Mary Louise Kelly 2010 i
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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A view of the Russian Federal Security Services (FSB) on Lubyanka Square in Moscow in 2013. Journalists, dissidents and human rights workers say they are often followed or harrassed 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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A cyclist looks at the flowers and messages placed along the beach for victims of the recent terrorist attack in Nice, France, on Wednesday. The recent spate of attacks around the world has raised questions about the limits of counterterrorism. Claude Paris/AP hide caption

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A Summer Of Terrorism Points To The Limits Of Counterterrorism

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Courtesy of Aragvi

Dine Like A Soviet Spy: Old KGB Haunt Opens Its Doors Again

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When Global Warming Is Good — For Russia

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During Tenure In Russia, Edward Snowden Has Kept A Low Profile

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Vyacheslav Trubnikov (right) was head of the Foreign Intelligence Service, Russia's equivalent of the CIA, from 1996 to 2000. He's shown here speaking with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage in 2001 in Moscow. Trubnikov was Russia's deputy foreign minister at the time. Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP hide caption

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Russia's Ex-Spy Chief Shares Opinions Of His American Counterparts

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Russia Ramps Up Its Military Presence In The Arctic Circle

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Russia Aims To Profit Big From Arktika, World's Largest Icebreaker Ship

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Russia Deploys World's Largest, Most Powerful Icebreaker

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At the height of the Cold War, the FBI and the National Security Agency built a secret tunnel beneath the Russian Embassy (shown here in 2013), so that American spies could eavesdrop on what was happening inside. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

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Decades After Cold War's End, U.S.-Russia Espionage Rivalry Evolves

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Trump Is On The Right Track By Toning Down Rhetoric, Dole Says

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France Faces Multiple Challenges Of Floods, Strikes And Now Soccer

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