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Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan

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Articles by Stephen Dinan

A sign outside the National Security Agency (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md., is seen here on June 6, 2013. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Appeals court blunts NSA phone snooping program

The NSA's phone snooping program is probably illegal and certainly can't be justified under the Patriot Act, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday in a momentous decision that could rewrite the way the government has to go about gathering intelligence. Published May 7, 2015

President Barack Obama's new $4 trillion budget plan is distributed by Senate Budget Committee staffer Eric Chalmers as it arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, early Monday, Feb. 02, 2015. The fiscal blueprint for the budget year that begins Oct. 1, seeks to raise taxes on wealthier Americans and corporations and use the extra income to lift the fortunes of families who have felt squeezed during tough economic times. Republicans, who now hold the power in Congress, are accusing the president of seeking to revert to tax-and-spend policies that will harm the economy while failing to do anything about soaring spending on government benefit programs. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Feds set tax haul record: $472B in one month

The federal government set a record tax haul in April, taking in nearly a half-trillion dollars in one month alone, according to Congressional Budget Office statistics released Thursday. Published May 7, 2015

The Internal Revenue Service headquarters building is seen in Washington on April 13, 2014. (Associated Press) **FILE**

IRS wasted $5.6B on bogus Obama stimulus tax credits, audit finds

The IRS doled out more than $5 billion in potentially bogus college aid payments in 2012 under an Obama stimulus tax credit, according to a report Tuesday from the agency's inspector general that said the administration still doesn't have a good handle on how to root out erroneous claims. Published May 5, 2015

Speaking in Las Vegas at a Cinco de Mayo meeting focused on immigration, Hillary Rodham Clinton met with so-called Dreamers, or young illegal immigrants here under color of President Obama's initial 2012 amnesty, and said she will protect them from Republicans who she said are intent on deporting them. (Associated Press)

Hillary Clinton vows to expand Obama amnesty to more illegals

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton vowed Tuesday that if elected, she would try to expand President Obama's deportation amnesty to more illegal immigrants, saying this administration has left out a number of aliens who deserve to be granted legal status. Published May 5, 2015

In this April 29, 2015, photo, Democratic presidential hopeful former Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at the David N. Dinkins Leadership and Public Policy Forum in New York. Clinton intends to draw an early distinction with Republicans on immigration reform, pointing to a pathway to citizenship as an essential part of any overhaul in Congress.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Dreamers demand White House hopefuls end deportations, halt arrests

Any presidential candidate who wants to win Hispanic votes next year will need to pledge to take unilateral action to halt deportations, to break the links that allow local police to help enforce immigration laws and to stop prosecuting rank-and-file illegal immigrants at the border, a group of Dreamers said in a new policy paper Tuesday. Published May 5, 2015

Hillary Clinton rejects Bill's immigration crackdown, vows lenient approach

Bill Clinton was the strictest president in modern political times when it comes to immigration, signing bills cracking down on both legal and illegal immigrants — but it's unlikely that record will infect his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has promised a more lenient approach as she makes a push for Hispanic voters in her presidential bid. Published May 4, 2015

Hillary Clinton agrees to testify before Benghazi committee — but just once

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton rejected the Benghazi probe’s request that she testify twice, saying she will appear once, in public, to talk about the 2012 terrorist attack and her controversial email practices, and will stay as long as there are questions from the panel. Published May 4, 2015

Edward Snowden. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

NSA snooping program on last legs after anti-Patriot Act vote

The NSA's phone-snooping program is likely on its last legs after a key House committee voted overwhelmingly Thursday to end the Patriot Act's bulk-collection powers that the government was relying on to keep the phone program up and running. Published April 30, 2015

House Speaker John A. Boehner. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

John Boehner denies saying Congress can't stop Iran nuclear deal

House Speaker John A. Boehner said it's too soon to tell if Congress could muster the votes to stop a bad Iran nuclear deal struck by President Obama, denying a report that he'd already admitted defeat to a private audience last weekend. Published April 30, 2015

Alejandro Mayorkas, the deputy secretary whose previous tenure as the head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is under scrutiny, said when he did intervene in visa cases, it was to make sure his agency was following the law, not to give special treatment. (Associated Press)

Alejandro Mayorkas can't recall Democrats seeking visa favors, only Republicans

The deputy homeland security secretary said repeatedly Thursday that he couldn't remember conversations in which he was accused of giving special treatment to high-profile Democrats seeking visas for wealthy foreign clients — but did say he could recall Republicans making the same kinds of inquiries. Published April 30, 2015

Scott Veley of Kensington, Conn., holds a Gadsden flag during a tea party protest at the Capitol in Hartford, Conn., on April 15, 2010. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

IRS still targeting tea party: Nine groups awaiting agency approval

Nine tea party groups were still awaiting IRS approval for nonprofit status nearly two years after the political targeting program was exposed, the inspector general said in a report Thursday that, despite hiccups, claimed the tax agency has generally done a good job of cleaning up its act. Published April 30, 2015

Jeh Johnson admits DHS does not have full control of border

Homeland Security still won't have a complete handle on the border by the end of President Obama's tenure, department Secretary Jeh Johnson admitted to Congress on Wednesday, though he said they are quickly getting better. Published April 29, 2015

President Barack Obama walks to the presidential limousines after stepping off Marine One at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Wednesday, April 29, 2015, for a visit with wounded military personnel. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Obama rejects request to investigate guest-worker program abuse

The Obama administration this week rejected a request from Congress to investigate potential abuses in the country's key guest-worker program for tech workers, insisting it would "be premature" to look into Southern California Edison's use of the controversial H-1B visa to outsource jobs. Published April 29, 2015

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell addresses the media at a news conference at the NFL Annual Meeting in Phoenix on March 25, 2015. (Associated Press) **FILE**

NFL to drop tax-free status after complaints

The National Football League said Tuesday it will give up its tax-exempt status, with Commissioner Roger Goodell saying complaints that the wealthy league was skimming millions of dollars from taxpayers had become a "distraction." Published April 28, 2015

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson acknowledged at Tuesday's hearing that 282 people have had to be kicked out of the amnesty program because of criminal convictions or gang ties that were later discovered. That was out of a population of more than 600,000 who were approved. (Associated Press)

Jeh Johnson calls amnesty for 'Top Model' murder suspect a 'tragic' mistake

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said it was a "tragic" mistake for his department to grant a temporary amnesty to an illegal immigrant who has since been accused of four murders, but acknowledged Tuesday that more than 280 other illegal immigrants also have had their amnesties rescinded because of criminal or gang-related behavior. Published April 28, 2015

Sen. Jeff Sessions, Alabama Republican, said the "doc fix" would cost taxpayers a net $141 billion over the next decade, and would bring Congress disrepute. (Associated Press)

Trade proponents slowly assure skeptics of no backdoor ties to Obama immigration policy

Fearful of immigration's power to sink any issue it touches, the administration and Republican leaders on Capitol Hill are doing everything they can to try to make the case that immigration is totally unrelated to the looming Pacific trade deal and the fast-track trade authority President Obama says will be needed to conclude the negotiations. Published April 28, 2015