Journalism in the Public Interest


Sebastian Rotella

Sebastian Rotella
Read Sebastian Rotella's e-book, Finding Oscar: Massacre, Memory and Justice in Guatemala, on your Kindle or mobile device.

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Sebastian Rotella is a senior reporter at ProPublica. An award-winning foreign correspondent and investigative reporter, Sebastian worked for almost 23 years for the Los Angeles Times, covering everything from terrorism to arts to the Mexican border. He served most recently as a national security correspondent in Washington, D.C., and his previous posts include international investigative correspondent and bureau chief in Paris and Buenos Aires, with assignments in the Middle East and North Africa.

Rotella has been honored with numerous journalism awards throughout his career. In 2013, his multi-faceted "Finding Oscar" investigation won a Peabody Award, Dart Center Award for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma, and was a finalist for the Scripps Howard Ernie Pyle Award. He was recognized with an Urbino Press Award in 2012 for excellence in journalism. His "A Perfect Terrorist" investigation of the Mumbai attacks (in conjunction with Frontline) was nominated for an Emmy and the online version of the story resulted in his third Overseas Press Club Award in 2011.

In 2006, he was named a Pulitzer finalist for international reporting for his coverage of terrorism and Muslim communities in Europe. He won the German Marshall Fund's senior award for excellence in European reporting the same year. He was part of a team whose coverage of al-Qaida received an award from the Overseas Press Club and finalist honors for Harvard University's Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting in 2002. In 2001, he won Columbia University's Maria Moors Cabot Prize for his career coverage of Latin America. His work in Latin America also won honors from the Overseas Press Club, the Inter-American Press Association and the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

He is the author of two books: Twilight on the Line: Underworlds and Politics at the U.S.-Mexico Border, which was named a New York Times Notable Book in 1998; and the novel, Triple Crossing, published by Little, Brown/Mulholland Books in August, 2011. He speaks Spanish, French and Italian. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and was born in Chicago.

Articles (page 3 of 4)

Chicago Terrorism Trial: What We Learned, and Didn’t, About Pakistan’s Terror Connections

Questions linger after the conviction of a Chicago-based businessman for supporting the group behind the Mumbai terror attacks.

Confessed Terrorist Tried to Help U.S. Track Down Other Terrorists

David Coleman Headley testified Tuesday that he tried to help U.S. authorities lure a suspected mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks out of Pakistan. He also said an al-Qaida-connected leader wanted to assassinate the head of Lockheed Martin.

How Do We Know Pakistan Terror Witness Is Telling the Truth?

Prosecutors knew the star witness in a U.S. federal court trial involving the 2008 Mumbai attacks had a tainted past. So, FBI investigators scoured the world for evidence to corroborate his testimony.

Witness: Pakistani Intel Officer Ordered Hit on Mumbai Jews

Confessed terrorist David Coleman Headley says he met with six Pakistani intelligence officers during his years of terrorist activity. In court on Tuesday he said he was “pleased” when he learned that 166 people had been slaughtered in the Mumbai attacks.

Trial Testimony Intensifies Allegations Pakistan Is Playing Double Game

David Coleman Headley, a confessed Pakistani-American terrorist, alleges that Pakistani officers played a central role in reconnaissance and planning for the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Star Witness in Terror Trial Could Heighten U.S.-Pakistan Tension

Tahawwur Rana is on trial for being an accomplice in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. But the spotlight will be on the star witness, David Coleman Headley, who has pleaded guilty in the case and has said he was working for Pakistan's intelligence service as well as for the terrorist group Lashkar-i-Taiba.

New Details in the bin Laden Docs: Portrait of a Fugitive Micro-Manager

Al Qaeda leader’s writings discuss everything from targeting U.S. leaders to personality clashes among militants.

Pakistan’s Terror Ties at Center of Upcoming Chicago Trial

Federal prosecutors have quietly charged a suspected Pakistani intelligence officer with helping to plot the murders of six Americans in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. The trial of a defendant in the case begins this month in Chicago.

Discovery of Bin Laden Hideout Spotlights Concerns About Pakistan’s Intelligence Service

Suspicions that Bin Laden was protected by Pakistan's intelligence service reinforce longtime allegations that the ISI plays a double game.

Mumbai Case Offers Rare Picture of Ties Between Pakistan’s Intelligence Service, Militants

The U.S. investigation of the 2008 terrorist attack on Mumbai provides a detailed picture of the ties between Pakistan's intelligence service and a leading militant group.

Four Alleged Masterminds of 2008 Mumbai Attacks Are Indicted in Chicago

Four alleged masterminds of the Mumbai attacks have been indicted in a U.S. federal court, including two who have been linked to Pakistan’s government, a close U.S. ally in the fight against terrorism.

Pakistan and the Mumbai Attacks: The Untold Story

The 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai offer a rare picture of the ties between Pakistan’s intelligence service and the militant group Lashkar-i-Taiba. The trail of two key figures, an accused Pakistani mastermind and his American operative, traces the rise of a complex, international threat.

Mumbai: The Plot Unfolds, Lashkar Strikes and Investigators Scramble

Sajid Mir, a mysterious Lashkar chief with close ties to Pakistani security forces, deploys American David Coleman Headley to scout hotels and other targets in Mumbai where foreigners are likely to be found.

The Man Behind Mumbai

U.S. authorities identify a mastermind of plot that killed 166. Whether he will be brought to justice remains uncertain.

Newly Discovered Warnings About Headley Reveal a Troubling Timeline in Mumbai Case

Federal inquiry suggests flawed information-sharing and an overwhelming flow of intelligence kept U.S. investigators from identifying the threat posed by an American terrorist.

Intelligence Chief to Review Handling of Mumbai Tips

The Director of National Intelligence will review the handling of David Coleman Headley, the former U.S. informant and confessed plotter of the Mumbai attacks in 2008

U.S. Embassy Didn’t Pass Along Tip About Headley’s Ties to Mumbai Terrorists

More questions are being raised about how federal law enforcement officials handled two tips they received about David Coleman Headley, the U.S. businessman and former DEA informant who has confessed to helping plot the 2008 terrorist attacks on Mumbai.

Feds Confirm Mumbai Plotter Trained With Terrorists While Working for DEA

Mumbai plotter David Coleman Headley was working as a DEA informant while he trained with terrorists.

FBI Was Warned Years in Advance of Mumbai Attacker’s Terror Ties

Three years before the Mumbai attack, the U.S. was warned that a key figure in the plot had terror ties.

Times Square Bombing Investigation Focuses on Suspected Role of Pakistani Army Major

U.S. investigators are looking into whether a major in Pakistan’s army knew of the plans to attack U.S. targets months before the Times Square bombing attempt.
Sebastian Rotella
Read Sebastian Rotella's e-book, Finding Oscar: Massacre, Memory and Justice in Guatemala, on your Kindle or mobile device.

Contact Info

Get Updates

Stay on top of what we’re working on by subscribing to our email digest.