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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4:57pm

Wed May 21, 2014
Law

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

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 7:21 pm

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

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.

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2:00pm

Wed April 30, 2014
News

Botched Oklahoma Execution Mobilizes Death Penalty Opponents

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 4:18 pm

Oklahoma death row inmate Clayton Lockett's execution was botched on Tuesday, when a relatively new combination of drugs failed to work as expected. The incident, the second of its kind in recent months, is renewing questions of what constitutes "cruel and unusual punishment."

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2:12pm

Fri April 25, 2014
Education

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

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 5:15 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.

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3:53pm

Fri April 18, 2014
The Salt

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

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 11:49 am

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

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.

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9:50am

Tue April 15, 2014
All Tech Considered

Apple Upgrade Tracks Customers Even When Marketing Apps Are Off

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 8:50 am

iPhone geotracking gets better. Or is it worse?
Patrick Kovarik AFP/Getty Images

The people who design marketing apps are celebrating a change in the way iBeacon works on iPhones. That's the Bluetooth-based system that lets a store track a customer's movements, and capitalize on them. For instance, if iBeacon detects you lingering in the shoe department, it might send you a digital coupon for socks.

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2:16pm

Wed April 2, 2014
News

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

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 10:22 am

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.

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2:04pm

Mon March 31, 2014
Around the Nation

Washington Landslide Takes A Grim — And Fluctuating — Toll

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 10:08 am

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

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

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12:54pm

Tue March 25, 2014
All Tech Considered

Your Smartphone Is A Crucial Police Tool, If They Can Crack It

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 5:28 pm

New software and gizmos are revolutionizing police work, with social media scanners, facial recognition and other high tech items. As it turns out, though, the single most valuable new police tool is your smartphone.

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2:33pm

Mon March 24, 2014
News

Caution And Concern Prevail In Days Following Washington Landslide

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 4:46 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.

4:12am

Wed March 12, 2014
Around the Nation

Missoula County Attorney Tells Justice Department It's Wrong

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 5:32 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.

3:43am

Sat March 1, 2014
Around the Nation

Sand Grinds World's Largest Tunneling Machine To A Halt

Originally published on Sat March 1, 2014 9:03 am

The Seattle tunneling machine known as Bertha, which started its task in July, is now stuck 60 feet underground.
Ted S. Warren AP

Contractors working for the state of Washington are planning a high-stakes operation to rescue Bertha — the world's largest tunneling machine.

Bertha is supposed to be boring a 2-mile highway tunnel under downtown Seattle, but it got stuck in December.

Bertha is on Seattle's waterfront, between South Main and South Jackson streets, about 60 feet straight down. At first, they thought the machine was being stymied by a big glacial rock. Then attention focused on the chewed-up remains of a metal pipe. But now it seems Bertha's ailment is mechanical.

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7:04pm

Fri February 28, 2014
All Tech Considered

As Police Monitor Social Media, Legal Lines Become Blurred

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 8:35 pm

BlueJay, a tool by social media monitoring company BrightPlanet, shows the locations of tweeters who have left their geotagging option activated.
BlueJay screenshot

Social media monitoring started in the world of marketing, allowing companies to track what people were saying about their brands. But now, with software that allows users to scan huge volumes of public postings on social media, police are starting to embrace it as well.

Many police departments in Britain use a product sold by CrowdControlHQ. CEO James Leavesley says the company is in the business of monitoring "social media risk."

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2:01pm

Fri February 28, 2014
All Tech Considered

As Police Monitor Social Media, Legal Lines Become Blurred

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 6:33 pm

BlueJay, a tool by social media monitoring company BrightPlanet, shows the locations of tweeters who have left their geotagging option activated.
BlueJay screenshot

Social monitoring started in the world of marketing, allowing companies to track what people were saying about their brands. But now, with software that allows users to scan huge volumes of public postings on social media, police are starting to embrace it as well.

Many police departments in Britain use a product sold by CrowdControlHQ. CEO James Leavesley calls it a "social media risk media and monitoring" company, meant primarily as a means of staying in touch with the public. But Leavesley says it's also a way to detect trouble.

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2:37pm

Fri February 21, 2014
All Tech Considered

In 'Domain Awareness,' Detractors See Another NSA

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 1:00 pm

Protesters line up outside City Hall in Oakland, Calif., to demonstrate against the Domain Awareness Center, a data integration system being built by the city and the Port of Oakland.
Martin Kaste NPR

Police are like the rest of us; they suffer from information overload. The data pour in from 21st century sources ranging from license plate readers to Twitter. But as the information comes in, it hits an old-fashioned bottleneck: human beings.

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2:13pm

Mon February 17, 2014
Technology

Cold War Technology Sought By Spy Is In Your Pocket — Sort Of

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 5:59 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

And now to All Tech Considered.

(SOUNDBITE OF THEME MUSIC)

CORNISH: Today is a tricky business of keeping some American technologies out of foreign hands. When a man from Hong Kong met with an aerospace company in Seattle last week, he was really dealing with an undercover Homeland Security agent. See Kee Chin allegedly tried to buy $85,000 worth of highly specialized accelerometers. He was arrested and charged with trying to smuggle the parts to China.

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12:53pm

Thu January 30, 2014
The Two-Way

New Animation Details What Went Wrong In 2010 Plant Explosion

A Tesoro Corp. refinery is shown Friday, April 2, 2010, in Anacortes, Wash., after an explosion and fire that killed eight people.
Ted S. Warren AP

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board has released its draft report into the causes of a devastating 2010 explosion at a Tesoro refinery on Puget Sound. The accident killed seven workers, and the community has been increasingly upset by how long the investigation has dragged on.

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3:10pm

Fri January 24, 2014
The Two-Way

Holder Favors Pot Banking, And Legal Dealers Shrug

A marijuana bud and cash at a shop in Denver. An owner of marijuana stores in the city says of his company's bank account, "We treat it like gold."
Ed Andrieski AP

When I heard late Thursday that Attorney General Eric Holder had come out in favor of bank accounts for state-sanctioned pot businesses, I assumed the industry would react with cheers. After all, they've long complained about being black-balled by banks, which are justifiably afraid of violating federal laws against handling drug money.

But when I started calling around today, the reactions ranged from "That's nice" to "Meh."

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3:32pm

Fri January 10, 2014
U.S.

Marijuana 'Hash Oil' Explodes In Popularity, And Kitchens

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 5:19 pm

Jim Andersen displays butane hash oil at a marijuana growing facility in Seattle in April 2013. The state's licensed producers will be required to use professional-grade equipment when making the extracts.
Elaine Thompson AP

If you think the recent liberalization of marijuana laws around the country is only about smoking leaves and buds, think again. For users younger than 25, "hash oil" is where it's really at. This concentrated resin of marijuana is creating new public safety headaches — even in places where it's legal.

There have always been forms of the substance, but the resins available today are much stronger than in years past. That's due in part to the expertise developed by medical marijuana producers, who have learned how to make more potent versions of the oil.

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2:35pm

Tue December 24, 2013
Around the Nation

A Late Christmas Tree May Not Be A Beauty, But It's A Tradition

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 6:02 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

For a lot of families, Christmas tree tradition spark household debate. For instance, tinsel or beads; white lights or multicolored; star or angel on top. And for some people, it's not how to decorate the tree. It is when to put it up, early or late, late being now, Christmas Eve. NPR's Martin Kaste falls into that last category.

MARTIN KASTE, BYLINE: Yes, I belong to that small and shrinking tribe. We're the ones lurking in the Christmas tree lots at the last possible moment. You guys shutting down already?

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8:05am

Sun December 22, 2013
Around the Nation

'Bertha' Still Stuck In Her Tunnel Under Seattle

Originally published on Sun December 22, 2013 12:33 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. The people of Seattle are puzzled by a mystery unfolding underground: the world's biggest tunneling machine is stuck about 75 feet under street level where it's digging a nearly two-mile-long highway right under downtown Seattle. As NPR's Martin Kaste reports, engineers say it'll take until January to figure out what is causing the block.

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