Doby Photography/NPR
David Welna 2010
Doby Photography/NPR

David Welna

National Security Correspondent, Washington Desk

David Welna is NPR's national security correspondent.

Having previously covered Congress over a 13-year period starting in 2001, Welna reported extensively on matters related to national security. He covered the debates on Capitol Hill over authorizing the use of military force prior to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the expansion of government surveillance practices arising from Congress' approval of the USA Patriot Act. Welna also reported on congressional probes into the use of torture by U.S. officials interrogating terrorism suspects. He also traveled with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to Afghanistan on the Pentagon chief's first overseas trip in that post.

In mid-1998, after 15 years of reporting from abroad for NPR, Welna joined NPR's Chicago bureau. During that posting, he reported on a wide range of issues: changes in Midwestern agriculture that threaten the survival of small farms, the personal impact of foreign conflicts and economic crises in the heartland, and efforts to improve public education. His background in Latin America informed his coverage of the saga of Elian Gonzalez both in Miami and Cuba.

Welna first filed stories for NPR as a freelancer in 1982, based in Buenos Aires. From there, and subsequently from Rio de Janeiro, he covered events throughout South America. In 1995, Welna became the chief of NPR's Mexico bureau.

Additionally, he has reported for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, The Financial Times, and The Times of London. Welna's photography has appeared in Esquire, The New York Times, The Paris Review, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Covering a wide range of stories in Latin America, Welna chronicled the wrenching 1985 trial of Argentina's former military leaders who presided over the disappearance of tens of thousands of suspected dissidents. In Brazil, he visited a town in Sao Paulo state called Americana where former slaveholders from America relocated after the Civil War. Welna covered the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, the mass exodus of Cubans who fled the island on rafts in 1994, the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas, Mexico, and the U.S. intervention in Haiti to restore Jean Bertrand Aristide to Haiti's presidency.

Welna was honored with the 2011 Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for Distinguished Reporting of Congress, given by the National Press Foundation. In 1995, he was awarded an Overseas Press Club award for his coverage of Haiti. During that same year he was chosen by the Latin American Studies Association to receive their annual award for distinguished coverage of Latin America. Welna was awarded a 1997 Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University. In 2002, Welna was elected by his colleagues to a two-year term as a member of the Executive Committee of the Congressional Radio-Television Correspondents' Galleries.

A native of Minnesota, Welna graduated magna cum laude from Carleton College in Northfield, MN, with a Bachelor of Arts degree and distinction in Latin American Studies. He was subsequently a Thomas J. Watson Foundation fellow. He speaks fluent Spanish, French, and Portuguese.

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Trump's Pick For Defense Secretary Known For Independent Thinking

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Trump Presidency Casts Doubt Over Declassification Of CIA Torture Report

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Trump Appoints Michael Flynn, Mike Pompeo To Key National Security Posts

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The U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo holds the U.S. prison known as "Gitmo." President Obama said when he took office in 2009 that he wanted to close the prison, but 60 prisoners remain. John Moore/Getty Images hide caption

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John Moore/Getty Images

Trump Has Vowed To Fill Guantanamo With 'Some Bad Dudes' — But Who?

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A picture taken on April 20, 2010, shows a Russian nuclear-capable Iskander ballistic missile launcher during a military parade rehearsal outside Moscow. Russia transferred Iskander-M missile launchers within range of three Baltic states earlier this month. Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images

'A Dangerous Situation' As U.S.-Russia Tensions Spill Over To Nuclear Pacts

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Next President To Face Challenges On Nuclear Weapons

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U.S.-Saudi Relations Appear To Enter A New Phase

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NPR's David Welna had personal documents posted by a pro-Kremlin website when he applied for press credentials in Ukraine. He's far from the only one. But it's an issue the U.S. is reluctant to discuss. Ariel Zambelich/NPR hide caption

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Ariel Zambelich/NPR

Russian Hackers Doxxed Me. What Should I Do About It?

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Visitors honor victims of the Sept. 11 attacks at the Wall of Names at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., earlier this month. Gene J. Puskar/AP hide caption

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Gene J. Puskar/AP

Obama Faces Possible First Veto Override Of His Presidency

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House Intelligence Committee Reviews Classified Report On Edward Snowden

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Activists Launch Campaign Urging Obama To Pardon Edward Snowden

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New President Will Inherit The War In Afghanistan

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Obama Administration Convenes More Review Boards For Gitmo Prisoners

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