The Note’s Must-Reads for Friday January 10, 2014

By Jayce Henderson

Jan 10, 2014 5:27am

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’ Jayce Henderson, Jordan Mazza and Janine Elliot

PRESIDENT OBAMA
The Wall Street Journal’s Siobhan Gorman and Carol Lee: “Obama Readies Revamp of NSA” President Barack Obama is leaning toward extending broad privacy protections to non-U.S. citizens and is seriously considering restructuring the National Security Agency program that collects phone-call data of nearly all Americans, officials familiar with the process said on Thursday. Mr. Obama plans to unveil these and other changes to surveillance programs as soon as next week, the officials said. LINK

The New York Times’ Peter Baker and Charlie Savage: “Obama Seeks Balance in Plan for Spy Programs As he assembles a plan to overhaul the nation’s surveillance programs, President Obama is trying to navigate what advisers call a middle course that will satisfy protesting national security agencies while tamping down criticism by civil liberties advocates.  Mr. Obama has not tipped his hand much during the meetings he has held with intelligence officials and lawmakers before he unveils his plan as early as next Friday. LINK

GOV.  CHRIS CHRISTIE
ABC News’ Abby Phillip and Shushannah Walshe: “Chris Christie Fires Top Aide, Apologizes for Bridge Scandal” One day after bombshell revelations implicated his top aides in a political revenge plot, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie fired a top aide and apologized for his staffers’ part in the closing of several lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge in 2013. Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie’s deputy chief of staff, will be relieved from duty immediately, Christie said. And he has instructed a second staffer, a top political aide and his former campaign manager, to sever his relationship with the Republican Governors Association, of which Christie is chairman. “I am responsible for what happened,” Christie said. “I had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or its execution and I am stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here, regardless of what the facts ultimately uncover.” LINK

The Hill’s Jessica Taylor and Alexandra Jaffe: “Christie tries to stop the bleeding” Republicans are breathing a sigh of relief after Gov. Chris Christie’s (R-N.J.) nearly two-hour stem-winder Wednesday where he apologized and forcefully addressed the bridge scandal that has roiled his administration.GOP strategists and donors praised the way Christie took back control of the story, saying the press conference was exactly the right first step in dealing with a scandal that threatens to torpedo his 2016 hopes. But while Christie might have stopped the bleeding, observers say the extent to which he contains the political damage depends on what other revelations emerge. LINK

The New York Daily News: “Gov. Chris Christie’s load of bull: Fired aide Bridget Kelly merely a patsy in attempt to shelter Port Authority cronies, himself” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s one-hour-and-forty-seven-minute self-serving, self-pitying display of contrition on Thursday was a climactic act in a brazen cover-up that threatens to further unravel his political career. Ever so thoroughly the governor scoured the thesaurus for words of apology, regret and painless self-flagellation while nervily playing the victim and mercilessly destroying the aide who played only a supporting role for the George Washington Bridge political revenge plot. LINK

USA Today’s Yamiche Alcindor: “Fort Lee traffic jam caused human debacle” The political maneuvering that led to the traffic snarls have left scars on the Fort Lee community For four days, the traffic jam now threatening the political future of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, wreaked havoc on the lives of Fort Lee residents, whose suffering has become the face of a still unfolding story. As questions swirl around whether Christie will run for president in 2016, people continue to cringe about the September lane closures on the George Washington Bridge. E-mails indicate several Christie supporters including Bridget Anne Kelly, his now fired deputy chief of staff, and David Wildstein, a Christie appointee at the Port Authority of New York, schemed to close the lanes to punish Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich. LINK

The Washington Post’s Robert Costa and Philip Rucker: “Christie apologizes for scandal, fires deputy chief of staff, ousts top political aide“  A contrite New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie apologized Thursday for a scandal that threatens his political future, announcing that he had fired a senior aide and banished his top campaign adviser for their roles in days of traffic jams orchestrated to punish a small-city Democratic mayor.  Christie at once accepted responsibility as the state’s chief executive but also insisted he had no involvement in shutting down a pair of access lanes to the heavily trafficked George Washington Bridge over four days in early September. LINK

FOREIGN AFFAIRS
The Los Angeles Times’ Carol Williams: “Defying U.S. concern, Afghan government to free 72 terrorism suspects” Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his top justice officials on Thursday ordered the release of 72 imprisoned terrorism suspects for lack of evidence to prosecute them, defying U.S. objections to freeing men still considered a security risk. The prisoners at the Parwan detention facility at Bagram air base, north of Kabul, were captured by U.S. and NATO forces over the course of the 12-year-old U.S.-led war in Afghanistan against the Taliban and Al Qaeda-backed militants. LINK

FBI
ABC News’ Pierre Thomas & jack Cloherty: “FBI Director James Comey: ‘I Worry’ About Threat From Homegrown ‘Pajama’ Jihadists” The continuing conflict in Syria is raising very real concerns about new terror threats emerging in the United States, FBI Director James Comey said today.”My concern is that people can go to Syria, develop new relationships, learn new techniques and become far more dangerous, and then flow back” to the U.S., Comey said in an interview with reporters. Dozens of radicalized Americans have gone to Syria to fight, Comey revealed, and he said he and other counter-terrorism officials fear that Syria has become a training ground for a new generation of terrorists. LINK

The Washington Times’ Stephen Dinan: “Late to the party: FBI finally contacts some targets of IRS” The FBI finally has begun to contact some of the tea party groups targeted by the Internal Revenue Service for inappropriate scrutiny and delays, in the first public signs that the administration’s criminal investigation is progressing. A lawyer representing some of the tea party groups that battled the IRS for tax-exempt status told The Washington Times that a “small number” of his clients were contacted seven months after the investigation was supposed to have begun. LINK

IMMIGRATION
Politico’s Seung Min Kim: “Bob Goodlatte Pushes Immigration Solution” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) says he sees “no reason” why current undocumented immigrants shouldn’t gain legal status as long as Congress enacts tougher border-security and enforcement measures.  In a Telemundo interview set to air Sunday, Goodlatte addressed the set of immigration principles that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said earlier Thursday is expected to be released in the “coming weeks.” LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO:
Chris Christie: ‘I Am Not a Bully’LINK

BOOKMARKS
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