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 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.

As a national security correspondent, Welna has continued covering the overseas travel of Pentagon chiefs who've succeeded Hagel. He has also made regular trips to the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to provide ongoing coverage of the detention there of alleged "foreign enemy combatants" and the slow-moving prosecution of some of them in an episodically-convened war court. In Washington, he continues to cover national security-related issues being considered by Congress.

In mid-1998, after 16 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 in 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, Minnesota, 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.

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NOEL KING, HOST:

The question of exactly why the Trump administration held up close to $400 million in security assistance to Ukraine came up many times during the first two days of public hearings in the House of Representatives' impeachment inquiry.

Less discussed has been what motivated President Trump's abrupt decision on Sept. 11 to lift the hold on that aid.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The Constitution of the United States says an official may be impeached for a few things, quote, "treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors."

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The world's two nuclear superpowers have never unleashed their atomic arsenals against one another, but two longstanding agreements that have helped keep the United States and Russia from doing so now appear to be on the verge of collapse.

Closing The Open Skies

Nov 3, 2019

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

President Trump has executed a policy U-turn on Syria. He's now tasking U.S. forces that he'd promised to withdraw from there with a new mission: securing the oil fields of southeastern Syria.

And it's raising questions about just what he intends to do with that oil.

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Updated at 4:55 p.m. ET

Turkey is demanding that U.S. officials call off plans to meet with Mazloum Abdi, the Kurdish commander-in-chief of the Syrian Democratic Forces which fought alongside American troops to dislodge Islamic State insurgents from northeastern Syria.

"Our allies' dialogue with a terrorist wanted with a red notice is unacceptable," Turkish foreign minister Mevut Cavusoglu told Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency Friday.

Another round of federal criminal charges has hit the plea deal holdouts in the Varsity Blues college admissions bribery scandal that broke earlier this year.

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