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Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan

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Articles by Stephen Dinan

President Barack Obama speaks during an end-of-the year news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, Friday, Dec. 20, 2013. At the end of his fifth year in office, Obama's job approval and personal favorability ratings have fallen to around the lowest point of his presidency. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Obama: 2014 will be 'breakthrough year' for U.S.

President Obama said Friday that he "screwed it up" in the rollout of his health care law, though he said the system is now working much better and hundreds of thousands of people have been able to sign up for coverage. Published December 20, 2013

"We haven't debated the [National Security Agency]. We haven't debated this issue of sexual assault, the [Iran] sanctions, the detainee issue," Arizona Sen. John McCain said of a defense policy bill. But the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee said he would vote for the bill. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Senators work late on 'take it or leave it' defense bill that ignores big issues

The Senate labored into the night Thursday on a vote to clear a massive defense policy bill that ignores many of the big issues such as Iran's nuclear program and government mass-snooping programs, after Democratic leaders blocked all amendments and forced what one senator called a "take it or leave it" vote. Published December 19, 2013

Illegal immigrant girl smuggled into U.S. by federal agents: judge

A federal judge in Texas late last week accused the Obama administration of aiding drug cartels, saying that instead of enforcing immigration laws, agents knowingly helped smuggle an illegal immigrant girl into the U.S. to live with her mother, also an illegal immigrant, in Virginia. Published December 19, 2013

** FILE ** Illegal immigrants prepare to enter a bus after being processed at Tucson Sector U.S. Border Patrol Headquarters Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012, in Tucson, Ariz. New strategies being implemented by the U.S. government, including the halting of one-way flights back to the interior cities in Mexico, are in place to streamline processing and expedite a return to Mexico. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Deportations under Obama plunged to just 1 percent last year

The Obama administration deported just 1 percent of illegal immigrants living within the interior of the U.S. last year, according to statistics released Thursday, which signals that most illegal immigrants face little chance of being kicked out of the country. 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

** FILE ** An anti-spying protest takes place in the nation's capital on Oct. 26, 2013. (Jose Luis Magana / AP)

Obama's own panel rips NSA spying on phone calls of Americans

President Obama's internal review panel has accused the government of abusing the Patriot Act and said many of the intelligence community's key tools should be reined in, including the NSA's phone-snooping program. Published December 18, 2013

House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, last week led the charge to undo some of the sequester cuts, replacing them with more spending now, offset by promised fees and cuts in the future. Mr. Boehner is one of a number of members of Congress who have changed their stance on the automatic cuts since the 2011 debt deal that set the sequesters in place. (Associated Press)

John Boehner demands Senate action on House jobs bills

With the budget fight nearly behind them, both Republicans and Democrats are jockeying for the next fight — and House Speaker John A. Boehner wants it to be on the GOP's turf of cutting regulations to spur job growth. 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

Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House oversight committee, is coming under fire from Democrats who say the California Republican has been overzealous in his pursuit of oversight of the Obama administration. (associated press)

White House is obstructing probe on Navy Yard shooter, NSA leaker, Darrell Issa says

House oversight committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa this week accused the Obama administration of trying to "obstruct" a congressional investigation by trying to silence the contractors that help the federal government with security clearances, and he demanded interviews with individuals involved in the process. Published December 17, 2013

** FILE ** In this Feb. 11, 2005, file photo, trays of printed Social Security checks wait to be mailed from the U.S. Treasury's Financial Management services facility in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Bradley C. Bower, File)

Social Security to run 12% deficit for next decade

Social Security has been running in the red for several years and will see a 12 percent gap between the taxes it's collecting and the benefits it's projected to pay out over the next 10 years, according to a report Tuesday from the Congressional Budget Office. Published December 17, 2013

** FILE ** Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, speaks with reporters following a closed-door briefing by intelligence agencies on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, April 23, 2013. (Associated Press)

Feinstein: Judge got NSA ruling wrong

The chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee criticized a federal judge's ruling this week that the NSA is likely violating Americans' rights by storing records about their phone calls, saying Tuesday that the decision flies in the face of Supreme Court precedent and dozens of other court rulings. Published December 17, 2013

** FILE ** Rep. Frank R. Wolf, Virginia Republican. (Associated Press)

Rep. Frank Wolf to retire from Northern Virginia seat

Rep. Frank R. Wolf, Virginia Republican, said Tuesday he won't seek re-election next year, ending a career on Capitol Hill that has stretched for more than three decades and seen the tremendous growth of the Northern Virginia region he has represented. Published December 17, 2013

Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House oversight committee, is coming under fire from Democrats who say the California Republican has been overzealous in his pursuit of oversight of the Obama administration. (associated press)

Democrats slam Issa on subpoena

Democrats said Monday that the House's top investigator, Rep. Darrell Issa, went too far in using a subpoena to obtain the secret plans for the computer architecture behind, and the Democrats warn that having those documents out in the open could be a major cybersecurity threat. Published December 16, 2013

Nancy Pelosi calls on Obama to halt deportations

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has joined the call for President Obama to halt deportations, saying that just being in the country illegally is not enough reason for illegal immigrants to be sent home. Published December 16, 2013