrorist groups in the past won't work as well.

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Iraq
4:09 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

For Militants, Founding Of Caliphate Is Win In Rhetoric, Not Reality

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 6:26 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Iraq
12:43 pm
Sat June 28, 2014

Western Fighters Answer Mideast Extremists' Clarion Call

This image posted on a militant website shows ISIS fighters marching in Raqqa, Syria, where the extremist group trains recruits, including Westerners.
AP

Originally published on Thu August 21, 2014 6:06 pm

This week a young man in Texas became the first American to plead guilty to terrorism charges related to the recent fighting in Iraq.

Michael Wolfe, 23, was arrested just before he boarded a plane. He was on his way to join ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the Sunni extremist group that has been storming its way across Iraq for the past two weeks.

ISIS and hundreds of other rebel groups in Syria have inspired thousands of young men around the world to leave their homes and join the fight.

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Iraq
4:07 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Insurgents Draw Westerners To Battle In Iraq And Syria

Originally published on Wed September 3, 2014 4:26 pm

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Parallels
3:15 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Behind ISIS Battle In Iraq, A Clash Between Two Arch-Terrorists

Fighting between Iraqi government forces and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria leaves buildings destroyed in Ramadi on Tuesday.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 2:32 pm

While eyes have been focused on Sunni extremists and their lightning campaign across Iraq, there is a much more fundamental war raging behind the scenes.

It is a clash between two arch-terrorists: the head of al-Qaida's central operation, Ayman al-Zawahri, and the man leading the Sunni extremist charge in Iraq, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The outcome of the battle between the two men could fundamentally change the face of terrorism.

The dust-up between Zawahri and Baghdadi broke out in the open earlier this year, and it centered on territory.

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Parallels
4:15 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

ISIS Brings Business Acumen To Violent Jihad

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria runs a sophisticated social media strategy, which includes images like this one it posted from Mosul, Iraq, on June 12 after it took control of the city. Analysts say ISIS has succeeded in bringing professional acumen to the business of violent jihad.
AP

Originally published on Wed June 25, 2014 9:30 pm

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is proving to be both militant and disciplined, borrowing organizational tools from the corporate world to professionalize its operations.

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Parallels
3:27 am
Wed June 25, 2014

How Much Does A Terrorist Attack Cost? A Lot Less Than You'd Think

Fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria march in Raqaa, Syria, in a picture posted on Jan. 14. The group is believed to hold as much as $2 billion.
AP

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 9:28 am

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is flush with cash, and holds as much as $2 billion. Counterterrorism officials say the group knows how to use that money to its advantage. It's showing a kind of professional acumen and discipline that sets it apart from other terrorist organizations. But what kinds of attacks can its money buy?

Back in 2006, when Germany was hosting the World Cup soccer tournament, a terrorist attack was narrowly averted. With bombs hidden in their suitcases, two men in their 20s boarded commuter trains in the city of Cologne.

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Technology
4:32 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Using Social Media, Jihadi Groups Stay On Message

Originally published on Thu June 5, 2014 7:58 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. >>CORNISH: It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish. The Taliban scored a propaganda coup when it's video of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's release went viral. The video was so popular that within hours the Taliban website crashed. Jihadi groups from Afghanistan to Iraq to Syria, have developed sophisticated media campaigns to get their messages out and attract new followers. And as NPR's Dina Temple-Raston reports, social media is playing a bigger and bigger role.

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National Security
3:09 am
Fri April 25, 2014

The Jewish Kid From New Jersey Who Became A Radical Islamist

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 9:33 am

Yousef al-Khattab helped change the way young Muslims were radicalized by spewing extreme Islamist propaganda on a YouTube channel.

Now al-Khattab, who was born Joseph Leonard Cohen and was brought up in New Jersey and in Brooklyn in a Jewish home, tells NPR he made a big mistake and describes himself as a "failure." He's scheduled to appear in a federal court in Alexandria, Va., on Friday to be sentenced on terrorism charges.

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National Security
7:13 am
Sat June 8, 2013

Civil Liberties Group Concerned Over NSA Programs

Originally published on Sun June 9, 2013 5:39 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The news that the National Security Agency is collecting reams of telephone data and tracking Internet behavior has alarmed civil liberties groups. President Obama believes U.S. citizens have no need to worry.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: One of the things that we're going to have to discuss and debate is how are we striking this balance between the need to keep the American people safe and our concerns about privacy, because there are some tradeoffs involved.

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National Security
4:44 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Obama Speech Expected To Touch On Drones, Guantanamo

Originally published on Fri May 24, 2013 12:54 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

For months now, the Obama administration has promised to reveal more about America's secret drone program, and today could be the day. The president will speak this afternoon at the National Defense University, and he's planning to discuss America's fight against terrorism. He is expected to address everything from drones to the prison at Guantanamo Bay.

NPR's Dina Temple-Raston has this preview.

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Law
6:40 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

FBI Shoots And Kills Man Tied To Boston Bombing Suspect

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

There has been an unexpected turn in the Boston Marathon bombing case. A man who was thought to have ties with one of the bombing suspects was shot dead early this morning by authorities in Florida. He allegedly tried to attack an FBI agent who was interviewing him. NPR's Dina Temple-Raston has been following the story and is here with the latest. Hi, Dina.

DINA TEMPLE-RASTON, BYLINE: Hi there.

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Explosions At Boston Marathon
6:25 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Investigators Trace Tamerlan Tsarnaev's Activities Abroad

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 4:57 pm

The investigation into the Boston Marathon bombing continues. Investigators have spoken with the parents of the suspects in Russia. Audie Cornish talks to Dina Temple-Raston about the latest developments.

Explosions At Boston Marathon
6:11 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

Investigators Name Two Suspects In Boston Bombing

Originally published on Thu April 18, 2013 10:26 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

We begin this hour with a major break in the investigation into Monday's bombings at the Boston Marathon.

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Law
3:24 am
Mon April 8, 2013

Osama Bin Laden's Son-In-Law Set To Appear In N.Y. Court

Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith (center), pleaded not guilty to a charge of conspiracy to kill Americans on March 8. He is set to appear in a federal court Monday.
Elizabeth Williams AP

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 10:32 am

Osama bin Laden's son-in-law and former al-Qaida spokesman Sulaiman Abu Ghaith is expected to appear in a New York courtroom Monday afternoon.

Abu Ghaith was captured by U.S. officials in February, and his arrest is considered important not just because he was so close to bin Laden, but also because the Obama administration has decided to try him in a federal court instead of using a military commission at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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Asia
3:15 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Pakistan's Ambitious Program To Re-Educate Militants

Pakistani men who worked for the Taliban attend a class at Mishal, an army-run rehabilitation center in Pakistan's Swat Valley, on July 5, 2011. This and similar centers are trying to re-educate men taken in by the Taliban, who ruled Swat before the military drove out the insurgents in 2009.
Farooq Naeem AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 5, 2013 8:50 am

A Pakistani army officer named Col. Zeshan is giving a tour of a jihadi rehabilitation center secreted in the hills of northwest Pakistan's Swat Valley.

"This place was also captured by the Taliban," he says, walking me around the heavily guarded complex. "The army took over this place from them ... when the war was going on."

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The Two-Way
11:51 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Bin Laden's Son-In-Law Arrested, Brought To U.S.

A man identified as Sulaiman Abu Ghaith appears in this still image taken from an undated video address. A son-in-law of Osama bin Laden who served as al Qaeda's spokesman, Abu Gaith was detained in Jordan and sent to the United States.
HANDOUT Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 11:22 am

Update at 4:30 p.m. EST. Details Of Capture

Osama bin Laden's son-in-law and a former al-Qaida spokesman, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, is in U.S. custody and is being held in a Manhattan jail. He could appear in a federal court as soon as Friday, U.S. officials familiar with the case say.

His capture is considered important not just because he was so close to bin Laden but also because U.S. officials have decided to try him in a federal court, not Guantanamo Bay.

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