Sebastian Rotella

Senior Reporter

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Sebastian Rotella is a senior reporter at ProPublica. An award-winning foreign correspondent and investigative reporter, he worked for almost 23 years for the Los Angeles Times before joining ProPublica in 2010. He covers international security issues including terrorism, intelligence, organized crime, human rights and migration. His reporting has taken him across the Americas and Europe, and to the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa.

Sebastian was co-writer and correspondent for Terror in Europe, a 2016 Frontline documentary that was a finalist for the Investigative Reporters and Editors broadcast/video award. In 2013, his Finding Oscar investigation with This American Life won a Peabody Award, a Dart Center Award, and two awards from the Overseas Press Club. In 2012, he was recognized with Italy’s Urbino Press Award for excellence in American journalism. His A Perfect Terrorist investigation of the Mumbai attacks (with Frontline) was nominated for an Emmy, and the online version of the story got an Overseas Press Club Award in 2011.

In 2006, he was named a Pulitzer finalist for international reporting for his L.A. Times coverage of terrorism and Muslim communities in Europe, which won the German Marshall Fund’s senior award for excellence in European reporting. He was part of a team whose coverage of al-Qaida received an Overseas Press Club award 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, Inter-American Press Association and the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

At the L.A. Times, Sebastian served as a correspondent at the Mexican border, in South America and in Europe. His border reporting inspired two songs on Bruce Springsteen’s album The Ghost of Tom Joad (1995).

Sebastian is the author of three novels: Rip Crew (2018), The Convert’s Song (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, studied at the University of Barcelona, and was born in Chicago.

The Trump Administration Is Backing Out of a $647 Million Ventilator Deal After ProPublica Investigated the Price

The government overpaid by hundreds of millions for Philips ventilators, says a House investigation spurred by ProPublica reporting. Now that deal is off and Congress is scrutinizing other coronavirus deals made by trade adviser Peter Navarro.

The White House Paid Up to $500 Million Too Much for These Ventilators, Congressional Investigators Say

A House panel says “gullible” White House negotiators overpaid for Phillips ventilators, and it has asked the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General to investigate evidence of fraud in the deal.

Inside the Trump Administration’s Decision to Leave the World Health Organization

Despite Trump’s declared exit from the WHO, officials continued working toward reforms and to prevent withdrawal. This week, they were told they must justify any cooperation with the WHO on the grounds of national security and public health safety.

The Justice Department Accidentally Released the Name of Saudi Official Suspected of Helping the 9/11 Hijackers

William Barr’s DOJ inadvertently named Saudi official Musaed al-Jarrah in a court filing after trying for two years to conceal his identity.

Coronavirus Advice From Abroad: 7 Lessons America’s Governors Should Not Ignore as They Reopen Their Economies

We spoke to frontline experts from around the globe and have compiled a list of recommendations for reopening U.S. states. Their consensus? It’s tough to find policies that simultaneously save lives and livelihoods.

Congress Is Investigating Whether a Ventilator Company Is Gouging the U.S. — and Why the Government Is Letting It Happen

A congressional subcommittee is questioning a federal decision to pay quadruple the price for the commercial version of a ventilator Royal Philips N.V. had developed with taxpayer funds.

Attorney General Barr Refuses to Release 9/11 Documents to Families of the Victims

The move comes after President Donald Trump promised to help families, who accuse Saudi Arabia of complicity in the attacks. Barr says he cannot even explain why the material must stay secret without putting national security at risk.

A Company Promised Cheap Ventilators to the Government, Never Delivered and Is Now Charging Quadruple the Price for New Ones

Royal Philips N.V. agreed in September to sell 10,000 ventilators to the U.S. for $3,280 each. It did not deliver. But the Dutch company just announced a new deal with the government. This time, it’s charging roughly $15,000 each.

Taxpayers Paid Millions to Design a Low-Cost Ventilator for a Pandemic. Instead, the Company Is Selling Versions of It Overseas.

As coronavirus sweeps the globe, there is not a single Trilogy Evo Universal ventilator — developed with government funds — in the U.S. stockpile. Meanwhile, Royal Philips N.V. has sold higher-priced versions to clients around the world.

Operation Encore and the Saudi Connection: A Secret History of the 9/11 Investigation

Behind the scenes, a small team of FBI agents spent years trying to solve a stubborn mystery — whether officials from Saudi Arabia, one of Washington’s closest allies, were involved in the worst terror attack in U.S. history. This is their story.

Trump Cheers as Pakistan Rounds Up the Usual Suspect in Mumbai Case

Pakistan has repeatedly detained and then released Hafiz Saeed, the leader of the group that Western intelligence agencies believe carried out the deadly 2008 attack on Mumbai, India.

Saudi Fugitives Accused of Serious Crimes Get Help to Flee While U.S. Officials Look the Other Way

The FBI, Department of Homeland Security and other agencies have known for years that Saudi diplomats were helping Saudi fugitives. But Washington avoided even raising the problem out of concern that it might hurt Saudi cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

A pesar de sus duras palabras contra traficantes de migrantes, Trump ha socavado esfuerzos para frenarles

ICE ha transferido personal y dinero de investigaciones más complejas para respaldar la campa?a de la administración de arrestar, encarcelar y deportar a los inmigrantes ilegales.

Despite Trump’s Tough Talk About Migrant Smugglers, He’s Undercut Efforts to Stop Them

ICE has shifted manpower and money away from more complex investigations to support the administration’s push to arrest, detain and deport undocumented immigrants.

Trump Takes a Tougher Line on Pakistan, but the 2008 Mumbai Attack Goes Unpunished

Although the administration’s policy shift has raised hopes, a Pakistani intelligence officer and others indicted in the killings of 166 people remain at large. Critics say the Pakistani government protects them.

El extra?o caso de los diplomáticos estadounidenses en Cuba: el misterio se intensifica y las divisiones en Washington también

Funcionarios de la administración Trump insisten que los americanos fueron atacados, aunque las pruebas no aparecen. “La cosa de Cuba es uno de los pocos misterios no resueltos que tenemos,” dijo un oficial.

The Strange Case of American Diplomats in Cuba: As the Mystery Deepens, So Do Divisions in Washington

Trump officials insist the Americans were attacked, even as the evidence fails to materialize. “The Cuba thing is one of the few unsolved mysteries we’ve got,” an official said.

The U.S. Considered Declaring Russia a State Sponsor of Terror, Then Dropped It

After an attack on a former spy, the State Department pondered placing that label on Putin’s government. Instead, the Trump administration continued a longtime U.S. policy of treating Russia as a partner in fighting terrorism even as evidence of its misbehavior mounts.

John Bolton Skewed Intelligence, Say People Who Worked With Him

Former colleagues say the next national security adviser — whose job is to marshal information and present it to the president fairly — resists input that doesn’t fit his biases and retaliates against people he disagrees with.

State Department Likely to?Extend Cuts to?U.S. Embassy in Cuba

Six months after the State Department pulled most of its diplomats from Havana because of mysterious?incidents that?injured 24?Americans, the?Trump administration is poised to make the reductions?permanent. The decision could affect?U.S. intelligence, Cuban migration and support for Cuban?human rights advocates.

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