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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

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national lead

June 3rd, 2013
06:57 PM ET

Friends remember storm chaser's dedication, passion

Storm chasers film life-or-death moments in the middle of a tornado, risking their lives to collect data and footage.

Three storm chasers followed tornadoes not so much for the thrill, but in the hope that their research might help people avoid the fate to which they succumbed last week. Veteran storm chaser Tim Samaras, 54; his chase partner of a decade, Carl Young, 45; and Samaras' son, Paul Samaras, 24, a photographer, died Friday in an EF-3 tornado in El Reno, Oklahoma. Crews hauled away their white truck Sunday. It had been crushed like a tin can, its metal frame violently twisted and its windows smashed.

Fellow storm chaser Lanny Dean was a close friend of Tim Samaras.

"I'm going to remember his dedication and his passion," said Dean, choking back tears. "But ultimately I will remember his caring attitude... He truly did care more about other people than himself, and that certainly showed anytime you spoke with him."

politics lead

June 3rd, 2013
06:36 PM ET

Fmr. Romney adviser: Obama allies trying to distract from IRS scandal

Politicians are usually hesitant to accuse adversaries of lying, but on CNN's State of the Union Sunday, one of the president's chief adversaries, House Oversight Committee Chairman Congressman Darrell Issa dropped the gloves.

"Their paid liar, their spokesperson, pictured behind, he's still making up things about how things happened and calling this 'local rogue,'" said Issa, referring to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

Issa seemed to be suggesting Carney was lying about those IRS officials who targeted conservative groups being "rogues," though he did not offer any proof.

One of Carney's former colleagues rose to his defense in equally personal terms.

"Strong words from Mr Grand Theft Auto and suspected arsonist/insurance swindler," tweeted David Plouffe, the unofficial adviser to President Barack Obama.

Plouffe was referring to an incident in 1972, when Issa was 19; charges against him for allegedly stealing a car were later dropped. The "arsonist/insurance swindler" refers to an incident in 1982, when Issa's factory burned down under suspicious circumstances, no one was ever charged with anything, and Issa did collect insurance money.

Plouffe told CNN "the credibility and motivation of accusers are valid here."

"He is trying to offer a distraction," said Kevin Madden, CNN contributor and former adviser to Mitt Romney's campaign. "Whenever they have a problem with the facts, what they do is demonize and go after the character of their opponents."

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world lead

June 3rd, 2013
06:16 PM ET

Why do Turkish protests matter when we're half a world away?

At one point, it was a zoning controversy - locals who didn’t want to see their city park razed to build a shopping mall.

Now it’s grown into the latest flare-up in the Middle East and devolved into violent clashes across the country between protesters – throwing rocks at the police – and the police, who turned tear gas and water cannons on the protesters.

But, says Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations, “if it wasn’t caused by this plan to bulldoze this park and build a shopping mall, it would have been caused by something else.”

“What you have is essentially a large group of Turks who feel alienated by this government that’s been in power for 10 years,” he said Monday on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper.”


pop lead

June 3rd, 2013
05:47 PM ET

Is your favorite TV character about to be killed off?

It is June, which means many television series are ending their seasons with cliffhangers, and in some cases, with blood baths.

There appears to be a real proclivity these days to kill off characters, and not just the bad guys or the unpopular characters, like when "L.A. Law's" Rosalind Shays stepped into that elevator shaft many years ago. Shows are now offing real, beloved, heart-of-the-series characters.

Spoiler alert: There was a bloodbath on Sunday night on HBO's "Game of Thrones." Since many fans watch the show on their own schedule, CNN will not disclose who didn't make it. But it is already being described as one of the goriest scenes ever in television history.

It is not the first time the show killed off a major character.

"It is tough. Both in the storytelling sense, because you miss characters that you really loved writing for, but it's also tough because some of our favorite people to hang out with, you know ... they're no longer on the show," creator David Benioff told CNN earlier this year. "It's many of our most beloved friends from the series we've had to kill. And it's, you know, it's - makes you sad, but they got to go."

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buried lead

June 3rd, 2013
05:37 PM ET

New documentary examines WikiLeaks

The court-martial trail began Monday for Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, the American soldier who has already admitted to helping make public more than 700,000 war-related and classified U.S. documents through the secret-sharing website WikiLeaks. Manning could end up spending the rest of his life behind bars for his actions.

Manning is accused of "aiding the enemy." Prosecutors Monday said the government will provide evidence indicating that materials al Qaeda operators delivered to bin Laden can be traced to Manning's illicit downloading and transmission to WikiLeaks.

But Manning still has a lot of supporters, who see him as a victim of an overly secretive government. They argue that were it not for Manning, the public would not know, for example, that the U.S. killed Reuters reporters and civilians in Iraq in a helicopter strike in 2007.

Manning has also found what some might consider an ally in a new documentary, "We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks."

"It may have been somewhat naive of Pvt. Manning to have leaked documents without knowing precisely how they may be handled by WikiLeaks," said filmmaker Alex Gibney. "Some of those documents were not properly redacted."

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