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Perry Stein

Perry is a News Writer for Talking Points Memo based in Washington D.C. Prior to TPM, she was a reporter-research at The New Republic and worked for her hometown paper, The Miami Herald. Perry can be reached at perry@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Perry

The man of White House party crasher fame, Tareq Salahi, announced a new turn in his quixotic campaign for Virginia governor: a write-in effort for November's election.

Salahi, a self-described New Republican, was unable to gather the necessary 10,000 petition signatures to get on the ballot as an independent, although he says he has "overwhelming support" for his write-in effort, according to the Washington Post. 

If he doesn't win the governor's race, Salahi said he would move “toward seeking a United States Congressional seat in an upcoming election cycle.”

Tareq Salahi is best known as one half of the infamous couple that crashed a White House state dinner in 2009 and was later featured in the reality show, Real Housewives of D.C.

U.S. intelligence operatives hijacked and sabotaged the publication of an issue of al-Qaeda's prominent English language online magazine, Inspire, in an apparant attempt to stop the organization's online propaganda, officials told the Washington Post.

When the May 14 issue appeared online, the text on the second page was illegible and the following 20 pages were blank. It was promptly removed from the web.

“You can make it hard for them to distribute it, or you can mess with the content. And you can mess with the content in a way that is obvious or in ways that are not obvious,” one intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity told the Post.

The following May 30 issue of the magazine appeared online and depicted the Boston Marathon bombing as support for the magazine's own mantra that "a single lone jihad operation can force America to stand on one foot and live in a terrified state, full of fear . . ."

The U.S. decision to subvert the publication of the magazine was part of an ongoing debate within the Obama administration over the response to online publications that promote radicalization, according to the Post.

Pope Francis admitted the existence of a "gay lobby" inside the Vatican's secretive and often criticized administration, the Curia, the AFP noted Tuesday. The comment was originally reported by a Latin American Catholic website.

The Pontiff made the statement last Thursday in front of the Latin American and Caribbean Confederation of Religious Men and Women at the Vatican. He promised to reform the Curia, although he noted he would be unable to do so on his own. 

"I cannot carry out the reforms myself," he said. "I am very disorganised."

Around the same time Pope Benedict XVI unexpectedly retired in February, an Italian daily reported that a secret report commissioned by Benedict found that a powerful "gay lobby" in the Curia exercised "inappropriate influence."

Conservative radio host Sam Clovis announced Monday evening that he would be running for the Iowa Senate seat currently held by Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin, who is not seeking reelection.

Since Harkin made his announcement in late January, the Iowa GOP has failed to recruit a top-tier candidate to run for the seat, according to the Des Moines Register.

Clovis, a retired Air Force colonel and a tenured professor in the business and economics department at Morningside College in Sioux City, says on his campaign website that he wants to freeze federal spending, repeal the Affordable Care Act, repeal Dodd-Frank and abolish the federal personal income tax. He endorsed Rick Santorum in the Iowa caucus last year.

As of now, he will be running for the nomination against former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker and former U.S. Senate staffer David Young, two relatively unknowns in Iowa politics. State Sen. Joni Ernst, former state Rep. Rod Roberts, businessman Ron Langston and retired energy company CEO Mark Jacobs are also seriously considering a run. 

“I am running to expose the advance of crony capitalism, to halt the outrageous spending of taxpayer money and the wasteful entity that government has become. Lastly, I am running to flip ‘politics as usual’ on its proverbial head," Clovis said at his announcement Monday, according to the Des Moines Register. I will not be an establishment candidate, and I will run off the engine of grass-roots support from folks all across the great state of Iowa.”

Congressman Bruce Braley is seeking the Democratic nomination.

On Sunday, 29 year-old government contractor Edward Snowden outed himself as the man responsible for leaking classified documents about secret National Security Agency programs to the Guardian and Washington Post. The documents, which showed that the government has been collecting massive amounts of personal phone records from millions of Americans, triggered national debate over whether the government is within their legal rights to collect this information, even if in the name of national security.

As the public learns more about Snowden himself and his motives for the leak, politicians and pundits were quick to place him in one of two categorizes: hero or traitor. 

Here's a round-up of some reactions on Monday to Snowden's actions:

Read More →

More than half of all Americans - 56 percent - say that the National Security Administration's program tracking the phone records of millions of Americans is an acceptable way for the government to investigate terrorism, while 41 percent find it unacceptable, according to a Pew Research Center and Washington Post poll released Monday.

The survey, conducted between June 6-9, found that the recent revelations of the government's wide collection of personal phone and email records have not shifted public opinion on the tradeoff between national security and protecting citizens' privacy. Sixty-two percent of respondents say it is more important for the government to investigate possible terrorist threats, even if that intrudes on personal privacy. Only 34 percent of those polled said it is more important for the government not to intrude on personal privacy.

Read More →

The Obama administration briefed lawmakers 22 times on section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Act--the law that has been used to justify NSA's email monitoring program, a senior official told the Huffington Post.

Section 702 gives the Attorney General and Director of National Intelligence the authority to gather intelligence on non-U.S. citizens for up to one year.

The senior official provided data that showed that over the span of 14 months starting in October 2011, 22 separate briefings to Congress touched on the law. It's not immediatelly clear, as the Huffington Post notes, to what extent those briefings covered the law or any the subsequent programs that have stemmed from its enactment.

Sen. Jon Thune (R-D) went as far as saying that "most members of Congress" were likely unaware of the breadth of the National Security Agency's surveillance programs.

Read the full list of meetings here.

Top officials from the Justice Department, the FBI and the National Security Administration will speak to House members Tuesday in the wake of leaked information showing that the NSA collects massive amounts of personal internet and cellphone data, Politico reported.

Deputy Attorney General James Cole, Deputy Director of the FBI Sean Joyce, NSA Deputy Director Chris Inglis and Robert Litt, the general counsel of the office of the Director of National Intelligence are expected to attend.

 

A former neighbor of Edward Snowden, the source of the National Security Agency leaks, recalled the 29-year-old as a "nice kid" in an interview published Monday with USA Today.

"[He] wasn't really personable. He didn't say much at all. He would say, 'Hi,' but he'd be looking down," said Joyce Kinsey, who resides in a Maryland apartment complex where Snowden once lived, and where his mother now resides.

Kinsey said that Snowden hasn't lived in the house for about a decade, but regularly visited his mother, Elizabeth Wendy Snowden, there over the holidays. The younger Snowden originally lived in the apartment with a roommate and then a girlfriend, who was "kind of artsy." His mother moved in around the time that he moved out.

"She's a wonderful woman – I like her very much, and her dog is the most wonderful dog I've ever seen in my life," added Kinsey. "He's right there with her. He knows how to get her help."

Democratic New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone has officially announced his candidancy to complete the remainder of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg's term in the U.S. Senate.

Pallone, who has been in Congress since 1989, declared his candidacy at a press conference Monday afternoon and then delivered the required petition signatures to run to New Jersey’s Division of Elections.

"Today, I am proud to stand here and declare my candidacy to be the next U.S. Senator from the great state of New Jersey,” he said, according to press release. “Although I wish this opportunity to run for the seat vacated as a result of the loss of my good friend and colleague, Senator Frank Lautenberg, had never risen, I am committed to carrying on his legacy of fighting for New Jersey."

Pallone's announcement means that three people will be seeking the Democratic nomination: Newark Mayor Cory Booker, U.S. Rep. Rush Holt and Pallone himself. Today is the deadline to qualify for the Aug. 13 primary. The general election is on Oct. 16.

A Quinnipiac poll released Monday found that in the three-way primary, Booker would receive 53 percent of the vote, Holt 10 percent and Frank Pallone 9 percent. Twenty-three percent of voters remain undecided.

 

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