Mary Louise Kelly Mary Louise Kelly is national security correspondent for NPR News.
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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News Brief: Roy Moore Vs. Doug Jones In Alabama Special Election

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Syrian children who fled Raqqa, where the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces defeated the Islamic State group, are now living in a refugee camp. They hold pots as they line up for food. Hussein Malla/AP hide caption

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Hussein Malla/AP

News Brief: Texas Shooting Update, Trump Visits South Korea

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News Brief: Texas Church Shooting, Trump's Asia Trip

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E.J. Bonilla as Lt. Shane Aguero leading the cast of soldiers at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas. Van Redin/National Geographic hide caption

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Van Redin/National Geographic

Sadr City Attack On U.S. Troops Retold In 'The Long Road Home'

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Bootsy Collins' new album, World Wide Funk, is available Oct. 27. Michael Weintrob/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Michael Weintrob/Courtesy of the artist

The 'World Wide Funk' Of Bootsy Collins

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Blitt's 2008 New Yorker cover, "Fistbump: The Politics of Fear," was inspired by the rumors that circulated about the Obamas during that year's presidential campaign. The New Yorker via bado-badosblog.blogspot.com hide caption

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The New Yorker via bado-badosblog.blogspot.com

'I'm Just Trying To Make Myself Laugh': 'New Yorker' Artist Shares His Cover Stories

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How Do You Stop A Spy From Spilling Secrets?

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A billboard advertising a gun tourism business in Las Vegas hovers above the Mandalay Bay Hotel, site of a mass shooting Sunday night that killed 58 people and injured nearly 500. Monika Evstatieva/NPR hide caption

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Monika Evstatieva/NPR

Sorrow, But Little Appetite For New Laws Among Nevada Gun Enthusiasts

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Las Vegas Mourns As Tourists Continue To Visit City

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U.S. State Department Pulling Staff From Cuba

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Jennifer Kerrigan/NPR

Stephen And Owen King On The Horror Of A World Without Women In 'Sleeping Beauties'

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News Brief: 'Middle Class Miracle' Unveiled, Puerto Rico In Dire Need Of Aid

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The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine is based on notes for a story Mark Twain told his young daughters, about magical seeds and talking animals. Erin Stead hide caption

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Erin Stead

A Modern Collaboration With Mark Twain In 'Prince Oleomargarine'

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