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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

Lonnie Snowden, the father of the National Security Agency leak source Edward Snowden, pushed back Sunday night against claims that his son was a "high school dropout." 

"I'm here because I'm really concerned about the misinformation in the media," Snowden said in an interview with Fox News host Eric Bolling, which the network teased on Monday morning.

"First and foremost, every place you read is 'high school dropout,'" he said. His son fell behind after missing four to five months of high school due to an illness, Lonnie Snowden said, but he completed his high school equivalency before he would have even graduated high school.

Bolling said his takeaway from the interview was that Snowden is "a concerned father." When he asked Snowden to speak directly to his son, Bolling said Lonnie Snowden pleaded, "Ed, don't leak anymore. Don't talk anymore."

The full interview will be rolled out throughout the day on Fox News.

[h/t Mediaite]

Several major Silicon Valley firms disclosed figures on U.S. government and law enforcement data requests over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

Facebook announced late Friday that it received between 9,000 and 10,000 requests from all levels of government in the U.S., from local law enforcement to classified national security requests, in the second half of 2012 alone. Microsoft said Friday that it received between 6,000 and 7,000 requests from all levels of government in that same time period, while Apple disclosed in a statement late Sunday that it received between 4,000 and 5,000 requests from U.S. law enforcement from December 2012 through May 2013.

Google, which asked the government for permission last week to publish all data requests the company received, challenged the tech firms' disclosures of partial data as a "step back" for its users.

"Our request to the government is clear: to be able to publish aggregate numbers of national security requests, including FISA disclosures, separately," a spokesman said in a statement quoted by the Wall Street Journal.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) will run a TV ad later this week to defend himself against the National Rifle Association's hefty attack ad buys, Politico reported Monday.

As of Sunday, the content of the ad and the amount Manchin's reelection campaign would spend on it were not yet finalized. Manchin aide Jonathan Kott told Politico that the ad will at least match the NRA's buy.

”The Washington NRA leadership is clearly out of step with the American people and law abiding gun owners, and is now attacking Senator Manchin for a position they once supported," Kott told Politico. "The Washington NRA leadership is trying to distort Senator Manchin’s commitment to the [Second] Amendment because they know he is one of the most credible defenders of gun rights who also believes that it just makes sense to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and those found severely mentally ill.”

This post has been updated.

Two Republican governors hailing from states that tout low taxes and an assault-rifle-friendly legislature will court gunmakers in Connecticut next week, the Hartford Courant reported Friday.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry and South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard will visit the state Monday and Tuesday, respectively, to tour gun manufacturer facilities including Colt in West Hartford and New Haven's O.F. Mossberg & Sons. 

Perry recently launched a TV ad campaign touting the Lone Star state's business climate. The governor has already visited California and Illinois on a so-called "job-poaching" tour designed to draw new business to Texas, and will visit New York before swinging into Connecticut. In contrast, Daugaard's trip was arranged with little pomp.

Mossberg's Senior Vice President and General Counsel Joe Bartozzi told the Courant that the law and state officials are no longer welcoming to gun manufacturers. "It would be incredibly unlikely for us to expand in Connecticut," he said.

"It’s nice to see someone come and say ‘We like your jobs, we welcome your business,” Bartozzi added. “It’s nice to be liked, it’s nice to be wanted.”

Rep. Ed Markey's (D-MA) campaign on Friday demanded Republican candidate Gabriel Gomez release his full client list in the wake of a Boston Globe investigation into his private equity career revealing the Senate hopeful helped create jobs in China.

The Globe reported Thursday that during Gomez's tenure as a principal at Advent International, one client that he worked with closely, Synventive Molding Solutions, expanded its operations in China while laying off workers in the U.S.

"Revelations that at Advent Gomez helped takeover American companies, only to lay off hard-working Massachusetts workers and expand their employer's operations overseas make it all the more important for Gomez to finally come clean with the people of the Commonwealth by revealing his full list of clients," campaign manager Sarah Benzing said in a statement obtained by TPM. "The Markey campaign calls on Mr. Gomez to stop ducking questions about his business record, reveal the list of his clients and allow voters to use that information to help determine what kind of Senator he would be."

Markey's campaign has repeatedly called for Gomez to discuss his business record in detail and release his client list, but Gomez has remained tight-lipped. When the Globe asked Gomez at a campaign event about his record of creating jobs overseas, Gomez curtly responded "that's not true" before slamming his car door as an aide drove him away.

The latest PollTracker average has Markey up 47.3 percent to Gomez's 38.5 percent. The Massachusetts special Senate election will take place June 25. 

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) on Thursday reportedly fired a member of his cabinet who had used racially biased language in an e-mail to refer to a state employee, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer

Corbett announced in a statement that he had asked his secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Richard J. Allan, to resign effective immediately, according to the Inquirer. A Corbett spokesman did not confirm the e-mail but told the newspaper that it was a "personnel decision." 

Sources informed the Inquirer that Corbett had been notified about an e-mail Allan sent to his wife, who also works for the state, that was seen by his wife's assistant. The sources did not give the Inquirer the full context of the e-mail, but did say that Allan "made a wordplay on colored."

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), a longtime immigration reform advocate, said Friday that because immigrants are "more fertile" they are a crucial source of labor for the United States.

"Immigrants create far more businesses than native-born Americans,” Bush said at a Faith and Freedom Coalition conference, as quoted by the Washington Post. “Immigrants are more fertile, and they love families, and they have more intact families, and they bring a younger population. Immigrants create an engine of economic prosperity.”

Bush was criticized for seemingly flip-flopping on support for a path to citizenship after he co-authored a book, “Immigration Wars: Forging An American Solution,” but ultimately supported immigration reform legislation being hammered out in Congress.

The largest Spanish-language newspaper in Massachusetts, El Planeta, endorsed Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) Thursday rather than throwing its support for the open Senate seat behind Latino GOP candidate Gabriel Gomez, the Boston Globe reported.

From the Globe:

El Planeta, a Somerville-based newspaper with a circulation of 40,000, said it endorsed Markey because the Irish-American Democrat would fight harder “to continue opening doors” for Latinos than Gomez, the son of Colombian immigrants and the Republican nominee.


“You would expect that for a Spanish-language media outlet, during an electoral campaign with a Latino US Senate candidate, the decision to support him would be easy,” the three-person editorial board wrote in an endorsement to be published Friday. But, they added, “on the matters that most affect the Latino community in Massachusetts, we think that Edward Markey has demonstrated a greater commitment to the defense of those issues than the Republican candidate, Gabriel Gómez.”

Still, with nearly 300,000 eligible Latino voters from Boston to Springfield, an increased turnout could make a difference in a race that has narrowed. Both candidates are scrambling to court voters in English and Spanish: Markey has campaigned in ethnic enclaves in Boston and Springfield, home to the largest Latino populations in the state, while Gomez lobbied Latinos last weekend at backyard barbecues and will hold a Latino town hall Saturday in Southbridge.

The full endorsement can be found here.

Sens. Mark Udall (D-CO) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) plan to introduce a bill next week that would curtail the National Security Agency's authority to collect Americans' phone data, Udall told the Denver Post Thursday. 

The proposed bill would put the burden of proving that a link exists between a person and a terror or espionage threat on the executive branch when it approaches the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to collect that person's phone records.

"The NSA's collection of millions of Americans' phone call records is the type of overreach I have warned about for years," Udall told the Post. "This legislation strikes the right balance in protecting our homeland while also respecting our Constitution." 

Udall and Wyden, who had prior knowledge of the NSA programs due to their position on the Senate Intelligence Committee, have been outspoken critics of the surveillance program since they were revealed in news reports last week.

When Yahoo refused to help the government spy on foreign users, it forced the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to compel the company and others like it to either turn over user data or break the law, the New York Times reported Thursday.

A heavily redacted 2008 court ruling shows that an internet company argued FISA requests constituted unreasonable search and seizure of its users' data protected by the Fourth Amendment. Sources confirmed to the Times that Yahoo was the petitioner in that case. 

The court wrote that "notwithstanding the parade of horribles trotted out by the petitioner, it has presented no evidence of any actual harm, any egregious risk of error, or any broad potential for abuse," adding "efforts to protect national security should not be frustrated by the courts."

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