Larry Abramson

Larry Abramson is NPR's National Security Correspondent. He covers the Pentagon, as well as issues relating to the thousands of vets returning home from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Prior to his current role, Abramson was NPR's Education Correspondent covering a wide variety of issues related to education, from federal policy to testing to instructional techniques in the classroom. His reporting focused on the impact of for-profit colleges and universities, and on the role of technology in the classroom. He made a number of trips to New Orleans to chart the progress of school reform there since Hurricane Katrina. Abramson also covers a variety of news stories beyond the education beat.

In 2006, Abramson returned to the education beat after spending nine years covering national security and technology issues for NPR. Since 9/11, Abramson has covered telecommunications regulation, computer privacy, legal issues in cyberspace, and legal issues related to the war on terrorism.

During the late 1990s, Abramson was involved in several special projects related to education. He followed the efforts of a school in Fairfax County, Virginia, to include severely disabled students in regular classroom settings. He joined the National Desk reporting staff in 1997.

For seven years prior to his position as a reporter on the National Desk, Abramson was senior editor for NPR's National Desk. His department was responsible for approximately 25 staff reporters across the United States, five editors in Washington, and news bureaus in Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago. The National Desk also coordinated domestic news coverage with news departments at many of NPR's member stations. The desk doubled in size during Abramson's tenure. He oversaw the development of specialized beats in general business, high-technology, workplace issues, small business, education, and criminal justice.

Abramson joined NPR in 1985 as a production assistant with Morning Edition. He moved to the National Desk, where he served for two years as Western editor. From there, he became the deputy science editor with NPR's Science Unit, where he helped win a duPont-Columbia Award as editor of a special series on Black Americans and AIDS.

Prior to his work at NPR, Abramson was a freelance reporter in San Francisco and worked with Voice of America in California and in Washington, D.C.

He has a master's degree in comparative literature from the University of California at Berkeley. Abramson also studied overseas at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, and at the Free University in Berlin, Germany.

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Technology
3:20 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

Funding For Software To Cloak Web Activity Provokes Concern

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 1:18 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Lavabit isn't the only company affected by the fallout form the Edward Snowden leaks. An anonymity tool known as Tor is also in the National Security Agency's sightlines. Tor is widely is used by dissident groups, journalists, even police as a way to surf the Internet and communicate online without revealing anyone's identity.

NPR's Larry Abramson reports that while the NSA has been trying to hack into Tor, other branches of the U.S. government provide a large amount of Tor's funding.

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The Two-Way
3:00 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

How The Shutdown Is Affecting The Military

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 5:52 pm

Larry Abramson, who covers national security for NPR, sent us this missive, about how the shutdown of the federal government is affecting the Pentagon:

If you are a soldier, sailor, airman or marine, you will be paid during a shutdown. But only half of civilian defense workers are supposed to show up for work, and the rest do not get paid.

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The Two-Way
6:19 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Is The U.S. Collecting Cellphone Location Data?

Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, in June 2013.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 6:16 am

Is the National Security Agency collecting cellphone tracking information on millions of Americans?

After a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, we still can't be sure. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has been trying to get intelligence officials to confirm or deny the existence or nonexistence of such a program.

Remember, records of where your cellphone is located give a pretty good idea of where the owners are. Wyden asked NSA Director Keith Alexander about that at Thursday's hearing, and Alexander said, no — not under "the current program."

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Technology
3:51 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

NSA Revelations Leave Encryption Experts In A Quandry

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 6:19 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The technology world is reeling. That's after press reports earlier this month that the National Security Agency may have weakened computer software. The reason, to make it easier for the government to read encrypted messages. The stories have upset many encryption experts, the very people who help scramble digital communications to keep those messages secure.

NPR's Larry Abramson reports.

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The Two-Way
4:31 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

On Budget Issues, Pentagon's Rhetoric Is Challenged

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 5:06 pm

The budget battles in Washington have inspired the need for some verbal gymnastics that have challenged even the most adept doublespeakers at the Pentagon. As one member of the House pointed out today, some Pentagonians have insisted that Congress cannot cut a single additional dollar from defense, without endangering the national defense strategy.

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