Sebastian Rotella

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 Qaeda 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.

U.S. Identifies ISIS Planner in Attacks on Europe
U.S. and European counterterror officials are zeroing in on Islamic State masterminds of a terror campaign against Europe that continues despite military setbacks for ISIS in the Middle East.
November 22, 2016
U.S. Identifies Key Player in ISIS Attacks on Europe
American officials say the investigation of the assaults on Paris and Brussels has led them to a shadowy Moroccan militant who was raised in Southern France and now lives in Syria.
October 19, 2016
In Their Own Words: Counterterror Officials On the Threat Europe Faces
European counterterror officials talk about how the threat Europe faces from terrorism is unprecedented, and how the challenges for the intelligence community are equally daunting.
October 18, 2016
How Europe Left Itself Open to Terrorism
The ISIS attacks on France and Belgium exposed weaknesses in Europe's approach to borders and information sharing that counterterror officials had warned about for years. The vulnerabilities remain largely unaddressed.
October 18, 2016
Terror in Europe
FRONTLINE and ProPublica go inside Europe's fight against the rise of Islamic terrorism.
October 18, 2016
ISIS via WhatsApp: 'Blow Yourself Up, O Lion'
A trove of communications from ISIS plots and activity in Europe reveals a mix of direct control and improvisation and shows the crucial importance of encrypted messaging tools. “Detonate your belt in the crowds,” one message declared.
July 11, 2016
Belgium’s Deadly Circles of Terror
Coordinated bombings in Brussels may have been in the works for some time, aided by an underworld where crime and extremism blur together.
March 22, 2016
The Hidden Intelligence Breakdowns Behind the Mumbai Attacks
After Edward Snowden, the government said its controversial surveillance programs had stopped a terrorist – David Coleman Headley. In 'American Terrorist”, ProPublica and FRONTLINE investigate that claim.
April 21, 2015
1h 23m
David Coleman Headley
American Terrorist
How secret electronic surveillance missed catching the Mumbai plotters -- and how American-born David Coleman Headley planned another Charlie Hebdo-like assault against a Danish newspaper.
April 21, 2015
In 2008 Mumbai Attacks, Piles of Spy Data, but an Uncompleted Puzzle
Indian and British intelligence agencies were both spying on the online activities of one of the alleged plotters, but couldn’t connect the dots.
December 21, 2014
Did NSA Surveillance Help Thwart Plotter of Mumbai Attack?
Officials have credited the program with helping to capture David Coleman Headley, but a closer examination shows the U.S. only caught up with him after a tip from British intelligence.
June 12, 2013
Terror Group Recruits From Pakistan’s "Best and Brightest"
A new study released today helps explain how Lashkar-i-Taiba, one of the world's most dangerous militant organizations, is integrated into Pakistani society.
April 4, 2013