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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Story Archive

Pompeo Signals He'll Move CIA In A More Aggressive Direction

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Former CIA Director Says He Had Concerns About Russia Ties To Trump Campaign

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Morning News Brief: Manchester Blast, Russia Probe, Trump Budget

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Former national security adviser Michael Flynn won't turn over documents to the Senate Intelligence Committee, a source close to Flynn tells NPR. Carolyn Kaster/AP hide caption

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Erdogan Says He Wants A 'New Beginning' In U.S.-Turkish Relations

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Amandla Stenberg stars in Everything, Everything, a complicated love story between a teenaged girl unable to leave her home because of a rare illness, and her new next-door neighbor. Doane Gregory/Courtesy of Warner Bros. hide caption

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Doane Gregory/Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Amandla Stenberg 'Infiltrates' Teen Romance World In 'Everything, Everything'

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Comey's Removal Started A Whirlwind Week Of Politics

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Trump Delivers His First Commencement Address As President At Liberty University

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Morning News Brief: Why Trump Fired Comey, And What's Next For The FBI

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Before Firing, James Comey Led FBI Probe Into Possible Russia-Trump Ties

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News Brief: Trump Travel Ban, French Presidential Election, Russia Meddling

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Yates To Tell Senate Panel About Russia Discussions With White House

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Morning News Brief: Comey Testifies, Spinning The Budget Deal, Hospital Attacks

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Where The Russia Investigation Stands Ahead Of Comey Testimony

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