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

The head of the Massachusetts State Police said Tuesday that the police photographer who leaked photos of the arrest of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will likely keep his job, the Boston Globe reported.

Col. Timothy Alben told the Globe that Sgt. Sean Murphy was "a man of character," and "a person who has come in here and given a great deal to this organization.”

A State Police spokesman told the Globe that the decision to fire a trooper depends on the seriousness of the offense as well as prior disciplinary history. Murphy was not accused of criminal conduct or violence, the spokesman said.

Gilberton, Penn. police Chief Mark Kessler said Wednesday he was exercising his First and Second Amendment rights when he posted profanity-ridden videos to YouTube, in which he fires machine guns and calls Secretary of State John Kerry a "traitor" for supporting a U.N. arms treaty.

In a phone interview with the Pottsville Republican-Herald newspaper, Kessler defended two July 15 Youtube videos that went viral this week, one up to 31,319 views Tuesday from just 3,280 views on Monday by that newspaper's count. The videos show him in plain clothes firing automatic weapons while going on verbal tirades about gun rights.

"I think the video is in support of the Constitution -- the support of the First Amendment, the right to express your thoughts and words freely without reprisal from any government," Kessler told the Republican-Herald. "That's why I used the vocabulary I did. As for the firing of the guns, that is my Second Amendment right. I have the right to keep and bear arms regardless of what the government says that I don't."

"You don't see me going out and dragging people out of their vehicles and beating on them. You don't see me doing anything like that," he told the newspaper, comparing his videos to those that purport to show police brutality. "Did I use some vulgar language? Absolutely. Is it my right to do that? Absolutely. It's the First Amendment. Did I fire off a gun? Absolutely."

Kessler's YouTube content extends beyond those two posts. His channel also features a rant against "libtards" and a gun demonstration in which Kessler, in police uniform, shot a photo of a clown that he described as "Nancy Pelosi with her gavel, when she was speaker of the House."

Watch Kessler's original YouTube posts below:  

This post has been updated.

A second woman came forward Tuesday night to say that she plans to report an uncomfortable advance by San Diego Mayor Bob Filner. 

Political consultant Laura Fink, who worked for then-congressman Filner as a deputy campaign manager from 2004 to 2006, told KPBS News that Filner touched her "posterior" in front of guests at a 2005 fundraiser.

Fink told KPBS that she sent Filner an email detailing the incident, in which he asked her to "turn around" and put his hands on her "posterior" after a fundraiser attendee remarked that Fink had "worked her tush off" to organize the event. Fink demanded an apology and the mayor simply mumbled "I'm sorry" a few days later, she said.

Watch the full interview below, courtesy of KPBS: 

The White House released a statement Tuesday condemning an amendment introduced in the House by Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) that would defund a National Security Agency phone records collection program that the Obama administration said is vital to national security.

"We urge the House to reject the Amash Amendment, and instead move forward with an approach that appropriately takes into account the need for a reasoned review of what tools can best secure the nation," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in the statement.

Rep. Joe Garcia (D-FL) on Tuesday condemned Rep. Steve King's (R-IA) comments on legalizing undocumented immigrants in a Newsmax interview last week.

"In my district, I have multiple schools, who on a regular basis produce valedictorians and they are undocumented," Garcia said in a House Judiciary Committee hearing on immigration. "However, when members of this house use language such as 'for every one that is a valedictorian, there are another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds and have calves the size of cantaloupes because they've been hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert,' it is offensive." 

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) also made reference to King's remarks in the hearing, citing the "valedictorians, salutatorians, young men and women" who come through her office "with tears in their eyes" as motivation to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), who has come under fire recently for a string of gifts he allegedly received from a donor, issued a press release Tuesday declaring that all loans made to his family have been repaid in full.

A 2011 loan to McDonnell's wife Maureen for $52,278 and two separate loans totaling $71,837 made in 2012 to a real estate business owned by the governor and his sister were repaid in full, according to the press release. The loans were originated by Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams.

"Being Governor of Virginia is the highest honor of my 37 years in public service," McDonnell said in the press release. "I am deeply sorry for the embarrassment certain members of my family and I brought upon my beloved Virginia and her citizens. I want you to know that I broke no laws and that I am committed to regaining your trust and confidence."

According to Rep. Steve King's (R-IA) math, legalizing undocumented immigrants is untenable because for every valedictorian DREAMer -- immigrants brought to the U.S. as children -- there are 100 more who are carrying drugs across the border.

"Some of them are valedictorians, and their parents brought them in," King told Newsmax in an interview last week. "It wasn't their fault. It's true in some cases, but they aren't all valedictorians. They weren't all brought in by their parents."

"For everyone who's a valedictorian, there's another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert,” he continued. “Those people would be legalized with the same act."

King introduced an amendment last month that would reverse the Obama administration's delayed deportations of DREAMers, leading DREAMers to stage a protest in his Washington office.

Watch King's full interview with Newsmax below. His comments on amnesty come at the six-minute mark.


[h/t NBC News Latino]

A lawyer for Sgt. Sean Murphy, the Massachusetts State Police photographer who released images of the alleged Boston Marathon bomber's arrest to Boston Magazine last week, said his client was placed on restricted duty Tuesday, according to the Boston Herald.

A hearing had been scheduled Tuesday at Massachusetts State Police headquarters to determine Murphy's employment status moving forward. While Murphy keeps his job pending the outcome of an investigation, his lawyer Leonard Kesten told the Herald that state police management will make the next move.

Senate Intelligence Committee leaders Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) released a joint statement Tuesday condemning an amendment to Rep. Justin Amash's (R-MI) House appropriations bill that would gut National Security Agency surveillance programs.

“Since the public disclosure of the business records program, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has explored how the program can be modified to add extra privacy protections without sacrificing its effectiveness," the statement read. “We believe this debate in the Congressional Intelligence and Judiciary committees should continue and that any amendments to defund the program on appropriations bills would be unwise." 

Senate Intelligence Committee member Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) spoke out against those programs in a speech Tuesday at the Center for American Progress in Washington, stressing the importance of reforming surveillance law to protect Americans' privacy.