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.

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Mitt Romney
6:41 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

With Eye On November, Romney To Expand Campaign

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks with a staffer on the night of the Florida primary in January. Now that he's pivoting away from the primaries to the general election, Romney is expected to quadruple his staff soon.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Now that he's all but certain to be the Republican challenging President Obama in November, Mitt Romney has begun to expand his operations. In the past week, he's named a top aide to head his vice presidential selection team, and his paid staff is expected to soon quadruple in size.

With the president's campaign well-staffed and spread across the map, it's become a game of catch-up for Romney.

There are Republican primary contests in five important states next Tuesday, but with Rick Santorum's departure from the race, they've gotten little attention.

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Election 2012
6:10 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Even For Romney, Delegate Math Still A Problem

Mitt Romney waits to speak while being introduced Monday during a campaign stop in Mobile, Ala.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 13, 2012 5:48 pm

For many following the Republican presidential contest, the big question is who's winning.

That's not easily answered if you go only by who has won each state's primary or caucus. But if you measure who's won the most pledged convention delegates, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is clearly in the lead.

So much so, in fact, that Romney's campaign insists there's no way his rivals can catch up or keep him from getting the 1,144 delegates needed for securing the nomination in Tampa this summer during the Republican National Convention.

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Election 2012
3:00 pm
Mon March 5, 2012

Republican Challengers Pile On In Ohio House Race

This Nov. 4, 2008, file photo shows Republican Rep. Jean Schmidt being congratulated by supporters in Loveland, Ohio. Schmidt is up against three other Republicans in the March 6 primary.
David Kohl AP

Super Tuesday isn't only about 10 states voting for the four GOP presidential contenders. Every seat in the 435-member House of Representatives is up for grabs next fall, and some of that chamber's longtime incumbents are facing off with members of their own party at the polls Tuesday.

In the battleground state of Ohio, Republican Rep. Jean Schmidt is facing more GOP challengers for her job on Tuesday than any other House member.

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Election 2012
4:58 pm
Wed February 29, 2012

Delegate Process Could Make Race A Long(er) Haul

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney shakes hands at a campaign rally at Capital University in Bexley, Ohio, on Wednesday.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 8:34 pm

Mitt Romney's decisive victory in Arizona on Tuesday won him every one of that state's 29 delegates in what was a winner-take-all election. But it was quite a different story in Michigan.

Even though Rick Santorum finished 3 percentage points behind Romney, Santorum ended up with the same amount of delegates: 15. That's because Michigan awards most of its delegates according to congressional districts.

Every one of the 10 states voting next week on Super Tuesday will also award delegates on a proportional basis.

Picking Up Delegates

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The Two-Way
9:39 pm
Sat December 17, 2011

Senate OKs Two More Months For Payroll Tax Cut

"It would be inexcusable for Congress not to further extend this middle-class tax cut for the rest of the year," Obama said after the Senate passed a two-month extension on the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Sat December 17, 2011 9:53 pm

The U.S. Senate wrapped up a tumultuous year of divided government with votes that keep the federal government funded through September and extend expiring unemployment benefits and a payroll tax cut another two months.

In a rare Saturday year-end session, the Senate's action averted a shutdown but was not the last word on the payroll tax cut extension.

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