The Note’s Must-Reads for Monday, August 5, 2013

By Will Cantine

Aug 5, 2013 3:31am

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 www.abcnews.com

Compiled by ABC News’ Carrie Halperin, Jayce Henderson, Will Cantine, and J.P. Lawrence

NSA
ABC News’ Benjamin Bell: “Gen. Martin Dempsey: “It ‘Wouldn’t Surprise Me’ If Russians, Chinese Have Obtained Snowden’s NSA Secrets” Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that he wouldn’t be surprised if the Russian and Chinese governments had already acquired classified American information allegedly taken by Edward Snowden while he was working as a government contractor for the National Security Agency. “No, it wouldn’t surprise me, ” Dempsey told ABC’s Martha Raddatz during an interview for “This Week,” saying earlier that that amount of information in Snowden’s possession was “obviously significant.” LINK

IRAN
The Wall Street Journal’s Jay Solomon: “Iran Seen Trying New Path To A Bomb” Iran could begin producing weapons-grade plutonium by next summer, U.S. and European officials believe, using a different nuclear technology that would be easier for foreign countries to attack. The second path to potentially producing a nuclear weapon could complicate international efforts to negotiate with Iran’s new president, Hasan Rouhani, who was sworn in Sunday in Tehran. It also heightens the possibility of an Israeli strike, said U.S. and European officials. LINK

FBI
USA Today’s Brad Heath: “Exclusive: FBI Allowed Informants To Commit 5,600 Crimes” The FBI gave its informants permission to break the law at least 5,658 times in a single year, according to newly disclosed documents that show just how often the nation’s top law enforcement agency enlists criminals to help it battle crime. The U.S. Justice Department ordered the FBI to begin tracking crimes by its informants more than a decade ago, after the agency admitted that its agents had allowed Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger to operate a brutal crime ring in exchange for information about the Mafia. LINK

EMBASSY THREATS
The Washington Times’ David Sherfinski: “Nearly 20 U.S. Embassies, Consulates To Remain Closed” Nineteen U.S. posts will remain closed this week due to a heightened security threat, the State Department announced Sunday. “Given that a number of our embassies and consulates were going to be closed in accordance with local custom and practice for the bulk of the week for the Eid celebration at the end of Ramadan, and out of an abundance of caution, we’ve decided to extend the closure of several embassies and consulates including a small number of additional posts,” spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement. LINK

The Hill’s Jonathan Easley: “Terror Threat Opens New Front In NSA Debate” A weekend terror threat that had top administration officials huddling at the White House, and provoked the State Department to close more than 20 diplomatic posts and issue a worldwide travel alert, has opened up a new front in the debate over the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance programs. A handful of lawmakers – most of them long-time national security hawks — took to the Sunday news shows to declare the NSA programs a success, and credit the controversial surveillance methods, first uncovered when former contractor Edward Snowden divulged details to The Guardian, as directly responsible for uncovering a potential terrorist attack. LINK

The Los Angeles Times’ David Willman: “Security Closure Of U.S. Embassies Wins Republican Praise” The Obama administration’s unprecedented decision to close more than 20 U.S. embassies and consulates in response to intelligence information suggesting an Al Qaeda plot to attack Western interests received praise Sunday from senior Republicans in Congress, who described the threat as extremely serious. “This is the most serious threat that I’ve seen in the last several years,” Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told ABC’s “This Week.” LINK

The Washington Post’s Lori Montgomery: “Embassy, Consulate Closures Applauded On Both Sides Of The Aisle” Rattled lawmakers in both parties applauded President Obama’s decision to shutter two dozen U.S. diplomatic posts across the Middle East and North Africa this weekend, calling the threat of a fresh terrorist attack credible, specific and the most alarming in years.LINK

HEALTH CARE
The New York Times’ Kate Taylor: “Health Care Law Raises Pressure On Public Employees’ Unions” Cities and towns across the country are pushing municipal unions to accept cheaper health benefits in anticipation of a component of the Affordable Care Act that will tax expensive plans starting in 2018.  The so-called Cadillac tax was inserted into the Affordable Care Act at the advice of economists who argued that expensive health insurance with the employee bearing little cost made people insensitive to the cost of care. LINK

OTHER / MASS. FUND-RAISING
The Boston Globe’s Tracy Jan: “No Pause In Political Fund-raising In Mass.” Democratic fund-raisers are aggressively plying Massachusetts, from Boston steak houses to exclusive events on Cape Cod and the Islands, in what campaign-weary contributors say is the busiest non-election-year summer in memory. August in an off year in the federal election cycle traditionally has been a quieter time in politics. But a plethora of new political groups combined with an unusual number of Massachusetts races and the steady grind of a never-ending partisan war in Washington are betraying the calendar. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO
Glenn Greenwald On ‘This Week’: Terror Threat“ LINK

BOOKMARKS
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