He earned an MA in international relations, and PhD in international law and economics, from Columbia University. He was a professor at State University of New York at Oswego. He had a home in Rockville, Maryland.
Kidnapping for ransom is common, but it was rare for criminals to target foreigners. Three guards and his driver are being held. On November 1, 2011, arrests were made in the case. On December 1, 2011, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri claimed to be holding him.  
In May 2012, al-Qaeda released a proof of life video of Weinstein.
- Warren Weinstein, John J. Grotpeter, The pattern of African decolonization: a new interpretation, Program of Eastern African Studies, Syracuse University, 1973, ISBN 978-0-915984-07-7
- Chinese and Soviet aid to Africa, Praeger Publishers, 1975, ISBN 978-0-275-09050-0
- Warren Weinstein, Robert A. Schrire, Political conflict and ethnic strategies: a case study of Burundi, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, 1976
- Soviet and Chinese aid to African nations, Praeger, 1980, ISBN 978-0-03-052756-2
- A sea of troubles: decolonization in Burundi, 1958-1962, University Microfilms International, 1985
- Ellen K. Eggers, Warren Weinstein, Historical dictionary of Burundi, Scarecrow Press, 1997, ISBN 978-0-8108-3261-9
- Alexander, Harriet. "American aid worker Warren Weinstein kidnapped in Pakistan". Telegraph. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
- "US aid official kidnapped in Pakistan - Central & South Asia". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
- Hannah Roberts (2011-08-15). "Warren Weinstein: American kidnapped in Pakistan in armed raid on his home | Mail Online". Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
- "American kidnapped in Pakistan - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. 2011-08-14. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
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- "US Citizen Kidnapped in Pakistan « VOA Breaking News". Blogs.voanews.com. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
- Robert A. Baker. "Former SUNY Oswego professor reported kidnapped in Pakistan". The Post-Standard. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
- "Al Qaeda demands end to air strike on Muslim countries in return for kidnapped American". The Daily Mail. 2 December 2011.
- "BBC News - Al-Qaeda says it kidnapped Warren Weinstein in Pakistan". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
- "AFP: Month on, fears grow for kidnapped American in Pakistan". Google.com. 2011-09-12. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
- "Police claim arrest of kidnappers of Taseer’s son". Thenews.com.pk. 2011-11-01. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
- By AFP. "Al Qaeda claims kidnapping of Weinstein in Pakistan – The Express Tribune". Tribune.com.pk. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
- "Al-Qaida says it is holding US hostage - World news - South and Central Asia - Pakistan - msnbc.com". MSNBC. 2011-08-19. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
- "Al Qaeda leader al-Zawahiri claims responsibility for kidnapping American – This Just In - CNN.com Blogs". News.blogs.cnn.com. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
- Dan Murphy (December 2, 2011). "Is kidnapping older, unarmed civilians all that's left for Al Qaeda?". The Christian Science Monitor.
- Hussain, Tom (January 25, 2012). "Al Qaida still holding American contractor hostage in Pakistan". McClatchy Newspapers. Retrieved February 17, 2012.
- Hussain, Tom (January 25, 2012). "Kidnapped US aid contractor reportedly held by militants in Pakistan". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved February 17, 2012.