Dina Temple-Raston

As part of NPR's national security team, Dina Temple-Raston reports about counterterrorism at home and abroad for NPR News. Her reporting can be heard on NPR's newsmagazines. She joined NPR in March 2007.

Recently, she was chosen for a Neiman Fellowship at Harvard. These fellowships are given to mid-career journalists. While pursuing the fellowship during the 2013-2014 academic year, Temple-Raston will be temporarily off the air.

Prior to NPR, Temple-Raston was a longtime foreign correspondent for Bloomberg News in Asia. She opened Bloomberg's Shanghai and Hong Kong offices and worked for Bloomberg's financial wire and radio operations. She also served as Bloomberg News' White House correspondent during the Clinton administration and covered financial markets and economics for both USA Today and CNNfn.

Temple-Raston is an award-winning author. Her first book concerning race in America, entitled A Death in Texas, won the Barnes' and Noble Discover Award and was chosen as one of the Washington Post's Best Books of 2002. Her second book, on the role Radio Mille Collines played in fomenting the Rwandan genocide, was a Foreign Affairs magazine bestseller. Her more recent two books relate to civil liberties and national security. The first, In Defense of Our America (HarperCollins) coauthored with Anthony D. Romero, the executive director of the ACLU, looks at civil liberties in post-9/11 America. The other explores America's first so-called "sleeper cell", the Lackawanna Six, and the issues that face Muslims in America, The Jihad Next Door.

Temple-Raston holds a Bachelor's degree from Northwestern University and a Master's degree from the Columbia University's School of Journalism. She has an honorary doctorate from Manhattanville College. She was born in Belgium and French was her first language. She also speaks Arabic. She is a U.S. citizen.

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World
3:10 am
Sun December 30, 2012

Street Signs Intended To Give Pakistani City New Direction

Street signs in the city of Lahore, Pakistan, are rare. The few that exist are in disrepair, like the one above. Two entrepreneurs are looking to change that and improve navigation in the city.
Dina Temple-Raston

Originally published on Wed March 20, 2013 8:31 am

Landlords built Lahore in a haphazard way over centuries. They didn't concern themselves with city grids or sensible mapping. As a result, Lahore is renowned in Pakistan for being almost impossible to navigate.

And that's where Asim Fayaz and Khurram Siddiqi come in.

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World
2:29 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

In Pakistan, Tax Evaders Are Everywhere — Government Included

An investigative report found that less than a third of Pakistani lawmakers filed tax returns for 2011. The report said Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari, photographed in Paris in December, did not file a return, though his spokesman says he did.
Kenzo Tribouillard AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 6:32 pm

Tax evasion is a chronic problem in Pakistan — only about 2 percent of the population is registered in the tax system, and the government collects just 9 percent of the country's wealth in taxes, one of the lowest rates in the world.

But now a new investigative report is making headlines. It says that just a third of the country's 446 federal lawmakers bothered to file income tax returns last year.

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NPR Story
2:53 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Gunmen In Pakistan Target Polio Vaccinators

Rukhsana Bibi (center) mourns for her daughter, polio worker Madiha Bibi, killed by unknown gunmen, at a local hospital in Karachi on Tuesday. Gunmen staged additional attacks Wednesday.
Fareed Khan AP

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 3:44 am

Pakistani gunmen staged new attacks Wednesday on health workers carrying out a nationwide polio vaccination program. Six workers were killed Tuesday as they went house to house to administer the immunizations to area children in Karachi and the northwest city of Peshawar.

Although there were additional attacks, the Pakistani government vowed to continue the vaccination campaign — and eradicate the disease — even if there is bloodshed.

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The Two-Way
1:31 am
Mon November 5, 2012

Recovery To Take 'Quite A Long Time' In Storm-Ravaged Breezy Point

A chapel icon that once adorned the front of a beachfront home is one of the few items to have survived what is now known as the Breezy Point fire in Queens.
Dina Temple-Raston NPR

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 6:17 pm

Anyone who traveled to Breezy Point, Queens, in New York City in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, even as recently as a few of days ago, would have needed an SUV — its main thoroughfare was under 3 feet of water. Today, you can see pavement. It sounds like a small victory, but this beachfront, blue-collar town is willing to accept progress in increments.

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National Security
2:30 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

As Jihadists Spread, Connecting The Dots Proves Hard

The Ansar Dine group in northeastern Mali is among the Islamist factions proliferating in North Africa and the Middle East. Officials have focused on possible links between these groups and al-Qaida, but counterterrorism experts say understanding the differences is just as important.
Adama Diarra Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 3:57 pm

More than a year after popular protests rocked the Arab world, U.S. intelligence officials are struggling to understand the myriad of Islamist groups that have filled the vacuum.

Those groups run the gamut from moderate believers who are willing to give the political process a try to violent extremists. The difficulty is figuring out which is which.

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National Security
3:58 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Minnesota Case Re-Opens Wounds Among Somalis

Burhan Hassan of Minnesota was recruited to fight in Somalia for al-Shabab, which the U.S. calls a terrorist group. He was killed there in 2009. This undated file photo released by his family in 2008.
Anonymous AP

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 5:12 pm

For nearly three weeks, the benches at the back of a federal courtroom in Minneapolis were filled with local Somalis. The man on trial, Mahamud Said Omar, was accused of conspiring to help a terrorist group recruit some two dozen young Minnesota men to fight a holy war in Somalia.

It took a federal jury just eight hours to convict him of all of the five terrorism charges leveled against him, but the verdict is only the beginning for the Somali community in the Twin Cities.

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National Security
5:09 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Man Arrested In Plot To Blow Up NY Federal Reserve

A man has been arrested in an alleged terror plot to blow up the Federal Reserve building in New York City. Federal authorities and the New York Police Department collaborated to foil the plot apparently conceived by a Bangladeshi man, Quazi Mohammd Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis. Nafis is said to have conceived the plot. However, authorities learned of the plot and actually provided what appeared to be the bomb. It was inert and there was no threat to the public.

National Security
5:26 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Court Overturns Conviction Of Bin Laden Driver

A federal appeals court on Tuesday threw out the conviction of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a former driver for Osama bin Laden, who served a prison term for material support for terrorism.
AP

A federal appeals court on Tuesday overturned the conviction of Osama bin Laden's former driver and bodyguard, Salim Ahmed Hamdan. If the name sounds familiar, it should. Hamdan was at the center of a Supreme Court case that ruled that the Bush administration's military commission system at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was unconstitutional.

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National Security
1:07 am
Mon October 8, 2012

Predicting The Future: Fantasy Or A Good Algorithm?

Originally published on Mon October 8, 2012 9:47 am

After failing to predict the Arab Spring, intelligence officials are now exploring whether Big Data, the combing of billions of pieces of disparate electronic information, can help them identify hot spots before they explode. The intelligence community has always been in the business of forecasting the future. The question is whether tapping into publicly available data — Twitter and news feeds and blogs among other things — can help them do that faster and more precisely.

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Asia
3:58 am
Sat October 6, 2012

U.S. Drones Navigate Murky Legal Path In Pakistan

An unmanned U.S. Predator drone sits on the tarmac of Kandahar military airport in southern Afghanistan in 2010. The U.S. has been using drones in Pakistan for years. The Pakistanis initially claimed the drone attacks as the work of their own military, but the strikes have become a source of friction.
Massoud Hossaini AP

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 6:15 pm

The U.S. has been carrying out drone strikes in Pakistan for some eight years, but it's done so under a policy that has emerged piecemeal over that time.

"It started in 2004, when drones were really an oddity," says Daniel Markey, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He was on the State Department's policy planning staff when it all started during the Bush administration.

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Africa
2:37 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Benghazi Attack Raises New Questions About Al-Qaida

U.S. authorities are investigating whether al-Qaida played a role in last month's attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. Here, a damaged vehicle sits outside the consulate one day after the attack.
EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 9:07 pm

For the past decade, al-Qaida has been a top-down organization.

Letters seized at Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan showed that he was a hands-on manager, approving everything from operations to leadership changes in affiliate groups.

But there's early intelligence that al-Qaida may have had a small role in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, on Sept. 11.

If al-Qaida involvement is confirmed, it may signal that al-Qaida has changed.

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Middle East
1:35 am
Thu September 20, 2012

U.S., Libyan Versions Of Consulate Attack Diverge

The U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was in flames during an attack on Sept. 11. There are competing narratives on whether the attack was premeditated.
Esam Omran Al-Fetori Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 7:24 am

The attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya last week has led to dueling versions of what unfolded that night in Benghazi.

To hear the Obama administration tell it, the attack that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans was spontaneous — and staged by local extremists who saw an opportunity to hijack peaceful demonstrations against an offensive film.

The Libyans have a different view. They say it was a premeditated strike, launched by foreign fighters with ties to al-Qaida.

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The Two-Way
10:45 am
Thu September 6, 2012

Percent Of Detainees Who Return To Terrorism After Release Edges Up

Almost 28 percent of the detainees transferred out of the U.S.-run detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have either returned to terrorism or are suspected of having done so, the Director of National Intelligence says in a new report.

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National Security
1:38 am
Wed August 15, 2012

Taliban Showing New Willingness On Prisoner Swap

This image provided by IntelCenter on Dec. 8, 2010, shows a frame grab from a video released by the Taliban containing footage of a man believed to be Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. The 26-year-old Army sergeant was captured by the Taliban more than three years ago.
AP

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 3:14 am

There are new glimmers of hope for the only known U.S. prisoner of war held captive in Afghanistan — 26-year-old Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured by the Taliban more than three years ago. After lengthy discussions, it appears his captors may be more receptive than ever before to finding a way to send him home.

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Middle East
3:14 am
Fri August 3, 2012

U.S. Sees Signs Of Al-Qaida Arm In Syria

Members of the Free Syrian Army are seen in a neighborhood of Damascus, Syria on June 28. Several huge suicide bombings this year suggest al-Qaida or other extremists are joining the battle against President Bashar Assad's regime.
AP

Originally published on Sat August 4, 2012 3:34 am

Late last month, counterterrorism officials discovered a disturbing video on YouTube that showed what appeared to be a faction of the Syrian rebel army standing in front of a fluttering black banner. The mysterious flag — which read "no god but God" in white Arabic cursive — is thought to be a reproduction of the Prophet Muhammad's battle flag. It has also become al-Qaida in Iraq's calling card in Syria.

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National Security
3:50 am
Sat July 14, 2012

Osama's Driver Freed In Latest Guantanamo Release

Ibrahim al-Qosi, shown here on July 11 in Khartoum, Sudan, was released from Guantanamo Bay prison this week after spending a decade there. He was Osama bin Laden's former driver, and he pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy with al-Qaida and supporting terrorism. There are now 168 prisoners remaining at Guantanamo.
STR Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 2:54 pm

The latest detainee to leave the Guantanamo Bay prison boarded an Air Force jet earlier this week. His destination: Sudan. The man, 52-year-old Ibrahim al-Qosi, had admitted to being Osama bin Laden's bookkeeper, driver and sometime cook, and he was one of the first prisoners to arrive at Guantanamo in 2002.

Now, he is the latest to leave. His departure brings the total detainee population at the U.S. naval base in Cuba down to 168 — from a high of 680 in May 2003.

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World
12:45 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Al-Qaida: Now Vying For Hearts, Minds And Land

Militiamen from the Ansar Dine Islamic group, an al-Qaida affiliate, ride on a vehicle in northeastern Mali in June. Mali is one of the places where al-Qaida-linked groups are trying to take over territory and win over local residents to their cause.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 8:33 pm

Al-Qaida has been subtly testing a new strategy. In the past couple of years, the group's affiliates have been trying their hand at governing — actually taking over territory and then trying to win over citizens who live there. It happened with various degrees of success in Somalia and Yemen, and recently in the northern deserts of Mali.

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Africa
1:07 am
Thu July 12, 2012

Al-Qaida Arm In Yemen Flexes Its Muscles In Nigeria

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 10:25 am

An unusual terrorism case started in Nigeria late last week. Prosecutors in the capital city of Abuja accused two local men of being members of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP. They were charged with accepting thousands of dollars from the group to recruit potential terrorists inside Nigeria and then send them to Yemen. Olaniyi Lawal, 31, and Luqman Babatunde, 30, have pleaded not guilty.

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National Security
10:44 am
Tue June 26, 2012

100 Suspected Radicals May Be Part Of U.S. Military

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

The U.S. military has taken a close look at itself and found evidence of threats within its ranks.

MONTAGNE: The Pentagon, along with the FBI, has conducted more than 100 investigations into possible Islamist extremists inside the military.

NPR has learned that about a dozen of those cases are considered serious.

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National Security
2:15 pm
Mon June 25, 2012

FBI Checking 100 Suspected Extremists In Military

The FBI is investigating more than 100 suspected Muslim extremists who are part of the U.S. military community, officials tell NPR. U.S. authorities have increased scrutiny since the 2009 shooting attack at Fort Hood, Texas, that left 13 dead. Maj. Nidal Hasan, charged with the killings, is shown here in an April 2010 court hearing.
Handout Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 26, 2012 3:27 pm

The FBI has conducted more than 100 investigations into suspected Islamic extremists within the military, NPR has learned. About a dozen of those cases are considered serious.

Officials define that as a case requiring a formal investigation to gather information against suspects who appear to have demonstrated a strong intent to attack military targets. This is the first time the figures have been publicly disclosed.

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Middle East
5:44 am
Sun May 13, 2012

Al-Qaida In Yemen: A New Top U.S. Priority

Originally published on Sun May 13, 2012 10:09 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.

Terrorists are still targeting the U.S. homeland. We were reminded of that with news this past week that al-Qaida's affiliate in Yemen plotted to blow up a plane headed to the United States.

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National Security
2:15 am
Mon May 7, 2012

Sept. 11 Defendants Make Torture Focus Of Hearing

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other defendants accused of the 9/11 attacks refused to cooperate when they went before a military commission in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on Saturday.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 7, 2012 9:20 am

The alleged mastermind of the Sept.11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and four other defendants appeared in a military courtroom at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, over the weekend to answer a roster of charges filed against them. The hearing was supposed to be a straightforward arraignment, but nothing went according to plan.

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National Security
4:37 am
Sat May 5, 2012

For Alleged 9/11 Plotter, Attacks Were Family Affair

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who goes before a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on Saturday, has claimed to be the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks and multiple attempted attacks against the U.S.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun May 6, 2012 8:26 am

The appearance of Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four other men in a military courtroom at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, ends a nearly decade-long back and forth over how best to try the men the U.S. says helped plan, pay for and execute the Sept. 11 attacks.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — or KSM, as he is known — has claimed that he was the mastermind of the attacks "from A to Z." But his ties to terrorism, by his own admission, go beyond that one plot. KSM saw himself as the sun around which his network revolved.

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National Security
2:22 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

At Sept. 11 Trial, Military Commissions Face Scrutiny

In this photograph of a courtroom sketch, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, charged with orchestrating the Sept. 11 attacks, attends a court hearing at Guantanamo in 2008. He's expected to appear in a military court Saturday.
Janet Hamlin AP

Originally published on Fri May 4, 2012 4:04 pm

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other men charged in the Sept. 11 attacks were supposed to be tried six years ago in a military tribunal created by the Bush administration.

But that system — which allowed hearsay evidence, among other things — faced questions about its fundamental fairness. When President Obama came into office, he put all the proceedings at Guantanamo on hold and asked that the commission system be revamped.

Since then, there has been an effort to make sure the trials at Guantanamo are credible, with both Congress and the Supreme Court weighing in.

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National Security
1:00 am
Fri May 4, 2012

Potential Torture Testimony Could Rattle Sept. 11 Case

A picture posted on the website www.muslm.net in 2009 allegedly shows al-Qaida's Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who has claimed to be the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 4, 2012 10:02 am

The man who claims to have orchestrated the Sept. 11 attacks is expected to appear in a military courtroom this Saturday. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other men are supposed to answer formal charges related to their roles in the plot.

Their arraignment will be at Guantanamo Bay, and it is the first step that leads — possibly years from now — to a military trial.

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National Security
1:04 am
Tue May 1, 2012

After Bin Laden, Al-Qaida Still Present As Movement

Thousands of Somalis gathered at a militant-organized demonstration on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia, in support of the merger of the Somali militant group al-Shabab with al-Qaida, which was announced in February by al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.
AP

Originally published on Tue May 1, 2012 6:16 am

A year ago Tuesday, Navy SEALs attacked Osama bin Laden's secret compound in Pakistan and may have fundamentally changed al-Qaida as we know it.

The Obama administration's top counterterrorism chief, John Brennan, spoke Monday in Washington, D.C., and seemed on the precipice of talking about the terrorist group in the past tense.

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National Security
1:34 am
Tue April 24, 2012

'Convention' Of Convicted Terrorists At N.Y. Trial

Bosnian-born Adis Medunjanin is accused of playing a role in the 2009 plot to bomb New York City subways. This photo of Medunjanin was provided by the U.S. attorney's office in Brooklyn, N.Y.
AP

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 8:27 am

There have been hundreds of terrorism trials in the U.S. since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but the case unfolding in Brooklyn, N.Y., is different. While its focus is on defendant Adis Medunjanin and the role he allegedly played in a 2009 plot to bomb New York City subways, the trial itself breaks new ground. It marks the first time the public is hearing in open court about real al-Qaida plots from the people the terrorist group actually dispatched to carry them out.

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The Two-Way
6:00 am
Thu April 12, 2012

Suspect In USS Cole Bombing Wins One Legal Battle

Al-Nashiri, pictured in 2002, is being held at the Naval base in Guantanamo Bay.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu April 12, 2012 6:04 am

The man accused of masterminding the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, won a key battle at Guantanamo on Wednesday — a judge said he could meet with his lawyers without having to wear restraints.

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National Security
12:52 am
Wed April 11, 2012

Alleged Cole Bomber's Testimony Could Be Secret

A small boat guards the USS Cole in Aden, Yemen, on Oct. 20, 2000. Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the man accused of masterminding the attack, is expected to testify Wednesday in a courtroom at Guantanamo Bay.
Hasan Jamali AP

In a courtroom at Guantanamo Bay on Wednesday, the man accused of masterminding the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, is expected to testify about the more than four years he spent in secret CIA prisons. Al-Nashiri is one of three terrorism suspects the U.S. government has admitted to waterboarding, so his testimony could be explosive. And that's why, critics argue, the government is trying to ensure that al-Nashiri's testimony be heard in secret.

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National Security
1:03 am
Tue April 3, 2012

A Prosecutor Makes The Case For Military Trials

Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, the chief prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay, graduated first in his class at West Point, studied as a Rhodes scholar, and attended Harvard Law School. Here he speaks during a press conference at the military facility on Jan 18. following a hearing against Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the main suspect in the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 12:01 pm

The chief prosecutor for the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is arguing a difficult case: that the commissions are not only fair, but can take pride of place alongside the civilian criminal justice system.

Brig. Gen. Mark Martins is the chief prosecutor for the commissions, the courts at the naval base that try high-profile terrorism suspects.

He has been called Guantanamo's detox man largely because he has made it his mission to show that the military commissions system at Guantanamo is no longer a toxic version of victor's justice.

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