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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Law
4:32 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Should Police Be Able To Keep Their Devices Secret?

Originally published on Thu October 23, 2014 10:58 am

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

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Politics
7:46 am
Sat October 18, 2014

In Alaska Race For Governor, Democrats Try An Unusual Tactic: Dropping Out

Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell was supposed to be cruising to re-election, but he's now in a serious contest against a non-partisan ticket.
Mark Thiessen AP

Originally published on Sat October 18, 2014 3:46 pm

This November, for the first time since Alaska became a state, the ballot won't include a Democratic candidate for governor. The Democrats had a candidate, Byron Mallott, but around Labor Day, he dropped out — in order to sign up as a running mate for a non-partisan candidate named Bill Walker.

His decision to drop out was part of a negotiated deal between the Democrat and Walker, neither of whom had enough support on his own to beat the incumbent Republican, Sean Parnell.

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Politics
6:03 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Fueled By Outside Money, Alaska Candidates Struggle To Connect At Home

Dan Sullivan, Republican candidate for election to the U.S. Senate, fired back when his opponent attacked him for having a non-resident Alaska fishing license.
Becky Bohrer AP

Originally published on Thu October 2, 2014 10:26 pm

Politics in Alaska is an intimate business. People expect to reach their senators on the phone, and they refer to their candidates by their first names.

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Research News
5:05 am
Thu September 25, 2014

For Police, A Debate Over Force, Cop Culture And Confrontation

New York City police officers stand guard in Times Square earlier this month after a blog affiliated with the so-called Islamic State militants mentioned the area as a target for bombing.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 29, 2014 5:00 pm

Protests in Ferguson and New York this summer rekindled an old debate about how American police use force.

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The Two-Way
5:29 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Court Says Navy Investigators Illegally Scan Civilian Computers

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 6:23 pm

An appeals court ruling has offered a rare glimpse at the extent to which military police investigations reach into civilians' computers. Apparently, they scan civilian computers quite often — and to a degree that a 9th Circuit appeals court has now found violates the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act.

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Around the Nation
6:08 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Zero-Tolerance Policing Is Not Racism, Say St. Louis-Area Cops

Police arrest a woman in Ferguson, Mo., protesting the shooting death of Michael Brown. Most officers in Ferguson and nearby Jennings are white, but the neighborhoods they police are predominantly African-American.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 11:57 pm

The protests that followed the shooting death this month of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., have rekindled long-standing complaints about racist policing, especially in the St Louis area.

Many male African-American residents there say police scrutinize them unfairly. "Every time you see a cop, it's like, 'OK, am I going to get messed with?' " says Anthony Ross. "You feel that every single time you get behind your car. Every time."

Now, police officers in and around St. Louis are becoming more vocal about defending themselves against the charges of bias.

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Men In America
5:10 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Freemasonry Still Alive And Well, And (Mostly) Men-Only

Danny Done, 26, worshipful master of the Queen Anne Masonic Lodge in Seattle. The fraternity is "a really interesting social network that's not online," he says.
Martin Kaste NPR

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 11:17 am

The members of the Queen Anne Masonic Lodge near downtown Seattle are on the young side. The guy in charge is 26.

Danny Done, the lodge's worshipful master, is lounging on his designated chair in the room reserved for private ceremonies.

His title comes with a top hat, though he avoids putting it on — he says it makes him look dorky. But he does like other aspects of Masonic regalia, like his Templar sword. Done uses it to point to a diagram on the wall that charts out the different kinds of Masonry.

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U.S.
4:06 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

In Michael Brown's Memory, Pleas For Justice And Calm

Some attendees at Michael Brown's funeral Monday in St. Louis wore ties and buttons depicting the 18-year-old, who was killed two weeks ago in Ferguson, Mo.
Robert Cohen AP

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 8:16 pm

It was 80 degrees before 8 a.m. in St. Louis, but hundreds of people still lined up early to attend Michael Brown's funeral service Monday.

The 18-year-old was laid to rest at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church, more than two weeks after his shooting death by a white police officer in the suburb of Ferguson, Mo. Brown's death touched off days of protests and violence in Ferguson.

His face was everywhere at the service, on T-shirts and silk-screened on the black ties worn by his male relatives.

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The Two-Way
5:25 pm
Sun August 24, 2014

Latecomers Bring Fresh Outrage To Weary Ferguson

Demonstrators march towards the Ferguson Police Department on Friday to protest the killing of unarmed teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.
Adrees Latif Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 1:05 am

It's been two weeks since Michael Brown was shot, and things on Ferguson's West Florissant Avenue have calmed down a lot. The street has a festive feel, like a county fair or a town square in the old days. Locals sit on lawn chairs, kids are out on their bikes, a BBQ truck belches sweet smoke, and people watch the core group of protestors — 15 people or so — walking their block-long circuit, chanting, "Hands up! Don't Shoot!"

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Law
11:48 am
Sat August 23, 2014

Even Police Body Cameras Can Lose Sight Of The Truth

Many residents of Ferguson, Mo., would like to see the police wear video cameras, like this one worn by a Los Angeles police officer.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 1:12 pm

Ferguson, Mo., found a degree of civic calm this week after days and nights of angry clashes between protestors and the police.

Now the city is working to restore trust with residents after a white police officer fatally shot black teenager Michael Brown on Aug. 9. City leaders and residents say one way to do that might be to equip police with personal video cameras.

"All the cops have to have body cameras and dashboard cameras," says resident Alonzo Bond, "so everybody can be accountable."

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Around the Nation
5:01 am
Tue August 19, 2014

Police Militarization Becomes A Hot Topic

Originally published on Tue August 19, 2014 7:35 am

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

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now, the images from Ferguson - images of heavily armed police - have triggered a national debate about whether American cops have become too militarized. President Obama pointed to that concern yesterday.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

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Around the Nation
4:17 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Legal, Sure — But Polite? Washington Weighs Weed Etiquette

Originally published on Mon August 11, 2014 8:40 am

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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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.

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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.

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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.

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