Hunter Walker

Hunter Walker is a national affairs reporter for TPM. He came to the site in 2013 from the New York Observer. He has also written for New York Magazine, Gawker, the Village Voice, Forbes, The Daily, and Deadspin. He can be reached at hunter@talkingpointsmemo.com

Articles by Hunter

Gun rights activist Adam Kokesh told Washington D.C.'s NBC 4 news station that a video he posted on YouTube last week does indeed show him loading a shotgun in D.C.'s Freedom Plaza. Both the U.S. Park Police and the D.C. Police released a statement Friday indicating they are investigating the video.

Local laws in Washington D.C. prohibit the open carrying of firearms and the possession of guns not registered in the District. Kokesh described the clip to NBC 4 as a deliberate act of civil disobedience. 

"I was ready to stand by my word, and I was ready to commit the civil disobedience that I had committed to," said Kokesh.

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Multiple staffers have resigned at Al Jazeera's Egyptian channel, Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr, due to concerns the network's coverage was biased in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood, according to reports from Gulf News and Agence France-Presse. Gulf News said 22 staffers left Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr, including anchor Karem Mahmoud, who told the newspaper that management ordered the staff to favor the Muslim Brotherhood and said the push for "biased coverage" came from the channel's parent company in Qatar. 

"The management in Doha provokes sedition among the Egyptian people and has an agenda against Egypt and other Arab countries,” Mahmoud said. 

AFP said "several" employees resigned and quoted an unnamed Al Jazeera official who attributed the departures to the staffers having "not adapted to the editorial line of Al-Jazeera, which refuses to bow to pressure and which continues its coverage with professionalism, regardless of who is in power." 

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German newspaper Der Spiegel has released excerpts of a previously unpublished interview National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden conducted prior to revealing himself publicly. The interview was conducted over encrypted emails starting in mid-May between an anonymous Snowden, internet security activist Jacob Appelbaum, and documentarian Laura Poitras, who helped write some of the first reports based on documents leaked by Snowden. The questions were generated by Appelbaum after Poitras told him she wanted him to help assess the legitimacy of someone who contacted her claiming to be from the NSA. 

Along with providing a window into how Snowden communicated with activists prior to releasing his documents to the press, the interview sheds some light on Snowden's claims about the NSA's surveillance capabilities. 

In the interview, Snowden says the NSA works with foreign governments "all the time" and that the agency worked with Israel as a co-author of the Stuxnet virus that targeted Iranian nuclear facilities. He also discussed the agency's storage facilities and said the NSA currently can only hold small amounts of flagged data in perpetuity, but is hoping to reach a point where metadata on online communications is "permanently stored."  


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The family of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) has endorsed Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) over the heavy favorite, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, in the special election to fill Lautenberg's Senate seat. In a statement released by Pallone's campaign, Lautenberg's family described Pallone as the one candidate in the Democratic primary who "stands out as ready to continue Frank Lautenberg’s progressive leadership in the U.S. Senate."  

Booker announced his intention to "explore the possibility of" running for the seat in December, two months before Lautenberg announced his decision to retire after this term. That move angered Lautenberg and others in Jersey's Democratic establishment and after Lautenberg passed away last month at the age of 89, some insiders predicted invoking the late senator's name would be a good strategy to use against Booker in this race. 

Former New York State Governor Eliot Spitzer said in an interview with the New York Times that he is running for comptroller in New York City. Spitzer, who resigned as governor in 2008 after reports he used a high end escort service, also said he hopes voters will not hold his past transgressions against him.

"I’m hopeful there will be forgiveness, I am asking for it," said Spitzer.

Prior to becoming governor in 2007, Spitzer served as New York's attorney general from 1999 through 2006. As attorney general, he was known for aggressively prosecuting abuses in the financial industry, a role he said he hoped to play again as New York City's comptroller. 

"The metaphor is what I did with the attorney general’s office,” Spitzer said. “It is ripe for greater and more exciting use of the office’s jurisdiction."

To get on the ballot for the primary in September, Spitzer will need to get 3,750 signatures from registered voters by next Thursday.

His entry into the comptroller's race throws a surprising wrinkle into what was seen as an almost sure thing for Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. Neither Spitzer or Stringer immediately responded to requests for comment.

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Pro and anti Morsi protesters are reportedly clashing on the 6th October bridge, an elevated highway in Cairo, Egypt. According to NBC News' Ayman Mohyeldin, the protesters have been engaged in an "intense fight" for over an hour. 

Mohyeldin also reported the protesters are "using fireworks to attack each other" and that there are "no police or military on scene."

Additionally, Mohyeldin said ambulances are "unable to access" the injured because they are being "turned back from [the] front lines" of the protests. 

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Israel's ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, announced he is stepping down this Fall in a post on his Facebook page Friday.

"After more than four years, during which I had the honor of serving as Israel's ambassador to our most important ally, the United States of America, I will conclude my term this fall. I am grateful for the opportunity to represent the State of Israel and its Government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to the United States, President Barack Obama, the Congress, and the American people," Oren wrote. "Israel and the United States have always enjoyed a special relationship and, throughout these years of challenge, I was privileged to take part in forging even firmer bonds. I want to thank Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for affording me this extraordinary opportunity and to the communities which have hosted me so warmly across the United States. I look forward to continue serving the people of Israel in the future and further strengthening the historic U.S.-Israel alliance."

Israeli Army radio reported Friday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s senior adviser Ron Dermer will be appointed Israel's next ambassador to the United States, according to the Times of Israel. Last December, Israeli officials denied a report that Oren requested to end his tenure this year and would be replaced by Dermer.

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Birgitta Jonsdottir, one of the members of the Icelandic parliament who put forth a bill to grant National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden citizenship in that country, published a statement she identified as Snowden's response to the bill on her official website Thursday. The statement was addressed to "the Icelandic Parliament" and praised them for "considering" Snowden's citizenship request: 

"I want to extend my gratitude to the Icelandic parliament for considering my request for Icelandic citizenship. I have been left defacto-stateless by my own government after communicating with the public. I appreciate that Iceland, a small but significant country in the world community, shows such courage and commitment to its higher laws and ideals. I am heartened to feel the support of the Icelandic people whom I know have a long history of standing firm, even under threats of aggression, when basic principles are at stake."

Lawmakers voted not to debate the bill to provide Snowden citizenship before their summer recess. Including Jonsdottir, it was sponsored by six of the Parliament's 63 members. All of the bill's co-sponsors were from minority parties.

In her blog post that included the statement she said was from Snowden, Jonsdottir addressed the delayed vote.

"The current governmental parties did not have the guts to co-sponsor the bill, however they still have time to change their minds, since the parliament is heading into recess," Jonsdottir wrote. "The reason for the delay in putting forward the bill is that the parliament had not received a formal request from Snowden until today."

Jonsdottir has in the past worked closely with Wikileaks, which has claimed to be assisting Snowden as he seeks asylum and has distributed statements on his behalf. The statement published by Jonsdottir cannot be independently confirmed. Neither Jonsdottir or Wikileaks immediately responded to a request for comment.

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The United States has sent the Irish government an arrest warrant for National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, according to a report in the Irish Times

"The warrant has been issued as a pre-emptive strike against any effort by Mr Snowden to evade the US authorities by flying from Moscow to Havana on a commercial flight that stops off at Shannon for refuelling," the paper reported.

Snowden was last known to be in the transit area of the Moscow airport. He reportedly purchased a ticket on a flight from Moscow to Havana last month but was not seen on that plane. 


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National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden has requested asylum from six more countries, according to a tweet from the group Wikileaks, which has claimed to be advising Snowden. The group said the nations would not be named because of "attempted US interference."

Snowden originally requested asylum from 21 countries, all of which have reportedly declined his request, not responded, or said he must be within their borders for his request to be processed. Snowden was last known to be in the transit area of the Moscow airport. On Wednesday, a Wikileaks spokesman suggested to TPM Snowden may be able to get asylum from one of the countries that have said he must be within their territory if he is able to travel to them. 


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