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Friday Flashback: Edward Snowden, Janet Napolitano and more

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
Kevin Dietsch /UPI/Landov

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It's time now for our end of the week analysis of some of the big stories in the news. Joining the show from steamy Washington, DC, is Nancy Cook of the National Journal, and here in foggy Pasadena, Jim Rainey of the LA Times.

We start with the ongoing saga of Edward Snowden. The NSA leaker has been holed up in a Moscow airport transit lounge for three weeks now trying to find a country that will give him political asylum. He's renewed his request to stay in Russia, and also released an email accusing the United States of an "unlawful campaign" to deny him the right to asylum. It's not easy being Edward Snowden. 

Meanwhile, there were a few more Snowden related bombshells, including a pretty detailed report on the spying the NSA does on the citizens of Brazil, and another on how Microsoft cooperated with the spy agency. Countries in our "sphere of influence," like Venezuela and Nicaragua have offered him asylum. What should the U.S. government do?

Another bit of end of the week news. Janet Napolitano is stepping down after five years as Secretary of Homeland Security to take on running the University of California system. Any indication that this is anything more than Napolitano stepping aside to take a nice, academic position?

In some ways fixing the UC system might be worse than trying to fix the TSA. What does our panel think of Napolitano administering this giant university system? Are there any obvious candidates to replace her?

The fight between Senate majority leader Harry Reid and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell over stalled nominations is heating up. Reid says he's going to push to change the Senate rules so that a simple majority can approve some of the President's nominees. 

Meanwhile, over in the House, Republicans managed to get a farm bill passed on a second try, but they did it by stripping out all the money for food stamps. How angry are Democrats and the White House over this?

House Republicans say they won't even consider the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform legislation. Why couldn't — or didn't — John Boehner and the House leadership pressure members to get behind this reform, since the national party leadership sees it as a priority?