Essential Reads

Essential Reads is your one-stop source for the top stories of the day as reported by your favorite Washington Week panelists. It's a simple way to save time and stay informed about the news you need to know. Check it out every day!

Jan 22, 2014

  • Sochi Security Preparations

    With Jim Sciutto, CNN

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  • U.S. Military Eyes Afghan Force of 10,000, or a Pullout

    By Jackie Calmes and Eric Schmitt, The New York Times

    The Pentagon has proposed to President Obama that 10,000 American troops remain in Afghanistan when the international combat mission there ends after this year, or none at all, senior government officials said Tuesday.

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  • Official accuses Muslim Brotherhood of trying ‘to cripple’ Egypt

    By Amina Ismail and Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers

    Egyptian officials on Tuesday sought to counter growing concerns that their crackdown on dissidents marks a return to the authoritarian rule of Hosni Mubarak, accusing the Muslim Brotherhood as trying to cripple Egypt’s future and calling the brief tenure of President Mohammed Morsi the “worst year in Egypt’s history.”

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  • Chris Christie: Bipartisan Governor or Partisan Warrior?

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    It wasn’t supposed to be this way for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

    No doubt he imagined there would be national attention as he took the oath of office for a second term. No doubt he assumed that what he said in his second inaugural address would be scrutinized.

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  • Former VA Governor Indicted

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

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  • The GOP discovers inequality

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    "Poverty is not some rare disease from which the rest of us are all immune," a leading American politician said last week. "It is but the worst strain of a widespread disease otherwise known as economic insecurity. Most families worry about making ends meet."

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Jan 21, 2014

  • Snowden could use a trial to showcase spy claims

    By Kimberly Dozier, Associated Press

    Should Edward Snowden ever return to the U.S., he would face criminal charges for leaking information about National Security Agency surveillance programs. But legal experts say a trial could expose more classified information as his lawyers try to build a case in an open court that the operations he exposed were illegal.

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  • Lawmakers: Russia may have aided Snowden

    Susan Davis, USA Today

    Three top congressional lawmakers said Sunday that Russia may have assisted Edward Snowden in leaking classified national security intelligence.

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  • The Republican Party’s uphill path to 270 electoral votes in 2016

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    A recent conversation with a veteran of GOP presidential campaigns raised this question: Which, if any, of the recent battleground states are likely to become more Republican by 2016? The consensus: very few.

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  • Iowa’s Republican governor opens assault on his state party

    By Reid Wilson, Washington Post

    Two years from now, Republicans will formally kick off the process of nominating a presidential candidate with caucus meetings in church basements, community centers and school classrooms. The candidate they nominate will rise or fall, in part, based on the grass-roots prowess of the Republican Party’s organization here and in other swing states.

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  • Hillary Clinton Super PAC Starting to Look More Like the Obama Machine

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    The Hillary Hoodie with the "Herculean H" logo goes for $38. Asphalt gray. One hundred percent cotton fleece. The mobile-phone cover features that badass photo of the former secretary of State in dark sunglasses looking intently at her phone. T-shirts and water bottles come in hip shades of fluorescent yellow, pink, and green.

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Jan 17, 2014

  • Obama Calls for Overhaul of N.S.A.’s Phone Data Collection Program

    By Peter Baker and Mark Landler, The New York Times

    President Obama said Friday that he would require intelligence agencies to obtain permission from a secret court before tapping into a vast trove of telephone data, but he will leave the data in the hands of the government for now.

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  • Obama To Announce Changes To NSA Surveillance

    With Tom Gjelten, NPR

    The debate over the National Security Agency's surveillance programs and other secret NSA activities revealed by Edward Snowden has set the stage for an important speech by President Obama. What are the most pressing issues and most important questions the president needs to address on Friday when he speaks at the Department of Justice?

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  • NSA has 100,000 computers bugged

    By Jim Sciutto, CNN

    The New York Times reports that the NSA has bugged 100,000 computers worldwide for surveillance and cyber attacks and can access them without the internet. CNN's Jim Sciutto reports.

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  • Senate passes $1 trillion spending bill

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    The U.S. Senate approved on a bipartisan 72-26 vote a sweeping spending bill to fund the government through September and eliminate the threat of another government shutdown during that time.

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  • Women are wielding notable influence in Congress

    By Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post

    After decades of trying to amass power, several women have vaulted to the top of influential congressional committees, putting them in charge of some of the most consequential legislation being considered on Capitol Hill.

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  • The Myth of the Independent Voter

    By Amy Walter, Cook Political Report

    For years, conventional wisdom has held that as independent voters go, so goes an election. Win these coveted swing voters - the moderate middle - and you win the election. Recent high profile elections, however, have undermined this long-held aphorism. Romney carried independent voters and lost both the popular vote and the electoral college. In Virginia, a quintessential swing state, Republican Ken Cuccinelli carried independents by double-digits and still lost the 2013 gubernatorial election.

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Jan 16, 2014

  • Obama’s Path From Critic to Overseer of Spying

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    As a young lawmaker defining himself as a presidential candidate, Barack Obama visited a center for scholars in August 2007 to give a speech on terrorism. He described a surveillance state run amok and vowed to rein it in. “That means no more illegal wiretapping of American citizens,” he declared. “No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime.”

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  • Senate Committee Lays Blame For Benghazi With State Department

    With Tom Gjelten, NPR

    The Senate Intelligence Committee has released a new bipartisan report on the 2012 Benghazi attack. The report finds that the attack was preventable. According to the committee, fault lies with the State Department for failing to provide adequate security or heed warnings about a deteriorating security situation. The committee claims that individuals associated with al-Qaida affiliates participated in the attack, but it stops short of saying the attack was pre-planned. The report also does not implicate the "core" al-Qaida leadership.

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  • Benghazi attack was preventable, Senate panel says

    By Kimberly Dozier, Associated Press

    Both highly critical and bipartisan, a Senate report declared Wednesday that the deadly assault on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, could have been prevented. The account spreads blame among the State Department, the military and U.S. intelligence for missing what now seem like obvious warning signs

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