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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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.

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President-elect Donald Trump will be getting the same top-secret briefings as President Obama from now on going forward. That is according to four former CIA heads who spoke to NPR's Mary Louise Kelly about their thinking at this moment of transition.

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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.

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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