Mary Louise Kelly | KUOW News and Information

Mary Louise Kelly

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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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.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Chanting in Russian).

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

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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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It has been six weeks since FBI Director James Comey publicly acknowledged that the bureau is running an investigation into Russia and the 2016 election.

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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.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

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 NPR in an exclusive interview.

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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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.

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