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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6:15pm

Wed December 10, 2014
Around the Nation

Why Police Departments Have A Hard Time Recruiting Blacks

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 6:35 pm

Police wearing riot gear walk toward a man with his hands raised Aug. 11 in Ferguson, Mo. Renewed calls for police departments to hire more minorities have followed the shooting there of a black man by a white police officer.
Jeff Roberson AP

Since the Ferguson, Mo., shooting, there have been renewed calls for police departments to hire more minority officers, but it turns out it's not that simple.

Police in the U.S. are more diverse than they were a generation ago. In the 1980s, 1 in 6 officers belonged to an ethnic or racial minority. Now it's about 1 in 4. The challenge these days is finding enough recruits to keep that trend going.

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4:54am

Wed December 10, 2014
Around the Nation

Bertha, The Giant Borer That Broke, May Be Sinking Seattle's Downtown

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 6:23 am

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

10:32am

Wed November 26, 2014
The Salt

For Native Alaskans, Holiday Menu Looks To The Wild

Originally published on Wed November 26, 2014 11:19 am

Akutaq or agutak — also known as Eskimo ice cream — is a favorite dessert in western Alaska. It's made with berries and frothed with fat, like Crisco.
Al Grillo AP

When Americans sit down to their Thanksgiving meal, most tables will feature traditional fare: turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberries. But should you be looking for a different kind of holiday meal, head for rural Alaska.

That's where Nellie Gamechuck lives, in a village squeezed between tundra and a bend in the river in the southwest part of the state. Ask her what's for dinner on Thanksgiving, and she opens up the deep freeze. "Walrus meat, moose meat," she says. Digging down through the layers, she reaches the dessert level: salmonberries.

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3:48am

Thu November 20, 2014
Around the Nation

Officer's Death Raises Safety Concerns For Alaska's Unarmed Law Enforcement

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 2:16 pm

Mike Myers is the roving village public safety officer serving southwest Alaska villages including Manokotak. Like many officers in rural Alaska, Myers doesn't carry a gun and often doesn't need one.
Martin Kaste NPR

Americans expect police to carry guns. In most places, it's just assumed that law enforcement is always armed. But not everywhere.

One of the last exceptions to the rule is the native communities of rural Alaska, such as Manokotak, a Yupik village of about 400 in southwest Alaska. Hunters and fishermen live there in modest houses huddled along a few roads.

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4:52pm

Wed November 19, 2014
Around the Nation

Bush Pilot Helps Rural Alaskan Police Explore Isolated Villages

Originally published on Wed November 19, 2014 8:09 pm

Bush pilot John Bouker (right) and village public safety officer Mike Myers (left) outside Bouker's Cessna 207. Bouker transports Alaskan cops to remote areas and helps pick up prisoners.
Martin Kaste NPR

In order to reach what Alaskans call "The Bush" — villages isolated across tundra — you'll need a bush pilot. That's where John Bouker comes in.

Most of Bouker's passengers are civilians he transports to and from Alaska's remote villages. He does his job with the nonchalance of a suburban dad in a minivan dropping his kids off at the mall.

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3:26am

Thu November 6, 2014
Environment

Republican Sweep Highlights Climate Change Politics In Alaska

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 11:15 am

Oil, carried here by the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, is fundamental to the state's economy. But Alaskans also face the effects of climate change in their daily lives.
Al Grillo AP

On election night in a hotel ballroom in Anchorage, Alaska, Sen. Lisa Murkowski picked up a chair and waved it over her head.

"I am the chairmaaaaaaaaaaan!" she shouted.

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5:05am

Tue November 4, 2014
Politics

Democrats, GOP Throw Money At Alaska's U.S. Senate Campaigns

Originally published on Tue November 4, 2014 12:35 pm

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

5:38pm

Thu October 30, 2014
The Two-Way

Maker Of 'Body Cams' Used By Police Reports Spike In Sales

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 7:31 pm

Washington, D.C., police officer Debra Domino wears a body camera at City Hall in September.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Taser International is reporting a big jump in demand by police departments for "body cameras." The company, one of the biggest providers of body cams to police departments, says 2014 sales of its "Axon Body" model are up 300 percent over last year, and sales of its more expensive "Axon Flex" camera have doubled.

And what's interesting is that this spike started well before the August shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

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5:17pm

Tue October 28, 2014
The Two-Way

FBI Spoofs News Story To Send Spyware To Suspect

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 8:06 pm

It was already known that the FBI uses spyware to investigate people — that was clear in federal documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. What hasn't been fully appreciated until now was the lengths to which the FBI will go to infect a target's computer.

"Presumably, your typical Nigerian scam email offering $10 million dollars isn't going to work," says Christopher Soghoian of the ACLU.

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7:46am

Sat October 18, 2014
Politics

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

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

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

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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