Martin Kaste

Martin Kaste is a correspondent on NPR's National desk. He covers the news throughout the Northwest, with an emphasis on technology and privacy stories.

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

Focusing on technology and privacy issues, Kaste has reported on the government's wireless wiretapping practices as well as the data-collection and analysis that goes on behind the scenes in social media and other new media. His privacy reporting was cited in a US Supreme Court opinion concerning GPS tracking.

Before moving to the West Coast, Kaste spent five years as a reporter for NPR based 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 and 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 policital reporter for Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul for seven years.

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

Pages

Law
3:32 am
Wed July 9, 2014

States Push For Prison Sentence Overhaul; Prosecutors Push Back

The Lafayette Parish Correctional Center in downtown Lafayette, La. By most counts, Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the country, but sentencing reformers have loosened some of the state's mandatory minimum sentences and made parole slightly easier to get.
Denny Culbert for NPR

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 8:01 am

Some red states like Louisiana and Texas have emerged as leaders in a new movement: to divert offenders from prisons and into drug treatment, work release and other incarceration alternatives.

By most counts, Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the country. In recent years, sentencing reformers in the capital, Baton Rouge, have loosened some mandatory minimum sentences and have made parole slightly easier for offenders to get.

But as reformers in Louisiana push for change, they're also running into stiffening resistance — especially from local prosecutors.

Read more
The Two-Way
6:38 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

In A Standoff With Montana Officials, The Justice Department Blinks

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 7:59 pm

The Justice Department announced Tuesday it has resolved a two-year-old standoff with the county attorney in Missoula, Mont., in what was originally a dispute over accusations that local prosecutors weren't doing enough to prosecute rape cases.

Read more
All Tech Considered
5:50 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Can Cop-Worn Cameras Restore Faith In New Orleans Police?

Lt. Travis St. Pierre, of the New Orleans Police Department, shows off a body-worn camera during a press conference in January.
Brett Duke The Times-Picayune/Landov

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 2:23 pm

Body-worn video cameras are quickly becoming standard-issue for American police, especially at departments in the process of reform. And in New Orleans, the troubled police department is now requiring almost all officers to wear the cameras.

The city's police department has a dark history of corruption, racism and brutality. The low point may have been the Danziger Bridge episode, after Hurricane Katrina, when police shot unarmed people, then covered up the crime.

These days, the department is trying to rebuild the public's trust — which is where the body cameras come in.

Read more
Law
6:46 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Invoking 'Castle Doctrine,' Mont. Man Pleads Not Guilty In Teen's Death

German student Diren Dede was fatally shot after he entered the garage of Markus Kaarma in Montana last month. Dede was on a one-year high school exchange program to the U.S.
Oliver Hardt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 9:21 pm

Montana resident Markus Kaarma pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of murdering a German exchange student last month. Kaarma shot the 17-year-old while the student was trespassing in his garage. The case has attracted international scrutiny to the contentious debate over how far Americans may go when defending their homes.

Read more
Around the Nation
5:13 am
Thu May 1, 2014

Seattle Proposal Would Raise City's Minimum Wage To $15 An Hour

Originally published on Fri May 9, 2014 3:24 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The minimum wage may go up anyway in Seattle. Politicians there want to raise the local minimum higher than current 7.25, and higher than President Obama's goal of 10.10. [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: Seattle's current minimum wage, like all of Washington state's, is $9.19 per hour.] Seattle is seriously considering setting the minimum wage at $15.

Here's NPR's Martin Kaste.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Seattle - 15, 15, 15!

Read more
Education
4:22 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Wash. Loses 'No Child Left Behind' Waiver Over Teacher Evaluations

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 7:15 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Washington has become the first state to lose its waiver to the No Child Left Behind Act. Most states have waivers to some of the more stringent requirements of the 2001 federal law but those waivers come with conditions. As NPR's Martin Kaste reports, Washington is being punished because it didn't fulfill a condition that is very dear to the Obama administration.

MARTIN KASTE, BYLINE: What the administration wants is simple. Teachers should be evaluated, in part, on how their students do on standardized tests.

Read more
The Two-Way
8:09 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Feds Rescind Washington State's 'No Child Left Behind' Waiver

Washington has become the first state to have its "No Child Left Behind" waiver revoked by the Obama administration. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan notified the state of his decision today, which will restrict Washington's flexibility in spending federal education dollars.

Read more
Around the Nation
5:00 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Obama To See Effects Of Deadly Mudslide In Oso, Washington

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 12:34 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And on his way to Asia, the president will make a stop in Washington state. There, he will view the destruction from a massive landslide north of Seattle in the town of Oso. Obama will meet with those affected by that disaster and first responders. It was a month ago that the hillside gave way and wiped out a rural neighborhood. Crews have been looking for the remains of victims ever since. The official death toll now stands at 41. NPR's Martin Kaste visited the site, and has this update.

(SOUNDBITE OF CONSTRUCTION)

Read more
The Salt
6:13 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

In The Land Of Razor Clams, Dinner Hides Deep Within The Sand

Clams this fresh taste like tender calamari.
Martin Kaste/NPR

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 1:49 pm

As soon as you drive into town, it's pretty clear that Long Beach, Wash., is all about the razor clam. The first clue is the giant frying pan. It's 14 feet tall and a relic of the clam festivals of the 1940s. And then there's the clam statue that spits when you insert a quarter.

But if you really want to see how much people here love their clams, you'd have to be like Karen Harrell and get up before dawn and drive out onto the blustery beach to go clam digging.

Read more
News
4:16 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Survey: Americans Skeptical Of Prison For Non-Violent Drug Crimes

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 12:22 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Now to a new survey from the Pew Research Center that's found more evidence of a shift in public attitudes toward illegal drug use.

As NPR's Martin Kaste reports, the survey indicates growing public skepticism about prison terms for nonviolent drug offenders.

MARTIN KASTE, BYLINE: This shift has been going on for a while now. Previous polls already showed a new majority in favor of legalizing marijuana. But in this survey, you also see changing attitudes toward harder drugs.

Read more
Around the Nation
4:04 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Washington Landslide Takes A Grim — And Fluctuating — Toll

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 12:08 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.

It's been nine days since the devastating mudslide in the tiny community of Oso, Washington, and it's now apparent that the death toll will not be nearly so high as it once been feared. The loss is still terrible. State officials that 21 people are confirmed dead, dozens are listed as missing. But last week, more than 170 people were reported unaccounted for.

Read more
Around the Nation
5:09 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Landslide Dangers Abound In Whatcom County, Wash.

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 12:18 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

Search crews working in Oso, Wash., north of Seattle, have now found 24 bodies at the site of Saturday's massive landslide. As the efforts there settle into a grim routine, local officials face questions about why so many people lived in such a hazardous area.

NPR's Martin Kaste reports.

(SOUNDBITE OF HELICOPTER)

Read more
News
4:07 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Caution And Concern Prevail In Days Following Washington Landslide

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 6:46 pm

Officials in Washington say they've received 108 reports of people missing in the region hit by a recent landslide. But they say that is a "soft number" and rescue efforts continue.

Around the Nation
5:51 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Treacherous Mud Slide Debris Challenges Rescue Workers

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 12:25 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Search and rescue efforts resume today as soon as the sun comes up on the scene of a landslide about 50 miles north of Seattle. This slide wiped out part of a small town a couple of days ago, killing at least eight people. And authorities are not sure how many people are still missing.

NPR's Martin Kaste reports.

Read more
Around the Nation
6:12 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Missoula County Attorney Tells Justice Department It's Wrong

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 7:32 am

Accused of bias against female victims of sex crimes, the Missoula county attorney turned around and accused the Justice Department of bully tactics. DOJ officials showed up in Missoula two years ago.

Pages