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Catherine Thompson

Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Catherine

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) sent a letter Tuesday to Secretary of State John Kerry demanding information about the alleged cover-up of misconduct cases in the State Department, according to The Hill

Royce requested the names of any individual who may have instructed the Diplomatic Security Service not to pursue eight cases of alleged misconduct within the State Department under its former head Hillary Clinton.

CBS News first reported Monday on the internal State Department memo revealing the investigations, including an "underground drug ring" operating near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad; Clinton's security detail soliciting prostitutes; and a U.S. Ambassador "patronizing prostitutes in a public park." 

“The notion that any or all of these cases would not be investigated thoroughly by the Department is unacceptable," Royce wrote.

The State Department denies the allegations. Spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters that "the notion that we would not vigorously pursue criminal misconduct is not only preposterous, it's inaccurate."

Royce gave Kerry until June 25 to submit the requested documents. 

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Former Cincinnati politicians called for Congress to clear the city's "good name and reputation" in an op-ed published Tuesday in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Former Democratic Rep. Tom Luken, who also served as mayor of Cincinnati, and Hamilton County auditor Dusty Rhodes asserted that the alleged decision to target Tea Party-aligned nonprofit groups came not from Ohio but from Washington:

Congressman Charles Rangel said, “There’s a cancer in Cincinnati.” That is just another example of how our region is taking collateral damage in IRS scandal. The Cincinnati area is being portrayed as a hotbed of rogue, corrupt IRS employees.

 

We are fed up with this constant refrain, which has been picked up by the media blaming the scandal on local IRS workers. We believe the problem originated in Washington. The Enquirer “fact-checked” remarks at Cincinnati’s national Town Hall meeting on the subject. When will you “fact check” the White House?

The pair encouraged Congress to complete a full investigation so that the responsibility for the alleged targeting may rest "squarely where it belongs."

An Inspector General report determined in May that there was no evidence connecting the White House to the IRS' targeting of conservative groups.

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At present Edward Snowden may be bunkering down in a "safe house" in Hong Kong, according to a reporter who worked with the source of the National Security Agency leaks. 

"Knowing it was only a matter of time before he was found, Snowden checked out" of his hotel on Monday, The Guardian's Ewan MacAskill wrote in an article published Tuesday. "It is thought he is now in a safe house."

The Guardian U.S.' chief reporter Ed Pilkington said on MSNBC earlier that morning that he personally didn't know where Snowden was hiding.

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A measure to remove decisions in military sexual assault cases from the chain of command was blocked Tuesday night in the Senate, NBC News reported.

Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) aligned himself with military brass when he removed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's (D-NY) measure to place decisions in such cases under the review of an independent prosecutor from the Defense Authorization Act. In its place, Levin inserted a proposal that would have senior officers review decisions when a military commander refuses to prosecute a sexual assault case.

Gillibrand aides told NBC News that Levin's move was "a real setback" but the senator is expected to re-introduce the measure when the bill comes to a vote this summer.

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President Barack Obama on Wednesday will travel to Boston, where he will deliver remarks at an event for Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) and the Massachusetts Democratic Party. Obama is scheduled to speak at 1:45 p.m. ET at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) took to Twitter Tuesday night to respond to Sen. Bob Menendez's (D-NJ) criticism that the senator suffered from "Obamaphobia."

Menendez challenged the senator's claim that President Obama is the single "biggest obstacle" to immigration reform in an appearance on MSNBC.

"Well, I think he has Obamaphobia," Menendez said of Cruz. "The reality is that it is the Gang of Eight that came together — four Democrats, four Republicans — and said that we need a path to citizenship."

Cruz maintains that a path to citizenship does not constitute "real" immigration reform.

 

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Wisconsin police would be barred from enforcing any new federal gun control measures under a bill circulated by a Republican lawmaker in the state legislature on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.

State Rep. Michael Schraa, a National Rifle Association member, circulated an email among colleagues seeking co-sponsors for the bill. Schraa's legislation would forbid any law enforcement officer in the state from enforcing "any federal act, law, rule, regulation or order enacted after Jan. 1, 2013, that bans or restricts semi-automatic weapons, assault weapons or magazines; requires people to register their guns, ammunitions or other firearm accessories; regulates magazine capacities or how much ammunition a person can possess; prohibits types of ammunition; or requires people to turn their weapons into the government," according to the AP.

"I’m not this cowboy, gun-toting legislator," Schraa told the AP. "I just think it’s ultimately important to protect our constitutional rights."

Correction: This post originally incorrectly attributed the information to the Green Bay Press Gazette. The information was published by the Associated Press and picked up by the Green Bay Press Gazette.

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A National Security Agency official will be brought to answer publicly before Congress on Wednesday for the first time since details of the agency's phone and Internet surveillance programs leaked last week. 

CBS News reported that Army Gen. Keith Alexander, National Security Agency director and head of U.S. Cyber Command, will testify in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee's scheduled session. 

Alexander had already met with the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who chairs the committee, said the committee had asked Alexander to declassify some information pertaining to the NSA surveillance programs so that Congress could better explain their purpose to the public.

"I think they're really helpful," Feinstein said, as quoted by CBS News. "And that's the problem, it's all classified... If we can get that declassified then we can speak much more clearly."

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The first lawsuit challenging the National Security Agency's collection of Verizon customers' phone records was filed on Friday, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Activist Larry Klayman, the former federal prosecutor who founded Judicial Watch, together with Philadelphia-based couple Charles and Mary Ann Strange filed the suit in federal district court in D.C. The suit, reproduced by the Inquirer, alleges that the agency's phone records collection violates Verizon customer's "reasonable expectation of privacy, free speech and association, right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures, and due process rights."

The Stranges are the parents of Navy SEAL Michael Strange, who was killed in 2011 when his helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan. In the lawsuit, the couple claims their phone records were accessed "since these Plaintiffs have been vocal about their criticism of President Obama as commander-in-chief, his administration, and the U.S. military regarding the circumstances surrounding the shoot down of their son's helicopter in Afghanistan."

As of Monday, the lawsuit has class-action status and claims to represent over 100 million people. The parties seek up to $3 billion in damages, as well as the termination of the surveillance program and public disclosure of its activity.

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