The Note's Must-Reads for Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Note's Must-Reads are a round-up of today's political headlines and stories from ABC News and the top U.S. newspapers. Posted Monday through Friday right here at

Compiled by ABC News' Jayce Henderson, Amanda VanAllen, Jordan Mazza and J.P. Lawrence

SEXUAL ASSAULT ABC News' Luis Martinez: " Senate Panel Rejects Sen. Gillibrand's Attempt to Remove Commanders from Sexual Assault Cases" The Senate Armed Services Committee has voted against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's bill that would have taken military commanders out of the process of reviewing sexual assault cases. Instead, the committee voted for an alternative proposal by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., calling for automatic reviews of a commander's decision not to prosecute a sexual assault case. Last week, the Joint Chiefs of Staff came out against the proposal by Gillibrand, D-N.Y., saying it would undermine good order and discipline. LINK

NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY The Hills' Carlo Munoz and Justin Sink: " NSA chief: Spying foiled plots" Classified National Security Agency programs have prevented dozens of terrorist plots, the agency's director told a Senate panel Wednesday. Testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee, NSA chief Keith Alexander cited Najibullah Zazi's plot to bomb New York's subways in 2009 as one of many foiled attacks on the nation. LINK

The New York Daily News' Joseph Straw: "NSA director says surveillance helped stop 'dozens' of attacks" The head of the National Security Agency said Wednesday that his agency's controversial telephone and Internet surveillance programs have helped to thwart "dozens" of terror plots and operations since 9/11. Appearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee, NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander said the Obama Administration plans to declassify and release information about the cases within the week. LINK

The New York Times' David E. Sanger, Charlie Savage, and Michael S. Schmidt: "N.S.A. Chief Says Phone Logs Halted Terror Threats" The director of the National Security Agency told Congress on Wednesday that "dozens" of terrorism threats had been halted by the agency's huge database of the logs of nearly every domestic phone call made by Americans, while a senator briefed on the program disclosed that the telephone records are destroyed after five years. The director, Gen. Keith B. Alexander, who heads both the N.S.A. and United States Cyber Command, which runs the military's offensive and defensive use of cyberweapons, told skeptical members of the Senate Appropriations Committee that his agency was doing exactly what Congress authorized after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Siobhan Huges and Siobhan Gorman: " NSA Director Says Data Programs Foiled Plots." The director of the National Security Agency, defending his agency after days of furor over secret data-surveillance programs, said those government efforts had prevented dozens of terrorist attacks in recent years. Testifying before a Senate committee, Army Gen. Keith Alexander didn't elaborate on the attacks that were stopped, other than to tie them to two well-known foiled 2009 plots. He said he would brief senators privately on Thursday and would push to make available more details about attacks that were foiled. LINK

IMMIGRATION REFORM The Los Angeles Times' Lisa Mascaro: "Amendments to immigration overhaul bill stall in Senate" Enthusiasm in the Senate for the debate over immigration gave way to reality Wednesday as party leaders quarreled to a stalemate over how to consider dozens of proposed amendments. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's move to schedule votes on the first five amendments was rejected by Republicans who opposed the Nevada Democrat's plan to require 60 votes for passage. LINK

The Boston Globe's David Espo: " Border security at issue in immigration bill" Bickering across a deep divide, supporters of immigration legislation pushed back hard on Wednesday against Republican demands for tougher border security measures before millions living illegally in the country could take the first steps toward US citizenship. Even modest changes were snared in the political crossfire that erupted on the first full day of debate on the measure, as the two sides failed to agree on terms for voting on seemingly noncontroversial proposals such as granting tribal officials a place on a Border Oversight Task Force. LINK

The Washington Post's David Nakamura: "For conservative Republicans, immigration becoming a political balancing act" Sen. Rand Paul opened his remarks to a group of conservative Latinos on Wednesday by joking about his stilted "Spanglish." So he switched from Spanish to English to be clear that he had empathy for the plight of the nation's 11 million illegal immigrants. LINK

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY Bloomberg's Hans Nichols: " CIA's Morell Departs, White House Lawyer Chosen for Job" Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell is retiring and President Barack Obama has selected a White House lawyer, Avril D. Haines, to replace him at the spy agency. Morell, 54, who began at the Central Intelligence Agency in 1980 as an analyst, helped draft the administration's talking points on the attack on diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya. He will become a member of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board, the White House said in a statement. LINK

EDWARD J. MARKEY Boston Globe's Joshua Miller: " President Obama campaigns for Markey in Boston" President Obama exhorted a crowd of thousands to support US Senate hopeful Edward J. Markey, who Obama said, would "carry on the legacy of John Kerry and Ted Kennedy" and "be my partner." At the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Roxbury, Obama told a fired-up crowd that he needed Markey to help accomplish his agenda. LINK

HILLARY CLINTON / STATE DEPARTMENT The Washington Times' Guy Taylor: " Damage control: Hillary Clinton loyalists suspected of criminal cover-ups for diplomats" Congress and the State Department's inspector general are examining allegations that senior officials working under Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton may have suppressed investigations into suspected criminal activity among U.S. diplomats abroad - including the alleged solicitation of prostitutes by an ambassador in Europe. Lawmakers from both parties said the charges are "very serious" - and point out the need for a permanent inspector general at the State Department. A deputy inspector general has been active in recent years, but the department's top watchdog post, tasked with investigating practices at roughly 260 embassies worldwide, has been vacant for more than five years. LINK

SYRIA Politico's Maggie Haberman: "Bill Clinton splits with Obama on Syria" Bill Clinton told Sen. John McCain he agrees that President Barack Obama should act more forcefully to support anti-Assad rebels in Syria, saying the American public elects presidents and members of Congress "to see down the road" and "to win." At another point during a closed-press event Tuesday, Clinton implied that Obama or any president risks looking like "a total fool" if they listen too closely to opinion polls and act too cautiously. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO " Sen. Tim Kaine Speaks Spanish on Senate Floor" LINK

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