Change in Leadership:

Iran has elected moderate Hassan Rouhani as its next president. Rouhani is a former national security council chief who ran on a campaign platform promising “hope and prudence.” The 65-year-old has pledged to improve Iran’s economy and to address the crippling sanctions imposed on the country because of its nuclear program. “This victory is the victory of wisdom, moderation, growth and awareness, the victory of commitment and religiosity over extremism and ill tempers,” he said. Rouhani will succeed two-term President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was termed out and thus ineligible to run in the country’s 11th presidential elections. CNN: “Rouhani has all-round credentials in Iran’s institutions that include senior cleric, former commander of Iranian air defenses and is an intellectual with three law degrees, including from a university in Scotland. He has a reputation for shunning extreme positions and bridging differences.” (Read more)

Gore Abhor: In a telephone interview with The Guardian, former Vice President Al Gore issued some blistering criticism of the NSA’s secret surveillance programs, saying that in his view, they violate the First and Fourth amendments of the Constitution. He also urged President Obama and Congress to amend the laws governing the NSA. “It is not acceptable to have a secret interpretation of a law that goes far beyond any reasonable reading of either the law or the constitution and then classify as top secret what the actual law is,” he said. Gore added that security concerns shouldn’t outweigh the rights of all Americans. “I quite understand the viewpoint that many have expressed that they are fine with it and they just want to be safe but that is not really the American way. Benjamin Franklin famously wrote that those who would give up essential liberty to try to gain some temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety,” he said. (Read more)

Skipping Town: Many U.S. senators elected to leave Washington early for the Father’s Day weekend rather than attend a classified surveillance briefing held by senior intelligence officials Thursday afternoon. According to The Hill, less than half of the Senate—just 47 of 100 members—came to the briefing, which featured Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and National Security Agency head Keith Alexander. Those who did attend were told about classified surveillance programs that monitor the phone calls and Internet activity of millions. The exodus from Capitol Hill ahead of the briefing frustrated Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. “It’s hard to get this story out. Even now we have this big briefing — we’ve got Alexander, we’ve got the FBI, we’ve got the Justice Department, we have the FISA Court there, we have Clapper there — and people are leaving,” she said. (Read more)

Untrustworthy: The vast majority of Americans have zero confidence in Congress, a (not at all surprising) new poll finds. According to Gallup, just 10 percent of Americans have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in our nation’s legislative bodies. That’s the lowest score for any institution—Gallup measures 16 societal ones in total, including the military, small businesses and the medical system—since the company began asking the confidence question 40 years ago. The poll also showed that the majority of Americans—52 percent—have “very little” or “no faith” at all in Congress. Confidence in the White House and the Supreme Court also dipped this past year, but both scored percentages that are more than triple those concerning Congress. (Read more)

Video of the Day: Based on his latest round of “new rules,” it’s safe to say that comedian Bill Maher is among the majority faction of Americans who have no confidence in Congress. The “Real Time” host closed out his latest show Friday night with a rant against Congress—specifically its high retention rates. Maher noted that despite Gallup’s latest poll (see above), 90 percent of senators and representatives won re-election. “And that’s because we’ve created a system where it’s almost impossible to beat an incumbent,” he said. Maher then went on to compare the current Congress to the film “Weekend at Bernie’s,” in which, as he explained, old members “are coaxed into key votes by someone whispering in their ear ‘Who wants pudding?’ ”

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