David Welna

David Welna is NPR's national security correspondent.

Having previously covered Congress over a 13-year period starting in 2001, Welna reported extensively on matters related to national security. He covered the debates on Capitol Hill over authorizing the use of military force prior to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the expansion of government surveillance practices arising from Congress' approval of the USA Patriot Act. Welna also reported on congressional probes into the use of torture by U.S. officials interrogating terrorism suspects. He also traveled with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to Afghanistan on the Pentagon chief's first overseas trip in that post.

In mid-1998, after 15 years of reporting from abroad for NPR, Welna joined NPR's Chicago bureau. During that posting, he reported on a wide range of issues: changes in Midwestern agriculture that threaten the survival of small farms, the personal impact of foreign conflicts and economic crises in the heartland, and efforts to improve public education. His background in Latin America informed his coverage of the saga of Elian Gonzalez both in Miami and Cuba.

Welna first filed stories for NPR as a freelancer in 1982, based in Buenos Aires. From there, and subsequently from Rio de Janeiro, he covered events throughout South America. In 1995, Welna became the chief of NPR's Mexico bureau.

Additionally, he has reported for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, The Financial Times, and The Times of London. Welna's photography has appeared in Esquire, The New York Times, The Paris Review, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Covering a wide range of stories in Latin America, Welna chronicled the wrenching 1985 trial of Argentina's former military leaders who presided over the disappearance of tens of thousands of suspected dissidents. In Brazil, he visited a town in Sao Paulo state called Americana where former slaveholders from America relocated after the Civil War. Welna covered the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, the mass exodus of Cubans who fled the island on rafts in 1994, the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas, Mexico, and the U.S. intervention in Haiti to restore Jean Bertrand Aristide to Haiti's presidency.

Welna was honored with the 2011 Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for Distinguished Reporting of Congress, given by the National Press Foundation. In 1995, he was awarded an Overseas Press Club award for his coverage of Haiti. During that same year he was chosen by the Latin American Studies Association to receive their annual award for distinguished coverage of Latin America. Welna was awarded a 1997 Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University. In 2002, Welna was elected by his colleagues to a two-year term as a member of the Executive Committee of the Congressional Radio-Television Correspondents' Galleries.

A native of Minnesota, Welna graduated magna cum laude from Carleton College in Northfield, MN, with a Bachelor of Arts degree and distinction in Latin American Studies. He was subsequently a Thomas J. Watson Foundation fellow. He speaks fluent Spanish, French, and Portuguese.

It may seem counter-intuitive and head-scratchingly odd, but Congress nearly always approves defense spending bills before the armed services committees — which actually oversee the Pentagon — vote on how the money will be spent.

Not this year.

Back from his third trip to North Korea in as many months, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sounded buoyant.

"President Trump remains upbeat about the prospects for North Korean denuclearization. Progress is happening," he told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on July 25. "We need Chairman Kim Jong Un to follow through on his commitments that he made in Singapore."

A drone! Miami Beach! A water slide! Sly Stallone! Machu Picchu! (Macchu Picchu?)

Those are only a few of the many, many images that flit by as you watch a four-minute video created by the Trump administration (specifically, the National Security Council), which the White House posted to its Facebook page Wednesday morning.

The day after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took the oath of office in early May, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert declared that four letters — CVID — would be the Trump administration's dogma for dealing with North Korea and its nuclear weapons arsenal.

Should President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meet after all next month in Singapore, their discussions will center on one seven-syllable word: denuclearization.

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Updated at 7:50 a.m. ET

A U.S. military helicopter crashed after hitting a power line in Iraq's western Anbar province, killing all seven personnel aboard, the Pentagon said Friday.

Officials said the crash of the HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter occurred Thursday afternoon near the town of Qaim.

"All personnel aboard were killed in the crash," Brig. Gen. Jonathan P. Braga, director of operations, Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve, said in a statement.

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The admiral in charge of both the nation's top electronic spying agency and the Pentagon's cybersecurity operations would seem a logical point man for countering Russia's digital intrusions in U.S. election campaigns.

But National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command chief Adm. Michael Rogers told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday there is only so much he can do. That is because, according to Rogers, President Trump has not ordered him to go after the Russian attacks at their origin.

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DAVID WELNA, BYLINE: And I'm David Welna in Washington. At first, President Trump's desire to parade the military through Washington did not strike former Marine Sergeant and Iraq veteran John Hoellwarth as the best use of the Pentagon's resources.

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President Trump has signed an executive order to keep the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, open. It was a key campaign promise, and the president made this announcement during his State of the Union speech last night.

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On this day 16 years ago, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced that the American naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, would be used to hold captives from the war on terror. Rumsfeld described it...

A risky move by one of the defense teams has led to unusual drama in the seemingly-endless pre-trial proceedings of the 9/11 war crimes case.

Defense attorney Walter Ruiz decided to roll the dice and challenge the prosecution to prove that his client, alleged 9/11 money man Mustafa al Hawsawi, should be tried as a war criminal.

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Republicans are taking the next step toward turning a tax bill into law.

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Critics in the Senate have posed a high-stakes question: Can anything keep President Trump from launching a nuclear attack on his own?

"We are concerned that the president of the United States is so unstable, is so volatile, has a decision-making process that is so quixotic that he might order a nuclear weapons strike that is wildly out of step with U.S. national security interests," said Connecticut Democrat Chris Murphy.

His Massachusetts colleague Ed Markey has offered legislation that would require congressional approval for any first use of nuclear weapons.

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The steel-plated, modified Boeing 747 that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis travels the world on had flown west from suburban Washington, D.C., for 19 hours when it touched down Monday on an airstrip the U.S. once owned and operated.

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In a bucolic valley nestled in Romania's Carpathian mountains, herds of sheep graze the hillsides. Then, suddenly, all hell breaks loose.

Volleys of live artillery fire thunder across a wide hollow. Stryker fighting vehicles charge down a hillside as troops in camouflage brandish automatic rifles as they scramble through tall grasses.

Other than vodka, the Russian product most familiar to Americans is probably the anti-virus software made by Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab.

Trash-tweeting the news media for the fifteenth time in a week, President Trump spent part of Sunday morning at his Bedminster Golf Club in New Jersey maligning CNN.

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If President Trump wants to keep his promise to send new detainees to the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, there's plenty of room.

"We haven't received any orders to take additional detainees in," says Navy Capt. John Filostrat. "But if given the order, we could go ahead and comply."

After nearly an hour's flight north from Baghdad, a cavernous C-130 military cargo plane touches down. Aboard are reporters, Pentagon officials and the man who has occasioned this trip, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.

The plane taxis along an airstrip that as recently as July was controlled — and then largely destroyed — by Islamic State fighters.

This is the Qayyarah Airfield West, just 30 miles south of Mosul.

Congress had a full seven months to block a rule change for federal courts that lets judges authorize the hacking of digital devices well beyond their districts.

But after a September attempt in the Senate to vote on the measure failed, opponents on Capitol Hill waited until the day before the rule change was to take effect to introduce three motions aimed at shooting it down or at least delaying its implementation.

Among the many unknowns hanging over this presidential transition: the fate of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. President Obama has sworn to close it; President-elect Trump wants to fill it up again.

Obama has been promising the closure will happen since his second day in office in 2009. In February, he repeated that pledge one more time, saying, "I'm absolutely committed to closing the detention facility at Guantanamo."

That same day, at a campaign rally in Sparks, Nevada, Donald Trump was promising the opposite.

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