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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 novels: The Convert’s Song (December, 2014) and Triple Crossing (2011). He is also the author of Twilight on the Line: Underworlds and Politics at the U.S.-Mexico Border (1998). He speaks Spanish, French and Italian. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and was born in Chicago.
Nov. 23, 10:44 a.m.Veteran European law enforcement officials, one of them Muslim, reflect on the roots of the Paris attacks, the tense aftermath and the debate about the effectiveness of counterterror forces.
Nov. 18, 8:40 a.m.As a pre-dawn raid today outside Paris targets suspected mastermind of last week’s attack, his roots point to the shadow Belgium casts over the terror threat in Europe.
Oct. 23, 12:16 p.m.Denis Villeneuve’s movie gets much right about the borderlands but crosses the line into exaggeration. A veteran border correspondent compares the film’s underworld to the one he knows.
Sep. 29, 12:26 p.m.Authorities say former members of a Paris neighborhood gang ended up aiding the Charlie Hebdo attack, recruiting militant fighters to Syria.
Sep. 14, 10:30 a.m.Deaths at sea and a chaotic refugee influx reflect the failure of European Union leaders to settle on a common immigration policy, one of Italy’s top elected officials tells ProPublica.
June 23, 4:44 a.m.Sentences are short compared to the U.S.; two Charlie Hebdo attackers and another suspected plotter, now in Yemen, cycled through French jails.
April 21, 8 a.m.After Edward Snowden, the government said its controversial surveillance programs had stopped a terrorist – David Coleman Headley. In “American Terrorist,” ProPublica and PBS “Frontline” show why the claim is largely untrue.
Feb. 11, 10:35 a.m.Whether the crusading prosecutor's death is found to be a suicide or homicide, many Argentines probably won't believe it. The past has taught them to always look for the sinister explanation.
Dec. 21, 2014, 9 p.m.Indian and British intelligence agencies monitored the online activities of a key plotter but couldn’t connect the dots.
Feb. 10, 2014, 3:37 p.m.A federal judge sentences Jorge Vinicio Sosa Orantes to the maximum term for lying on immigration forms about his role in the deaths of 250 people during the Guatemalan civil war.
Oct. 1, 2013, 4:25 p.m.Jorge Vinicio Sosa Orantes, who obtained U.S. and Canadian citizenship, is the highest-ranking soldier convicted on charges related to the slaughter of 250 villagers during the country’s civil war.
Sep. 30, 2013, 3:30 p.m.En un proceso histórico en Estados Unidos, excomandos del ejército guatemalteco dieron testimonio sobre la masacre de 250 residentes en la aldea selvática de Dos Erres durante la guerra civil.
Sep. 30, 2013, 8 a.m.At a historic U.S. trial, former Guatemalan army commandos testify about the massacre of 250 villagers in the jungle hamlet of Dos Erres during the country’s civil war.
Sep. 24, 2013, 11:29 a.m.A survivor of the 1982 Dos Erres massacre and former Guatemalan commandos who carried it out will testify against a former army lieutenant, a U.S. citizen who prosecutors say lied about his involvement.
July 24, 2013, 11:56 a.m.Western support for the opposition in Syria’s bloody civil war raises fears of a blowback from the European extremists who’ve flocked to new land of jihad.
July 11, 2013, 11 a.m.As some in Congress question a State Department report downplaying Iranian influence, intelligence officials say covert Iranian cooperation with Venezuela has been a gateway for hostile activities in the region.
June 19, 2013, 7 a.m.The debate about National Security Agency eavesdropping has left European investigators bemused. U.S. technology collects mountains of data that often aids their cases, they say. But there's no substitute for real human spying.
June 12, 2013, 12:36 p.m.Officials say National Security Agency intercepts stopped David Coleman Headley's planned attack in Denmark, but sources say a tip from the British led to his capture after the U.S. failed for years to connect multiple reports of terror ties.
April 26, 2013, 12:58 p.m.Sophisticated lessons in spycraft, explosives and arms detailed in a Cyprus court case that is forcing the European Union to consider designating the Lebanese-based group as a terrorist organization.
April 19, 2013, 3:30 p.m.Counterterror officials say the emerging portrait suggests the brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev slipped into Islamic extremism under the influence of Internet propaganda.
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