Mary Louise Kelly

Mary Louise Kelly is a co-host of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine. She assumed the role in January 2018.

Previously, she was a national security correspondent for NPR News. Her reporting tracked the CIA and other spy agencies, terrorism, wars, and rising nuclear powers. As part of the national security team, she traveled extensively to investigate foreign policy and military issues. Kelly's assignments took her from the Khyber Pass to mosques in Hamburg, and from grimy Belfast bars to the deserts of Iraq. 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.

The Pentagon press secretary, Peter Cook, walked into the Pentagon briefing room on the afternoon of Aug. 1 with an announcement: The U.S. had just launched airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Libya.

Reporters in the room jumped in with questions: Why now? What are the targets? What's the end goal? Finally, well into Cook's briefing, a reporter raised her hand and asked, under what legal authority were the strikes being conducted?

"Under the 2001 Authorization for the Military Force," Cook replied. "Similar to our previous airstrikes in Libya."

Two weeks from now in Surrey, England, a coroner's inquest is scheduled for a most peculiar death.

Here are the facts: In November 2012, a 44-year-old man died while out jogging near his Surrey home. The man was reported to have been in robust health, and police declared that the death was not suspicious.

But here are a few more facts: The jogger was a Russian banker who had fled Russia after helping expose tax fraud that implicated both the Mafia and the Russian state. Traces of a rare, poisonous flowering plant were found in his stomach.

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Now, here's a question you can bet is being hotly debated in the White House. What to do about cyberattacks?

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In a courtroom in Knoxville, Tenn., the latest legal twist is unfolding in a case involving China — and alleged nuclear espionage.

Szuhsiung "Allen" Ho has been jailed since April. He's a nuclear engineer and consultant, born in Taiwan and educated in the U.S.

Ho's case is one of a number involving scientists the U.S. government suspects may also be spies. The scientists in question are all American citizens; they were all born in mainland China or Taiwan.

Success on the battlefield against the Islamic State won't translate into an immediate reduction in the threat from attacks in the West, the top U.S. counterterrorism leader told NPR.

Nicholas Rasmussen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said the tactical gains the U.S. military and its partners are making in Iraq and Syria are a "necessary" part of quashing the danger it poses — but not "sufficient."

"We do need that success — but there'll be a lag in the benefits we accrue," he said.

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Even by the strange standards of this long, strange election season, this past week has stood out. First came word of a Kremlin conspiracy - Russia trying to meddle in U.S. politics by hacking into the servers of the Democratic National Committee.

Donald Trump on Wednesday called for Russia to hack Hillary Clinton's email and recover messages from her tenure as secretary of state. His comments followed reports that U.S. officials believe Russian hackers stole emails from the Democratic National Committee and arranged for their release.

When you start packing for a reporting trip to Russia, you get a lot of advice.

Take a clean phone, advised my journalist friends in Moscow. Take a clean laptop. That means one that has been wiped and re-imaged and from which I've never logged on with my usual user accounts and passwords. The reason? Russian intelligence will be monitoring you from the moment you land, they said.

"Really?" I replied. "You think they'll be that interested in a random American reporter flying in?"

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