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!

Jun 13, 2013

  • After gun bill’s defeat, it’s Democrats, not Republicans, paying the political price

    By Ed O'Keefe and Paul Kane, The Washington Post

    When Congress in April defeated an effort to strengthen the national background-check system for gun sales, it was mostly on the strength of Republican opposition. Less than two months later, proponents of stricter gun laws have decided that a small number of Democrats will make more productive targets.

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  • With Focus on Middle Class, Plan Aims to Recharge Economy

    By Jim Tankersley, The Washington Post

    The liberal Center for American Progress will release an extensive plan on Thursday aimed at ­recharging the U.S. economy through a barrage of education, trade and other policies meant to boost beleagured middle-class workers.

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  • Pay to Play (Before Everyone Else)

    With Eamon Javers, CNBC

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Jun 12, 2013

  • Booz Allen's Snowden Fired

    With Eamon Javers, CNBC

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  • The Obama Surveillance Revelations Are Pushing Liberals Over the Edge

    By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

    The email went out shortly after midnight Thursday, a few hours after the news broke about the Obama administration's large-scale monitoring of Americans' cell-phone records: "You are being spied on." 

    It was sent by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a leading liberal organization, to its list of supporters, and it asked them to sign a petition demanding an investigation of the cell-phone surveillance. "It's simply unacceptable," the email said.

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  • 'Gang of Eight' Immigration Bill Clears Senate hurdle

    By Alan Gomez and Susan Davis, USA Today

    The Senate overcame a critical hurdle on Tuesday toward advancing the first immigration overhaul in a generation that would affect the nation's 11 million unauthorized immigrants, all U.S. employers and future legal immigrants.

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  • Which Senators Voted to Debate the Immigration Bill? (And Who Didn’t)

    By Ed O'keefe, The Washington Post

    The Senate voted 82 to15 on Tuesday to bring up a comprehensive immigration reform bill for a debate that is expected to last weeks.

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  • A Presidential Tease

    By john Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    Hillary Clinton is now on Twitter. Yesterday she unlocked her account and unveiled a cheeky and impish personality. In her 160-character biography written under a thumbnail of her riding on a military transport plane as secretary of state, she referred to her various jobs—from first lady of Arkansas (FLOAR) to senator and secretary of state—and then called herself a "hair icon," "pantsuit aficionado," and “glass ceiling cracker.” It could have ended there on a note of winning self-deprecation, but it didn't. Referring to her future, it simply said "TBD …"


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Jun 11, 2013

  • Cryptic Overtures and a Clandestine Meeting Gave Birth to a Blockbuster Story

    By Charlie Savage and Mark Mazzetti, The New York Times

    The source had instructed his media contacts to come to Hong Kong, visit a particular out-of-the-way corner of a certain hotel, and ask — loudly — for directions to another part of the hotel. If all seemed well, the source would walk past holding a Rubik’s Cube.

    So three people — Glenn Greenwald, a civil-liberties writer who recently moved his blog to The Guardian; Laura Poitras, a documentary filmmaker who specializes in surveillance; and Ewen MacAskill, a Guardian reporter — flew from New York to Hong Kong about 12 days ago. They followed the directions. A man with a Rubik’s Cube appeared.

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  • Whistleblower Snowden Last Seen in Hong Kong

    With Eamon Javers, CNBC

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  • NSA Leaks Put Focus on Intelligence Apparatus’s Reliance on Outside Contractors

    By Robert O’Harrow Jr., Dana Priest and Marjorie Censer, Washington Post

    The unprecedented leak of top-secret documents by National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden raises far-reaching questions about the government’s rush to outsource intelligence work to contractors since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

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  • Privacy, Security and Obama's Uphill Quest for Trust

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    When the IRS scrutinized conservative political groups that applied for tax exemptions, President Obama said he had been completely in the dark about what he labeled IRS “wrongdoing.”

    When the Justice Department swept through journalists’ phone and email records in search of government leakers without informing media companies, Obama defended prosecutors’ efforts to safeguard classified national secrets.

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  • Farm Bill passes in the Senate

    By Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post

    The Senate passed a five-year farm bill on Monday night that sets federal food and farming policy for the next decade, but makes smaller cuts than a House version of the legislation that is set for consideration next week.

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  • Full John Watson Interview

    With David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    Chevron CEO John Watson talks with WSJ's David Wessel about what energy companies are doing to become safer and more productive, what's being done to combat climate change and what reform of the corporate tax code would mean for investment.

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Jun 10, 2013

  • Ex-Worker at C.I.A. Says He Leaked Data on Surveillance

    By Mark Mazzetti and Michael S. Schmidt, The New York Times

    A 29-year-old former C.I.A. computer technician went public on Sunday as the source behind the daily drumbeat of disclosures about the nation’s surveillance programs, saying he took the extraordinary step because “the public needs to decide whether these programs and policies are right or wrong.”

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  • NSA Leaker Seeks Refuge in Hong Kong

    With Eamon Javers

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  • Why Americans Don’t Fear the NSA

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    Cybersnooping was always scheduled to be an important topic during President Obama’s meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping. We just didn't know until recently that it might be a chance for the two men to exchange best practices. The Chinese government is accused of stealing U.S. military secrets and hacking into the computer networks of American companies. Recent reports suggest the U.S. government may be hacking into the servers of American companies as well.

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  • Obama and Xi Try to Avoid a Cold War Mentality

    By David E. Sanger, The New York Times

    President Obama and Xi Jinping, the Chinese leader, emerged over the weekend in California from their first lengthy talks declaring their determination to keep disputes over cyberespionage and territorial claims in the Pacific from descending into a cold war mentality and to avoid the pitfalls of a rising power confronting an established one.

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  • Obama's foreign policy reset

    By Doyle McManus. Los Angeles Times

    The appointment of Susan Rice as national security advisor sends an important signal about the kind of foreign policy President Obama wants to pursue for the remainder of his second term: activist, assertive, occasionally even pugnacious. With three years to shape a legacy in world affairs, Obama wants to play offense, not defense.

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  • Mounting Signs of GOP Rebellion Against Immigration Reform

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Resistance to a sweeping immigration overhaul is moving from conservative talk shows to the corridors of power.

    The Republican-controlled House of Representatives on Thursday rejected President Obama's policy to stop deporting young people brought to this country illegally as children. With all but six Republicans voting against funding a policy that lets hundreds of thousands of law-abiding but undocumented youth enrolled in high school or the military to stay in this country, the vote spotlighted the long odds facing the much broader Senate bill to allow 11 million illegal immigrants earn citizenship.

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