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Catherine Thompson

Catherine Thompson is a news writer for Talking Points Memo. Before joining TPM, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett and interned at The L Magazine. At New York University she served as the deputy managing editor of NYU's student newspaper, The Washington Square News. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Catherine

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Sunday that the RNC's boycott over planned films about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would focus on CNN and NBC, which would air the films, and not on any company that may produce them. 

CNN's "State of the Union" host Candy Crowley asked Priebus to respond to a New York Times report that Fox Television Studios, Fox News' sister company, was in "the early stages" of talks with NBC to produce a miniseries on Clinton's life starring Diane Lane.

“The big question for me, Candy, is number one, which company is putting it on the air? Who is doing the work? I'm not interested if they're using the same caterer or whether they all drink Diet Coke and I'm not boycotting Diane Lane,” Priebus said.

“I am going to boycott the company that puts the mini-series and the documentaries on the air for the American people to view. I'm not interested in whether they use the same sound studio or whether they use the same set,” he added.

Watch the segment below, courtesy of CNN: 

President Barack Obama said in a Friday press conference that the United States "can and must be more transparent" in gathering intelligence for national security. 

Obama listed transparency as one of four steps his administration would take to address privacy and civil liberties with respect to surveillance. The president said he directed the intelligence community to "make public as much information about these programs as possible" and go further with declassifying information about National Security Agency surveillance programs.

President Barack Obama said Friday that he didn't believe Edward Snowden, who leaked classified information about National Security Agency data collection programs to several news publications, was a "patriot."

The president said in a press conference that he had signed executive orders offering whistleblower protection to the intelligence community, so there there were "other avenues" available to someone like Snowden "whose conscience was stirred and thought they needed to question government actions."

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona announced Thursday that he would issue semiautomatic AR-15 rifles to all patrol deputies and require them to carry a firearm even when off-duty, the Arizona Republic reported. 

The move was apparently unrelated to an incident earlier in the day when a jail worker with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office was shot to death in his front yard while starting his truck, according to the newspaper. Plans for the news conference had been made earlier in the week. Still, Arpaio used the opportunity to talk about the death of his employee.

"It’s very sad what happened,” Arpaio said, as quoted by the Republic. “This unfortunate situation that occurred dovetails somewhat into ... issuing my officers these semiautomatic AR-15 assault rifles.”

A news release from the sheriff's office said the agency had obtained 400 AR-15s in a process that took a few months to complete. The rifles were purchased with $500,000 seized under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, according to the newspaper. Arpaio said the AR-15s have an advantage over handguns in that they will help deputies counter suspects who have greater firepower.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) joined other prominent politicians including Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) in calling on embattled San Diego Mayor Bob Filner (D) to resign over allegations of sexual harassment.

In an open letter to Filner issued Friday, Boxer said that allegations Filner made advances towards women who were victims of sexual assault in the military have "shaken her to her core." From the letter: 

But now I must say this directly to you: Bob, you must resign because you have betrayed the trust of the women you have victimized, the San Diegans you represent and the people you have worked with throughout your decades in public life. 

I have worked for so many years to prevent and punish sexual violence and sexual harassment, wherever they occur. As we fight in the Senate to stand up for the men and women in our military who are survivors of sexual assault, I have heard their stories, seen the anguish in their faces, listened to them talk about the pain that will always be with them. Let me be clear: The latest revelations regarding your behavior toward women recovering from sexual assault – women who desperately need our help – have shaken me to my core. 

Bob, you have already hurt so many people. To avoid hurting your victims and the people of San Diego more than you already have, you should step down immediately. 

Read the full letter here

Former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) responded Friday to news reports that his half-brother, Bruce W. Browne, had been arrested for allegedly impersonating a police officer.

"For those of you who are asking about the news reports on my estranged half brother, I only know as much as you. I read about it in the news this morning," he wrote on his Facebook page, clarifying that Browne, who spells his last name differently, is his half-brother. Wolcott police Chief Edward Stephens had previously told the Associated Press that the two men were brothers. 

"As you many of you know, my mom and my late father were married and divorced 4 times each. Unfortunately, we were not close as a family," Brown continued. "These are serious charges and he will need to answer them. I feel badly for his children and I am thankful that no one was injured."

Secure communications provider Silent Circle Inc. announced to customers Thursday that it had shut down its email service, Reuters reported.

The announcement from co-founder Jon Callas came soon after the secure email provider allegedly used by Edward Snowden, Lavabit, cryptically announced it was shuttering in the face of what seemed to be government requests for user information.

In a blog post, Callas said that the company saw the "writing on the wall" when Lavabit shut down their system.

"We see the writing the wall, and we have decided that it is best for us to shut down Silent Mail now," Callas wrote. "We have not received subpoenas, warrants, security letters, or anything else by any government, and this is why we are acting now."

Email "cannot have the same security guarantees that real-time communications has," according to Callas, but he assured the company would continue to offer secure phone calls and text messaging.

[Image via PRNewsFhoto/Silent Circle]

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