Mary Louise Kelly

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Mary Louise Kelly is an American broadcaster and author. She is a guest host for National Public Radio's news and talk programs including Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Talk of the Nation and Weekend Edition Saturday. Her first novel debuted in 2013.[1]

From January 2009 to 2011 Kelly was National Public Radio's senior Pentagon correspondent, reporting on defense and foreign policy issues. As part of NPR's national security team, Kelly covered the Obama administration's approach to the wars in Afghanistan and the Iraq War. She also focused on how the U.S. projected its military power elsewhere in the world, how the U.S. reacted to, and dealt with, the emerging global military muscle of countries such as China, and the way in which U.S. foreign policy goals are often sought, and sometimes achieved, through defense and Intelligence agency channels.[2]

Prior to her Pentagon assignment, Kelly launched NPR's intelligence beat in 2004.[1] She reported on the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and other spy agencies, such as the Central Intelligence Agency, Defence Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency.

Since 2011, Kelly has taught national security and journalism classes at Georgetown University. And after many years on the spy beat, in 2012 Kelly completed a spy thriller. Anonymous Sources was published by Simon & Schuster in 2013.[1] Her second novel, tentatively titled Bullet, is scheduled for publication in 2015.[3]


Kelly has a degree in Government and French history and literature from Harvard University. While at Harvard, Kelly experienced her first foray into journalism as a senior editor at the Harvard Crimson in 1992, where she covered, among other things, Bill Clinton's inauguration.[4]

She completed her masters in European Studies at Cambridge University (Emmanuel College) in England.


Upon graduating from Harvard, her first paying position was reporting on local politics for her home-town newspaper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Kelly has broken numerous security and terrorism-related stories, including the CIA's secret decision to disband the unit aimed at hunting Osama Bin Laden.[5] That story caused an uproar and led to the Senate voting on September 8, 2006 to reinstate the unit.[6][7] Kelly was also the first reporter to interview Gary Schroen, the CIA operative who was dropped into Afghanistan in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks with a six man team and a directive to bring back the head of Bin Laden.[8]


After graduate school in Cambridge, England and internships at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in Scotland and London, she joined the Boston team that launched radio news magazine The World, a joint venture between the BBC and Public Radio International. Two years later Kelly moved back to the UK, working as a host, foreign correspondent and senior producer for the BBC World Service, and as a producer at CNN in London.

Kelly has earned her stripes at many locations around the world, with reports from the Afghan-Pakistan border, radical Hamburg mosques, Kosovo refugee camps, the deck of a nuclear aircraft carrier, and rural Cambodia. When at the BBC she also covered the peace talks that ended decades of violence in Northern Ireland.


She moved back to the United States to join NPR in Washington. Before becoming NPR's intelligence correspondent in 2004, Kelly edited NPR's evening newsmagazine, All Things Considered, for three years. She was described as a "bad-ass babe" on the NPR website.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Kelly is married to Nicholas Boyle, a partner at litigation firm Williams & Connolly.