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

Articles by Catherine

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that if former national security contractor Edward Snowden wishes to stay in Russia, he "must stop his work aimed at harming our American partners," Reuters reported. 

Putin reiterated that Russian intelligence services have not been working with the source of the National Security Agency leaks and said that Snowden is "not a Russian agent," according to Reuters.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper sent a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee apologizing for giving an "erroneous" response when he said in a hearing that the National Security Agency does not collect data on millions of Americans, the Washington Post reported Sunday.

“I have thought long and hard to re-create what went through my mind at the time,” Clapper said in a previously undisclosed letter dated June 21, as quoted in the Post. “My response was clearly erroneous — for which I apologize.”

According to the Post, Clapper wrote that he misunderstood the question he was asked. During an Intelligence Committee hearing in March, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) had asked Clapper if the NSA collected any data on millions of American citizens, to which Clapper answered: "No, sir."

When he came under fire for that response in June, Clapper had said that he thought he responded to the committee in the "least untruthful manner," given that officials are unable to discuss classified information in public hearings.

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Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) called on House Republicans to respond to the "tall order" of bringing a majority of the party around to support comprehensive immigration reform and bring the legislation to the floor.

"No Republican would vote for legislation that stifled economic growth, promoted illegal immigration, added to the welfare rolls, and failed to ensure a secure border," Bush co-wrote with attorney Clint Bolick in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal on Monday. "Yet they essentially will do just that if they fail to pass comprehensive immigration reform—and leave in place a system that does all of those things."

Bush further stressed the importance of drafting measures that allow the government to issue more high-skilled work visas, and rejected the claim that the Senate immigration bill offered amnesty to people who reside in the U.S. illegally. 

Read the op-ed in full here

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Police said a 6-year-old girl was fatally shot by her 4-year-old brother in Hopkinsville, Ky., WSMV reported.

The children's grandfather told WSMV that he was cleaning his pistol out and thought it was unloaded. His 4-year-old grandson then picked it up and pointed it at his older sister, he said.

The shooting appeared to be an accident, according to the grandfather.

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Former President George W. Bush defended a National Security Agency surveillance program on Sunday, calling the collection of Internet data a necessary tool for homeland security.

"I put that program in place to protect the country," Bush said in an interview with CNN. "One of the certainties was that civil liberties were guaranteed."

Bush, who is in Zambia on a two-country trip to Africa, told CNN that he believes the Obama administration "will deal" with the consequences of former defense contractor Edward Snowden's leaks, refusing to criticize President Obama over allegations of government intrusion into citizens' privacy.

"I think there needs to be a balance, and as the President explained, there is a proper balance," he said.

Correction: This article originally said the interview took place on Monday. In fact, it took place on Sunday.

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President Barack Obama said Monday that his thoughts are with the families of 19 firefighters who were killed battling a blaze in Arizona.

"Yesterday, nineteen firefighters were killed in the line of duty while fighting a wildfire outside Yarnell, Arizona," he said in a statement. "They were heroes -- highly-skilled professionals who, like so many across our country do every day, selflessly put themselves in harm's way to protect the lives and property of fellow citizens they would never meet. In recent days, hundreds of firefighters have battled extremely dangerous blazes across Arizona and the Southwest. The federal government is already assisting, and we will remain in close contact with state and local officials to provide the support they need. But today, Michelle and I join all Americans in sending our thoughts and prayers to the families of these brave firefighters and all whose lives have been upended by this terrible tragedy."

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said on Saturday during a gathering of Latino public officials that the Republican party does a "lousy" outreach job in their community, according to the Chicago Tribune.

“I’ll be honest here. In the past two years, we’ve done a pretty lousy job of connecting in the Latino community," Priebus said in his remarks at a Chicago event for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, as quoted by the Tribune. "We’ve missed out on opportunities to build better relationships. But that’s going to change."

“I didn’t come here to convert you,” he added. “I hope that it’s clear that we want to earn your trust and your vote.”

Priebus further reiterated his belief in comprehensive immigration reform, and highlighted the work of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on getting an immigration bill to pass the Senate as proof that Republicans are leading on a key issue for Latino voters.

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The National Security Agency allegedly bugged offices and spied on European Union computer networks in Washington and at the United Nations, Reuters reported Saturday.

The latest alleged spy program was first reported by German magazine Der Spiegel, which cited a "top secret" September 2010 document that the magazine's journalists said former security contractor Edward Snowden had originally taken with him and had been shown to them in part. That document showed the program gave the NSA access to EU officials' conversations and phone calls, as well as documents and emails.

According to Der Spiegel, the document explicitly called the EU a "target."

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Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis (D), who catapulted to national notoriety when she led an 11-hour filibuster of new restrictive abortion legislation, said Saturday that she'll "fight with every fiber" to defeat the bill when it returns to the legislature. 

“I just refuse to say I believe it will happen. I’m an eternal optimist,” Davis said in an interview with ABC's “This Week” airing Sunday. “I believe in the power of democracy and I’m going to fight with every fiber I have to keep it from passing.”

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) called the Senate back for a special 30-day session beginning Monday to try once again to pass the bill. Davis shot back at the governor, who brought up her personal experience as a teenage mother in a speech he gave at the National Right to Life Convention this week, for trying to advance legislation she sees as hypocritical.

“He’s awfully fond of talking the talk of small government,” Davis told ABC. “But this [anti-abortion legislation] is big government intrusion, there is no question about it.”

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Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said that U.S. Vice President Joe Biden had contacted him Friday to discuss the Edward Snowden case, according to the Wall Street Journal

Speaking on his regular Saturday television broadcast, Correa said that Biden had asked him to reject a request for asylum in Ecuador from Snowden, who is wanted on espionage charges.

According to the Journal, Correa said that no decision will be made regarding the asylum request unless Snowden is on Ecuadorian territory, and if that happens, he would consider the U.S. government's request.

This post has been updated.

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