Mary Louise Kelly

Mary Louise Kelly is a co-host of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine.

Previously, she spent a decade as national security correspondent for NPR News, and she's kept that focus in her role as anchor. That's meant taking All Things Considered to Russia, North Korea, and beyond (including live coverage from Helsinki, for the infamous Trump-Putin summit). Her past reporting has tracked the CIA and other spy agencies, terrorism, wars, and rising nuclear powers. Kelly's assignments have found her deep in interviews at the Khyber Pass, at mosques in Hamburg, and in grimy Belfast bars.

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.

Kelly's writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Politico, Washingtonian, The Atlantic, and other publications. She has lectured at Harvard and Stanford, and taught a course on national security and journalism at Georgetown University. In addition to her NPR work, Kelly serves as a contributing editor at The Atlantic, moderating newsmaker interviews at forums from Aspen to Abu Dhabi.

A Georgia native, Kelly's first job was pounding the streets as a political reporter at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In 1996, she made the leap to broadcasting, joining the team that launched BBC/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, 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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We're going to spend a few minutes now examining President Trump's plan for Afghanistan. When he addressed the nation this week, Trump laid out the mission this way.

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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Our troops will fight to win. We will fight to win.

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President Trump was out of sight today, huddling with his national security team at Camp David. On the agenda - a much delayed decision on a plan for America's longest war. NPR's Mary Louise Kelly reports.

On a steamy August afternoon in McLean, Va., not far from CIA headquarters, Daniel Hoffman sits on a coffee shop terrace and reminisces about summer afternoons spent in a different place.

"There's a tennis court, and a little dacha with a sauna," says Hoffman. "And then a big dacha where families could go and get out of the city in the summer and relax."

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There was a moment last week in Moscow when I had occasion to wonder if I was being surveilled.

"They'll be tracking you from the moment you land," my CIA sources back in Washington had warned, as I prepared for a reporting trip to Russia. "For God's sake, don't log on to your regular email accounts from there."

I've reported from Russia before. I'm careful.

But one evening, typing away in NPR's Moscow bureau, the cursor began to jump around on its own. Words moved. I raised my hands from the keyboard and watched in wonder as the screen went black.

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We are broadcasting from here in Moscow on a day of anti-government protests across this country.

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UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Chanting in Russian).

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Here in the Russian capital, and what a day it's been.

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UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Chanting in Russian).

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Chanting in Russian).

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David Greene is on the line from Moscow. David, are people saying just the same thing there?

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We want to turn now to U.S.-Russia relations. It's been a dizzying change from just a few weeks ago when President Trump had nothing bad to say about Russia. But here he is this past Wednesday at the White House.

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Politics may be at play in the appearance of a draft presidential order that could revive the CIA's "black site" prisons, one former CIA director says.

The appearance of the document, first reported by the New York Times, drew an immediate outcry from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers, as well as CIA veterans.

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Let's sort through what we know and don't know about President-elect Trump and Russia. We start with words he resisted saying for months.

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DONALD TRUMP: As far as hacking, I think it was Russia.

William Evanina holds two official job titles: national counterintelligence executive and director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center.

Eyes glazing over? Here's a simpler way to think of him: as the nation's spy catcher in chief.

As the head of U.S. counterintelligence, Evanina is in charge of keeping America's secrets out of enemy hands. 2016 has proved an exceptionally challenging year, between Russian hacks and another massive data breach at the National Security Agency.

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The world is entering a new cyber era — one with no ground rules, and with the potential for traditional espionage to be "turbocharged" by the Internet, President Obama told

Mike Pompeo, a Republican congressman from Kansas and Donald Trump's pick to run the CIA, is no stranger to Russian intrigue.

After graduating first in his class from West Point in 1986, he headed to Europe. There, according to his official bio, he served as a cavalry officer, "patrolling the Iron Curtain before the fall of the Berlin Wall."

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I was boarding a plane to Istanbul when a friend recommended the Yashim series of mystery novels.

Great reads, he told me, about a Turkish detective who whips up marvelous feasts in between solving crimes. That sounded promising, so I downloaded the first book for the flight. And I was hooked, racing through chapters with Yashim as he prowls Istanbul's dark alleys, spice markets and kitchens.

In a cavernous, dimly-lit auditorium in Washington last month, three officials took the stage.

They settled themselves into tan, leather armchairs and fielded questions, including this one: Name a global flashpoint you're looking to with concern?

"North Korea," came the reply from one. "And how the United States and China deal with that situation."

The exchange is worth noting because the three people on stage were current or former CIA officials.

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Just when you thought U.S.-Russia relations couldn't get worse, diplomatic deals on both Syria and nuclear security fell apart this week.

Moscow went first, announcing that it was pulling out of a landmark agreement on plutonium. Russia's President Vladimir Putin blamed "unfriendly actions" by the United States.

Hours later, Washington said it was breaking off talks on a ceasefire in Syria. "This is not a decision that was taken lightly," State Department spokesman John Kirby wrote in a statement. "Unfortunately, Russia failed to live up to its own commitments."

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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.

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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