The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world. Click on the headlines for more.
CNN: Congressional leaders call for halt to 'cascade of leaks'
Congressional leaders agreed Thursday on the need for a full investigation of what one called a recent "cascade" of leaked classified information but differed on exactly how the inquiry should be conducted. After meeting with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, the top Democrats and Republicans on the intelligence committees of the House and Senate pledged a bipartisan effort to halt the leaks now and pass legislative changes to prevent future leaks.
CNN: Holder rejects GOP assertions on Fast and Furious at House hearing
Attorney General Eric Holder withstood a four-hour grilling Thursday dominated by Republican House members seeking to lay blame on Holder for a botched gun-smuggling sting operation. But in his seventh congressional hearing on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' Operation Fast and Furious, Holder left largely unscathed after standing by previous claims he knew nothing about the flawed tactics until early last year.
CNN: Sen. Rand Paul endorses Romney
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, tea party favorite and son of presidential candidate Ron Paul, officially endorsed Mitt Romney late Thursday night. "My first choice had always been my father. I campaigned for him when I was 11-years-old. He's still my first pick, but now that the nominating process is over, tonight I'm happy to announce that I'm going to be supporting Gov. Mitt Romney," Rand Paul said on Fox News.
CNN: Walker shoots down VP talk
Following his survival of a Wisconsin recall effort, Republican Gov. Scott Walker on Thursday pushed back against the idea of being tapped as a potential running mate for Mitt Romney. Political observers point out that not only is Walker a rising star in the GOP, but having his name on the ticket could further push the blue state of Wisconsin into the Republican column this November.
CNN: Hard drive, bags removed from Etan Patz suspect's home
CNN has obtained an exclusive photograph of Pedro Hernandez, suspect in the death of 6-year-old Etan Patz, who remains under the care of doctors after being ordered to undergo a psychiatric examination to determine whether he's competent to stand trial.
CNN: From scrubbing floors to Ivy League: Homeless student to go to dream college
It's before sunrise, and the janitor at Burns High School has already been down the length of a hallway, cleaning and sweeping classrooms before the day begins. This particular janitor is painstakingly methodical, even as she administers a mental quiz on an upcoming test. Her name is Dawn Loggins, a straight-A senior at the very school she cleans.
CNN: Same-sex ceremony on Army post draws fire
A same-sex ceremony between an enlisted woman and a civilian woman on a U.S. Army post last month drew protests from lawmakers Thursday. The "private religious ceremony" took place at Fort Polk in Louisiana in May, post spokesman Scott Stearns said, but he would confirm few other details.
CNN: South Carolina mom with flesh-eating bacteria upgraded to fair condition
A South Carolina woman battling a rare flesh-eating bacteria infection has been upgraded to fair condition and is tentatively scheduled for skin-grafting surgery, her family said Thursday. Lana Kuykendall has been in Greenville Memorial Hospital since she was admitted on May 11, four days after giving birth to twins, Ian and Abigail, in Atlanta.
CNN: U.N. official accuses Syria of crimes against humanity
A top U.N. human rights official accused Syria Thursday of engaging in crimes against humanity. "They are both widespread and they are being committed in a systematic manner," said Ivan Simonovic, assistant secretary-general of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
CNN: Factory workers riot at Foxconn China plant
A dispute involving workers sparked a riot at an employee dormitory in China that makes products for companies including Apple, a Taiwanese news site reported Thursday. There are differing accounts of the Monday incident.
CNN: Mexico: 14 dismembered bodies found outside city hall
Authorities found the mutilated remains of 14 people inside a truck parked in front of a city government office in northern Mexico Thursday, according to the Attorney General of the State of Tamaulipas. The bodies were found in the town of El Mante, Tamaulipas.
CNN: Saddam Hussein aide executed in Iraq
Iraq has executed a high-ranking aide to the late ruler Saddam Hussein, a government spokesman said Thursday. The Justice Ministry carried out the execution of Abid Hamid Mahmud al-Tikriti, who was Hussein's personal secretary, national security adviser and senior bodyguard, spokesman Ali a-Dabbagh said.
CNN Money: Bailout optimism drives world stock rebound
World markets surged on international optimism that governments are leaning toward stimulus to boost the economy. This sentiment is largely speculative, given the lack of action this week from the European Central Bank.
CNN Money: Spain downgraded again, at risk of junk status
Spain's sovereign debt rating was slashed three steps Thursday by credit rating agency Fitch, which warned that the nation is at risk of being downgraded into junk bond status. The nation's debt rating was cut from "A" all the way to "BBB," the lowest rating that is considered investment grade. And the new rating was given a negative outlook, meaning it at risk for further downgrades.
CNN Money: Jobless claims fall
The job market remains on ice - for now. Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits fell to 377,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's an improvement from 389,000 claims filed the week before, but still slightly higher than expected. But last week's number was revised higher from an original reading of 383,000 claims.
In case you missed it…
CNN's Wolf Blitzer asks Former President Bill Clinton about being off message. Full interview airs 5pm ET on CNN.