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

President Obama on Tuesday said that immigrants who came to the United States illegally "shouldn't be let off easily."

"Yes, they broke the rules," Obama said in a statement on immigration reform at the White House. "They didn't wait their turn. They shouldn't be let off easily, they shouldn't be allowed to game the system."

A spokesman for a community college in southeastern Maryland confirmed Monday that a student with ex-CIA contractor Edward Snowden's name and birthdate attended the school, Mother Jones reported.

Anne Arundel Community College Spokesman Daniel Baum said that an Edward Snowden attended the college in Arnold, Md. from 1999 to 2001 and again from 2004 to 2005. Baum told Mother Jones that the student did not enroll in any "cyber-related" courses at the college or receive any degree.

The Guardian reported in its profile on the source of the leak about National Security Agency surveillance programs that Snowden "attended a community college in Maryland, studying computing, but never completed the coursework." The article did not name the college.

Police arrested nearly 60 protesters, many of them clergy members, Monday at a rally in North Carolina's Republican-led General Assembly, the Charlotte Observer reported.

The rally in Raleigh was the latest in a string of "Moral Monday" demonstrations held since April to protest the state GOP's cuts to Medicaid and policies on voter ID and women's rights, among other issues.

Religious leaders led the rally, according to the Observer. One of the newspaper's own reporters was also detained while interviewing demonstrators.

“Many of us have previously attempted to reach out to Assembly leaders for dialogue, and we have been ignored,” seven local rabbis said in a written statement, as quoted by the Observer. “We therefore endorse the use of nonviolent civil disobedience to draw attention to the reckless and heartless policies currently passing into law in Raleigh. ... We recognize the need for solidarity at this time in North Carolina."

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) told reporters on Monday that she had never been briefed on the National Security Agency's PRISM program, according to the Huffington Post.

Collins, who served as the top-ranking Republican on the Homeland Security Committee last year and is a member of the intelligence committee this session, said she hadn't been briefed on the sweeping internet data collection program before The Guardian reported on it last week.

Collins said she never had access to the "highly compartmentalized information," and dismissed President Obama's claim that members of Congress could have requested a briefing on the surveillance program. "How can you ask when you don't know the program exists?" Collins asked, as quoted by the Huffington Post.

Justice Department officials on Monday began the process of filing charges against defense contractor Edward Snowden, the man claiming responsibility for the leak of classified documents about National Security Agency surveillance programs, according to the New York Times.

An official told the Times that there is "no hesitation" in charging Snowden, who may still be hiding out in Hong Kong. The Times wrote that the charges "would strengthen the Justice Department's hand if it tries to extradite him to the United States."

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) dodged reporters on his way out of a Virginia Free luncheon in Fairfax County on Monday, according to a Richmond Times-Dispatch report:

After speaking for roughly 20 minutes at the annual gathering of Virginia business leaders and elected officials in Fairfax County, McDonnell was hurried into an elevator as television and newspaper reporters tried to get him to stop and answer questions regarding the probe.


"I really can't. I came to talk about transportation and business," McDonnell said, as he stood behind aides and security in the back of an elevator at the Ritz-Carlton. "I really can't talk about it."

The Washington Post on Sunday night confirmed a grand jury witness--Virginia state Delegate David Ramadan--who served as the first public indication that a grand jury had been empaneled to investigate whether the governor assisted the executives of a dietary supplement company in exchange for gifts.

The Allentown Morning Call updated its story on Edward Snowden's father to reflect that FBI agents had visited his Pennsylvania home.

The Morning Call now reports that a short time after stepmother Karen Snowden refused to comment on her stepson, two FBI agents from the Allentown office identified themselves to a newspaper photographer outside the home.

The newspaper also updated its story to include a brief interview Lonnie Snowden, Edward's father, had with ABC News on Sunday, in which he said he is still "digesting and processing" the news about his son.

Government prosecutors in the Bradley Manning trial may soon call as a witness a participant in the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound who suffered traumatic brain injuries, according to the Huffington Post.

A filing from the potential witness, dated April 29 and published Monday by the Huffington Post, only identifies the raid member as "John Doe." The soldier admits in that filing to having "occasional short-term memory deficiencies" as far back as "2 to 3 years ago," before the time of the raid, due to "repetitive TBI [traumatic brain injury], but not major trauma."

The soldier affirms in the filing that the injuries "do not impact my life in any discernible way, but requires understanding and triages to work through it."

Prosecutors said they may question the raid member to determine whether files Manning leaked to WikiLeaks ended up in bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, per the Huffington Post report.

Media organizations located the father and stepmother of the man who leaked information about National Security Agency surveillance programs, Edward Snowden, in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley region, according to the Allentown Morning Call.

Lonnie Snowden, 52, and Karen Snowden, 48, of Upper Macungie, Penn., told The Morning Call that they've been fending off media requests including ABC's "Good Morning America."

The Snowdens told the newspaper that a public statement from the couple is forthcoming, although there would not be one Monday.

In an interview with The Guardian, ex-CIA employee Snowden said that his family had no knowledge of his plans to disclose top-secret information and that he feared for their safety going forward.

"The only thing I fear is the harmful effects on my family, who I won't be able to help any more," Snowden told The Guardian. "That's what keeps me up at night."

The Guardian article notes that Snowden was brought up in Elizabeth City, N.C., and that the family later moved near NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Md.

Update: The Morning Call has edited its original story to reflect that FBI agents have visited the Snowden home.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said Monday that President Barack Obama is the single "biggest obstacle to passing common sense immigration reform."

"A path to citizenship is the most divisive aspect of this bill," Cruz told ABC's Jeff Zeleny, "and the White House is insisting on it."

Cruz slammed both the White House and Congress for being soft on border security provisions and for shutting down substantive amendments to the immigration bill that would prevent incentivizing continued illegal immigration.

“The path the White House is going down, I believe, is designed for this bill to fail,” Cruz said. “It is designed for it to sail through the Senate and then crash in the House to let the president go and campaign in 2014 on this issue.”

Cruz has been criticized for going against the grain of the GOP leadership, earning him the nickname "wacko bird" from Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

To that criticism, Cruz responded "if standing for liberty, if standing for free market principles and the Constitution makes you a wacko bird, then I am a very proud wacko bird."