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Eric Lach

Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website?s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl@talkingpointsmemo.com

Articles by Eric

Retired journalist Helen Thomas reignited the controversy regarding her views about Jews and Israel last week at an Arab-American workshop in Dearborn, Michigan. Thomas, who was forced to apologize and retire last spring after saying Jews "should get the hell out of Palestine" and "go home," said in a speech last week that "Congress, the White House and Hollywood, Wall Street are owned by the Zionists."

In response, Wayne State University announced it would end the Helen Thomas Spirit of Diversity Award.

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South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) has stumbled upon a simple formula for legislating: experience a career-killing scandal. The term-limited Republican, who will leave office in January, saw his upward political trajectory apparently end in June 2009, after he disappeared for six days and later admitted he'd run off to Argentina to be with his lover. But his approval ratings have bounced back (Rasmussen recently pegged him at an Obama-would-be-envious 55%) and in an interview with WISTV this week, he credited the scandal itself with helping him accomplish a number of things in his last legislative session. How's that?

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On Monday, we told you about Craig Monteilh, the rogue FBI informant so enthusiastic about finding terrorists in a California mosque that community members reported him to the FBI. Monteilh went public and sued the FBI after the fiasco, and, more recently, terror-related charges were dropped against mosque member Ahmadullah Sais Niazi, who was indicted apparently in large part because of information supplied by Monteilh.

But there's another twist. Niazi claims he was charged only after refusing to become an informer himself.

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Questions about entrapment have dogged counter-terrorism cases for some time, most recently in the case of the Oregon man charged with trying to blow up a Christmas-tree lighting ceremony. Now, from The Washington Post, comes the story of Craig Monteilh, a self-proclaimed FBI informant who was so aggressive in his quest to find potential terrorists at a California mosque that the community got a restraining order against him.

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