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Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

Articles by Stephen Dinan

President Barack Obama speaks to media as he meets with Attorney General Loretta Lynch in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Friday, May 29, 2015. The president said a "handful of senators" are the only thing standing in the way of an extension of key Patriot Act provisions before they expire at midnight Sunday. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Obama, intelligence chief plead for Senate GOP to relent on Patriot Act standoff

President Obama and the government's chief intelligence official made a plea Friday for Senate Republican leaders to relent in their fight to preserve the NSA's phone-snooping program, saying that unless a deal is reached by Sunday, investigators will no longer be able to apply for new roving wiretaps come Monday. Published May 29, 2015

Secretary of State John Kerry speaks with former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during the groundbreaking ceremony for the U.S. Diplomacy Center, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014, at the State Department in Washington. Kerry hosted five of his predecessors in a rare public reunion for the groundbreaking of a museum commemorating the achievements of American statesmanship.  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

John Kerry sued over Clinton emails; 'coverup' alleged

A watchdog group sued Thursday to try to force the State Department to collect all of former Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton's emails from her time in government, saying the Obama administration broke the law by letting her keep them. Published May 28, 2015

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)  Commissioner John Koskinen testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 15, 2015, before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing to examine IRS challenges in implementing the Affordable Care Act. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

IRS bilked for billions in bogus refunds: audit

The IRS has gotten better at detecting fraud but still paid out $2.1 billion in potentially bogus refunds in 2012, according to a new audit Thursday that found the agency paid refunds on nearly 600 tax returns filed to the same address in Kilkenny, Ireland. Published May 28, 2015

House GOP demands criminal investigation into Lois Lerner

Insisting Lois G. Lerner is still a target, congressional Republicans sent a letter to new Attorney General Loretta Lynch Thursday asking her to follow through on their official request last year for a criminal investigation into Ms. Lerner's behavior at the IRS. Published May 28, 2015

President Barack Obama walks across the South Lawn of the White House from Marine One, Thursday, May 28, 2015, in Washington, as he arrives from Miami where the he visited the National Hurricane Center and the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity to pay his respects to the Cuban-American diaspora that worship there. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Obama hopes to save immigration amnesty despite Homeland misstep

The administration is fighting feverishly to try to keep a federal judge from riding herd on its deportation amnesty, saying in papers filed late Wednesday that while Homeland Security goofed in breaking a court injunction, it was an "isolated" incident and vowing it won't happen again. Published May 28, 2015

A statement from the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago says former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert is accused of structuring the withdrawal of $952,000 in cash in order to evade the requirement that banks report cash transactions over $10,000. He's also accused of lying to the FBI. (Associated Press)

Ex-Speaker Dennis Hastert indicted on charges of hiding $3.5M in hush funds

A federal grand jury indicted former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert Thursday with trying to circumvent currency rules and then lying to the FBI to hide payments he was making for past "misconduct" against an individual he seemingly knew from his time as a high school coach and teacher. Published May 28, 2015

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy (Associated Press) **FILE**

EPA expands powers over land use in bid to control water pollution

The administration announced rules Wednesday to grant federal agencies sweeping environmental oversight over wetlands, ponds and even some ditches in a move supporters said will clean up dirty waters but which critics said was a capstone power grab for a lame-duck president. Published May 27, 2015

The Capitol building in Washington, D.C. (Associated Press)

Chaos on the Hill: Scare evacuates Capitol building

The U.S. Capitol was reopened Tuesday afternoon after having been evacuated for an hour in an apparent false fire alarm that sent hundreds of workers streaming from the seat of government. Published May 26, 2015

In a speech this week, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen insisted his agency has turned the corner on problems with employee behavior in recent years. (Associated Press)

IRS hit by cyberattack, thousands of taxpayers' information stolen

Fraudsters stole private information from the IRS on more than 100,000 taxpayers and used it to bilk the agency of tens of millions of dollars, Commissioner John Koskinen said Tuesday -- though he insisted the breach didn't affect most Americans. Published May 26, 2015

FILE - In this Jan. 18, 2013 file photo, then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at the State Department in Washington. The State Department will release the first batch of emails from Hillary Rodham Clinton's tenure as secretary of state Friday.  (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Hillary Clinton emails: State proposes release that could stretch into 2016

The State Department told a federal court Tuesday that it will still likely be next year before it's able to release all of former Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton's emails publicly, though officials said they'll release them in batches every two months or so between now and then. Published May 26, 2015

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in the Oval Office during the President's Daily Economic Briefing on July 30, 2009. (White House)

Federal appeals court deals blow to President Obama's amnesty

A federal appeals court refused to lift an injunction against President Obama's deportation amnesty in a ruling Tuesday that delivers a second major legal setback to the administration and keeps millions of illegal immigrants on hold. Published May 26, 2015

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is locked in a fierce battle with Kentucky seatmate Rand Paul over extending the phone-snooping powers of the Patriot Act, which Mr. Paul opposes. (Associated Press)

Patriot Act phone snooping likely to expire after McConnell gambit backfires

At the end, senators were fighting over the chance to be the ones filibustering the Patriot Act in Saturday morning's dramatic session, underscoring just how unpopular the law is and how difficult a time Republican leaders will have in trying to keep it intact as they race an end-of-month deadline. Published May 24, 2015

A drone flies at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Jan. 8, 2014. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Obama bans discrimination by drones

The Obama Justice Department issued new guidelines Friday for how the government should operate drones, including declaring a ban on flying them "to engage in discrimination," ticking off race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation and "gender identity" as out of bounds for drone targeting. Published May 22, 2015

FILE - In this May 5, 2015 file photo, Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell of Ky. walks to his office on Capitol Hill in Washington. Supporters of President Barack Obama’s trade agenda hope to fend off hostile Senate amendments Friday, May 22, 2015, and send a major trade bill to the House, where another fierce debate awaits.  Legislation to renew the Patriot Act is also on the calendar, as is a bill to renew authority to commit federal funds for highway and bridge construction. McConnell is intent on keeping the anti-terrorism Patriot Act from lapsing while Republicans control the House and Senate. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Fight over NSA snooping, Patriot Act goes down to wire

Senators on Friday raced their own holiday-imposed deadline for preserving key Patriot Act powers, with Democrats accusing Republican leaders of trying to force a choice between having to back the NSA's controversial bulk collection powers or else letting other wiretapping and lone-wolf terrorism tools expire. Published May 22, 2015