Mary Louise Kelly 2010
Doby Photography/NPR
Mary Louise Kelly 2010
Doby Photography/NPR

Mary Louise Kelly

National Security Correspondent

Mary Louise Kelly is national security correspondent for NPR News.

Her reporting tracks the CIA and other spy agencies, terrorism, wars, and rising nuclear powers. As part of the national security team, she has traveled extensively to investigate foreign policy and military issues. Kelly's assignments have taken her from the Khyber Pass to mosques in Hamburg, and from grimy Belfast bars to the deserts of Iraq. In addition to reporting, she serves as a guest host for NPR News programs. Her first assignment at NPR was senior editor of the award-winning afternoon newsmagazine, All Things Considered.

Kelly first launched NPR's intelligence beat in 2004. After one particularly tough trip to Baghdad — so tough she wrote an essay about it for Newsweek — she decided to try trading the spy beat for spy fiction. Her debut espionage novel, Anonymous Sources, was published by Simon and Schuster in 2013. It's a tale of journalists, spies, and Pakistan's nuclear security. Her second novel, The Bullet, followed in 2015.

During her spell away from full-time reporting, Kelly's writing appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Politico, Washingtonian, The Atlantic, and other publications. She also launched and taught a course on national security and journalism at Georgetown University. And she joined The Atlantic as a contributing editor. She continues to hold that role, moderating newsmaker interviews at forums from Aspen to Abu Dhabi.

A Georgia native, Kelly's first job was pounding the streets as a local political reporter at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In 1996, she made the leap to broadcasting, joining the team that launched Public Radio International's The World. The following year Kelly moved to London to work as a producer for CNN and as a senior producer, host, and reporter for the BBC World Service.

Kelly graduated from Harvard University in 1993 with degrees in government and French language and literature. Two years later, she completed a master's degree in European Studies at Cambridge University in England.

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Adm. Michael Rogers, director of the National Security Agency and commander of U.S. Cyber Command, speaks at Georgetown University on April 26. Three years after Edward Snowden disclosed NSA files, the agency is checking to see if was recently hacked. Alex Wong/Getty Images hide caption

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Did Russia Hack The NSA? Maybe Not

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The Conflicting Narratives About Edward Snowden

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This image released by Open Road Films shows, from left, Melissa Leo as Laura Poitras, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Edward Snowden, Tom Wilkinson as Ewen MacAskill and Zachary Quinto as Glenn Greenwald, in a scene from "Snowden." Jürgen Olczyk/AP hide caption

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A Former NSA Deputy Director Weighs In On 'Snowden'

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Foreign Policy Experts Push Back On Trump's Iranian Ships Comments

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Islamic State fighters march in Raqqa, Syria, in an undated file photo released in 2014. The U.S. has been bombing ISIS in Syria and Iraq for the past two years. A U.S. Army captain has sued President Obama, arguing the U.S. war against the extremist group is not legal because the U.S. Congress has not authorized it. Uncredited/AP hide caption

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When The U.S. Military Strikes, White House Points To A 2001 Measure

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Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian security agent, died in 2006 after drinking tea laced with the radioactive element polonium-210 at a London hotel. A British inquiry found that his death was the work of the Russian security service. Natasja Weitsz/Getty Images hide caption

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The Curious Deaths Of Kremlin Critics

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White House Weighs Response To Cyberattacks Against U.S. Institutions

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NSA Spying Tools Revealed Online Amid Hacking Fears

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Xiaoxing Xi, a Temple University physics professor, speaks in front of a photo of Sherry Chen, a federal government worker, at a September 2015 Washington, D.C., press conference about the spying charges against them that were dropped. Xi says his wife and daughters were marched out of their bedrooms at gunpoint when he was arrested in May 2015. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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The Fine Line Between Countering Security Threats And Racial Profiling

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Nicholas Rasmussen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, says progress against the Islamic State may be slow to affect the terror attacks plaguing the West. Ariel Zambelich/NPR hide caption

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Counterterrorism Chief Sees Gains On The Battlefield, Stubborn Threats At Home

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A typical apartment building in Roslyakovo. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed papers ordering the town to open its doors to the world on Jan. 1, 2015. Mary Louise Kelly/NPR hide caption

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A Once-Closed Russian Military Town In The Arctic Opens To The World

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This Week In Hacks: The Democrats, Russia And Trump

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Clinton Campaign Says Trump Is Encouraging 'Espionage' After Hacking Comment

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A view of the Russian Federal Security Services on Lubyanka Square in Moscow in 2013. Journalists, dissidents and human rights workers say they are often followed or harassed by the Russian spy service. Ivan Sekretarev/AP hide caption

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Was That A Russian Spy, Or Am I Getting Paranoid?

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Examining Russia's Role In Leaked Democratic Party Emails

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