The Note's Must-Reads for Thursday, August 22, 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 and Will Cantine

SYRIA: The Washington Times' Stephen Dinan: " Syria again challenges Obama's 'red line' on chemical weapons" President Obama's "red line" for Syria is once again being tested after rebel forces said Wednesday that the regime of President Bashar Assad used poison gas to attack civilians near Damascus, killing potentially hundreds in what could turn out to be the deadliest deployment of chemical weapons yet. Adding to the pressure on the White House were videos supplied by rebels showing victims convulsing and choking, and powerful photos of children wrapped in clean white shrouds, lined shoulder to shoulder with their dead faces visible. LINK

NSA: ABC News' Mike Levine and Jonathan Karl: " White House Picks Panel to Review NSA Programs" A group of veteran security experts and former White House officials has been selected to conduct a full review of U.S. surveillance programs and other secret government efforts disclosed over recent months, ABC News has learned. The recent acting head of the CIA, Michael Morrell, will be among what President Obama called a "high-level group of outside experts" scrutinizing the controversial programs. LINK

The Hill's Brendan Sasso and Carlo Munoz: " Court: NSA collected domested emails, violating the Constitution" The Obama administration on Wednesday revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) improperly collected emails from people in the United States with no connection to terrorism beginning in 2008. The NSA collected as many as 56,000 emails from Americans before the mistake was identified. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court concluded that the surveillance was unconstitutional after it was notified of it in 2011. In an 86-page opinion that was declassified on Wednesday, the court ordered the NSA to take steps to limit the information it collects and how long it keeps it. LINK

The Washington Post's Ellen Nakashima: " NSA Gathered Thousands Of Americans' E-Mails Before Court Ordered It To Revise Its Tactics" For several years, the National Security Agency unlawfully gathered tens of thousands of e-mails and other electronic communications between Americans as part of a now-revised collection method, according to a 2011 secret court opinion. The redacted 85-page opinion, which was declassified by U.S. intelligence officials on Wednesday, states that, based on NSA estimates, the spy agency may have been collecting as many as 56,000 "wholly domestic" communications each year. LINK

Politico's Tom Ryan and Alex Byers: " Lawmakers, Privacy Groups Rattled by Latest NSA Reveal" Congressional critics of government surveillance blasted the NSA and promised additional hearings after the Obama administration on Wednesday declassified documents that show thousands of Americans' emails had been scooped up. The unlawful collection, which the documents reflect ended in 2011, confirmed the worst fears of some lawmakers and civil liberties advocates - that the NSA's ability to monitor foreigners' Internet conversations had collided with the Constitution, threatened U.S. citizens and will require significant reforms. LINK

IMMIGRATION REFORM: The Wall Street Journal's Sara Murray: " On the Killing Floor, Clues to the Impact Of Immigration on Jobs" Here on the outskirts of town sits a sprawling meatpacking plant where more than 3,000 workers slaughter and process thousands of cows a week-and where English is hardly the only language spoken inside. Indeed, the union handbook is printed in English, Spanish, Burmese and Somali. The plant was one of a half dozen facilities owned by Swift & Co. that federal agents raided seven years ago in search of workers living in the country illegally. LINK

OTHER: New York Daily News: " Christine Quinn: The News says she's the best Democratic primary candidate to lead New York City as mayor" After 12 years in which Michael Bloomberg remade City Hall into a results-driven powerhouse, New Yorkers choosing the next mayor are longing for a candidate with the vision and boldness to lead America's most dynamic city. We are, too. The Bloomberg era will end with crime lower than it has ever been, employment at a record level, neighborhoods reborn, the schools rescued from a culture of failure and an economy enlivened by cutting-edge high-tech enterprises. The streets are clean, the parks are in good shape and New Yorkers are living to riper, older ages. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Christopher Goffard and Paloma Esquivel: " Final Nixon tapes reveal bid to ease tensions with Soviets" They were great antagonists of the Cold War, the avowedly Red-hating American president and the world's most powerful communist. Yet when Richard Nixon hosted Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev for a summit in June 1973, their private exchanges had the casual, meandering comity of old friends. Meeting his Soviet counterpart privately in the Oval Office, with only a translator accompanying them, Nixon said the world's safety hinged on their mutual trust. LINK

The Boston Globe's Jeff Jacoby: " How to fix presidential debates" At their meeting in Boston last week, Republican National Committee members voted unanimously not to sponsor or sanction any presidential primary debate with NBC or CNN during the 2016 election cycle. Both networks have projects about Hillary Clinton in the works that Republicans predict will be "little more than extended commercials" promoting a potential run for the White House by the former secretary of state. The RNC, saying it's fed up with the media's liberal favoritism, will refuse to partner with either NBC or CNN as the next primary season gets under way. LINK

The New York Times' Michael D. Shear: " Shaping A Speech, 50 years After 'I Have A Dream'" Next week, President Obama will mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington with a speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, willingly putting himself in the very place where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered one of America's greatest oratories five decades ago. The split-screen comparisons are as inevitable as they are unwanted. A gifted orator himself, Mr. Obama nonetheless faces an unenviable task: to offer Americans a stirring, resonant moment that goes beyond his sometimes professorial remarks, without falling into a politically dangerous mimicry of Dr. King's cadences and rhythms. LINK

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