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Ben Wolfgang

Ben Wolfgang

Ben Wolfgang covers the White House for The Washington Times.

Before joining the Times in March 2011, Ben spent four years as a political reporter at the Republican-Herald in Pottsville, Pa.

He can be reached at

Articles by Ben Wolfgang

** FILE ** In this Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, file photo, President Barack Obama speaks to the media as he and first lady Michelle Obama meet with a group of mothers in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Obama sends 45 service members to South Sudan

Amid growing chaos in South Sudan, President Obama has deployed military forces to that country to protect the U.S. embassy and other American assets, he told congressional leaders in a letter Thursday night. Published December 19, 2013

White House press secretary Jay Carney speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013 in Washington. Carney answered questions about a Congressional budget deal. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

White House says it's open to 45 of panel's proposed 46 NSA changes

A long-awaited review of U.S. mass surveillance and data-collection programs produced a laundry list of recommendations for how the Obama administration should clean up its intelligence-gathering efforts to better protect sensitive information and the privacy of American citizens. Published December 19, 2013

Russian President Vladimir Putin reacts during a news conference after meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych in Moscow on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013.  Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow has agreed to sharply cut the price for its natural gas supplies to Ukraine and will buy $15 billion worth of Ukrainian government bonds, but says there was no discussion about Ukraine joining a free trade pact of three ex-Soviet nations. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

White House hints Olympic envoys a shot at Putin over gay rights

With a wink and a nod, the White House on Wednesday admitted it's sending a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin by choosing openly gay athletes to represent the U.S. at February's Olympic Winter Games opening ceremony in Sochi. Published December 18, 2013

White House press secretary Jay Carney listens to a question during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013. Carney answered questions about a federal judge that made headlines this week by declaring that the National Security Agency's bulk collection of millions of Americans' telephone records is likely unconstitutional. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

Under pressure, White House to unveil key surveillance report

In a change of course, the White House on Wednesday afternoon will publicly release an internal report on government surveillance efforts, a highly anticipated document that also will include recommendations for how the federal government can best balance its intelligence-gathering efforts with Americans' right to privacy. Published December 18, 2013

**FILE** Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (center), Vermont Democrat, speaks with committee members and Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer (right) of New York and Dianne Feinstein of California on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 22, 2013, during the committee's hearing on immigration reform. (Associated Press)

Top Democrats reject court ruling over NSA spying on Americans

Top Democrats pushed back Tuesday against a federal judge's ruling that the NSA's phone-records collection program violates privacy rights, asking for higher courts to quickly get involved and bring legal certainty to the murky world of intelligence gathering. Published December 17, 2013

**FILE** Tennis great Billie Jean King (Associated Press)

White House announces delegation for winter Olympics

With less than two months before the games begin, the Obama administration on Tuesday revealed the roster of the American delegation to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Published December 17, 2013

President Barack Obama meets with technology executives in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington,Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013. From left are, Mark Pincus, founder, Chief Product Officer & Chairman, Zynga,  Marissa Mayer, President and CEO, Yahoo!, and Obama. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

Apple, Google, Facebook tell Obama: Rein in government snooping

The nation's leading technology companies took their concerns over government surveillance directly to the source Tuesday, pressing President Obama to rein in what is widely viewed as excessive and intrusive data-collection and snooping. Published December 17, 2013

ILLUSTRATION This image released by Netflix shows Kevin Spacey as U.S. Congressman Frank Underwood in a scene from the Netflix original series, "House of Cards." Spacey was nominated for an Emmy Award for best actor in a drama series on, Thursday July 18, 2013. (AP Photo/Netflix, Melinda Sue Gordon) ** FILE **

Obama envious of 'House of Cards'

President Obama, while talking to a Netflix executive, says he wishes Washington were as "ruthlessly efficient" as portrayed on network's show "House of Cards." Published December 17, 2013

**FILE** President Obama pauses as he speaks about the new health care law during a White House Youth Summit on Dec. 4, 2013, in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. Americans who already have health insurance are blaming President Barack Obama's health care overhaul for their rising premiums and deductibles, and overall 3 in 4 say the rollout of coverage for the uninsured has gone poorly. (Associated Press)

Obama administration refuses to negotiate on debt ceiling increase

Despite the recent bipartisan breakthrough on the budget, the White House insisted Monday it will not negotiate with congressional Republicans on the next debt ceiling increase and will demand an unconditional increase before the government hits its borrowing limit early next year. Published December 16, 2013

** FILE ** This photo taken Dec. 11, 2013, shows House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., right, accompanied by House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaking during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

White House: Once again, no negotiations on debt ceiling

With the threat of a government shutdown off the table for the next two years, attention now has turned to another looming fight over the nation's debt ceiling — and the White House has no interest in negotiating with Republicans as that limit approaches. Published December 16, 2013

In this Dec. 14, 2012, file photo, Robert and Alissa Parker, at right, leave a firehouse staging area following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Gunman Adam Lanza opened fire inside the school, killing 26 children and adults, including the Parkers' daughter Emilie Parker, 6. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

Clinging to gun control positions — more change, but more of the same

One year after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., all sides of the debate — from President Obama and single-issue groups led by outgoing New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and others to powerful gun advocacy voices — sound much the same as they did 12 months ago in the immediate aftermath of one of the worst shootings in American history. Published December 14, 2013

Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer noted during arguments Tuesday the fact the Environmental Protection Agency has been granted by courts wide latitude in how it interprets the Clean Air Act. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

High court likely to allow Obama's clean-air rules

The fate of key clean-air regulations — central to the President Obama's larger environmental agenda — now rests with the Supreme Court, which on Tuesday hinted it may throw the administration a lifeline and allow controversial pollution rules to be reinstated. Published December 10, 2013

Funding boost of $100M for mentally ill a 'small step'

Having failed thus far in pushing gun control legislation through Congress, the White House has turned to the much less controversial effort of improving the quality of the nation's mental health services. Published December 10, 2013

North Carolina and Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, are the latest to come under direct fire from a White House that admittedly is waging a full-blown PR offensive on Medicaid expansion in response to Obamacare's rocky rollout. (Associated Press)

White House PR blitz hits states that rejected Medicaid expansion

The Obama administration's all-out public relations push to sell its health care reform law increasingly is targeting individual governors, who will bear much of the blame, the White House says, if millions of poor Americans remain uninsured. Published December 9, 2013

The flag above the White House flies at half staff in honor of former South African President Nelson Mandela, Friday, Dec. 6, 2013 in Washington. For most of the world, his name is synonymous with courage and perseverance. Leaders and citizens, athletes and artists remembered Mandela on Friday _ though many struggled to find words big enough to describe the man who changed the face of South Africa and inspired a continent and a world: a colossus, a father figure, a giant baobab tree providing shade for an entire nation. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

Obama, first lady will attend Mandela memorial services

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will travel to South Africa next week to attend memorial services for former South African President Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday at the age of 95. Published December 6, 2013

** FILE ** This Nov. 17, 2001 file photo shows  Nelson Mandela and his wife Graca Machel sharing a private moment during a ceremony to rename a school Nelson Mandela Park Public School in Toronto. The former South African president, who spent much of 2013 in and out of the hospital, died Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013 at age 95. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)

Nelson Mandela now 'belongs to the ages'

President Obama was a junior senator from Illinois and was only beginning his meteoric political rise, which ultimately propelled him into the White House in 2008 and into the history books as America's first black president. Nelson Mandela, by contrast, was nearing the end of his incredible journey, having emerged from decades in prison during South Africa's dark apartheid era to become his own nation's first black leader. Published December 5, 2013