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Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan

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

Articles by Stephen Dinan

This image provided by Shaam News Network on Aug. 22, 2013, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, purports to show several bodies being buried in a suburb of Damascus, Syria, during a funeral on Aug. 21, 2013. Syrian government forces pressed their offensive in eastern Damascus on Thursday, bombing rebel-held suburbs where the opposition said the regime had killed more than 100 people the day before in a chemical weapons attack. The government has denied allegations it used chemical weapons in artillery barrages on the area known as eastern Ghouta on Wednesday as "absolutely baseless." (Associated Press/Shaam News Network)

Syria again challenges Obama's 'red line' on chemical weapons

President Obama's "red line" for Syria is once again being tested after rebel forces said Wednesday that the regime of President Bashar Assad used poison gas to attack civilians near Damascus, killing potentially hundreds in what could turn out to be the deadliest deployment of chemical weapons yet. Published August 21, 2013

Obama school tour focus: Doing something about high cost of college

President Obama will call for a major rethinking of how Americans and the government pay for the costs of a college education as he takes a bus tour of the Northeast later this week, the White House said Tuesday, as he tries to revive his second-term agenda. Published August 20, 2013

**FILE** The exterior of the Internal Revenue Service building in Washington is seen on March 22, 2013. (Associated Press)

IRS may be breaking software copyright laws, audit finds

The IRS is using some computer software that it hasn't paid for, and is paying for other programs its employees aren't even using, according to a new audit released Tuesday that said the tax agency could be violating copyright laws. Published August 20, 2013

A "step-by-step approach is the way to do it with enforcement coming first," said Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Virginia Republican, regarding immigration reform. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Illegals snared as immigration debate continues

A massive weekend raid netted several hundred illegal immigrants who were either car wash workers or customers in Phoenix, according to immigrant-rights groups who say the move highlights the ongoing tensions within President Obama's deportation policy. Published August 18, 2013

** FILE ** Rep. Ron Barber, Arizona Democrat, speaks to the media in Tucson, Ariz., on Aug. 7, 2012. (Associated Press)

Report: DHS spends $600,000 to buy $100,000 homes

The Homeland Security Department spent $600,000 apiece to build houses in Arizona that would have gone for less than $100,000, according to a report in the Arizona Republic that's raising questions in Congress. Published August 16, 2013

**FILE** Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (right), Vermont Democrat, and the committee's ranking Republican, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, arrive on Capitol Hill on July 31, 2013, as the panel questioned top Obama administration officials about the National Security Agency's surveillance programs for the first time since the House narrowly rejected a proposal last week to effectively shut down the NSA's secret collection of hundreds of millions of Americans' phone records. (Associated Press)

Senate to hold hearings on NSA privacy violations

The Senate's most senior lawmaker said Friday that the intelligence community is still not being truthful about its snooping activities and how they may be picking up communications from Americans, and vowed to hold hearings when Congress returns from its summer vacation. Published August 16, 2013

**FILE** Former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson (Associated Press)

Investigators ask former EPA chief to turn over private emails

Top congressional Republicans sent a letter Thursday to Lisa P. Jackson asking her to justify an email she sent during her time as chief of the EPA in which she told a lobbyist to contact her using a private, personal email account rather than her government email — a move that appears to contravene open-records laws. Published August 15, 2013

Egyptians mourn over the bodies of their relatives in the El-Iman mosque in Nasr City, Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013. Egypt faced a new phase of uncertainty on Thursday after the bloodiest day since its Arab Spring began, with hundreds of people reported killed and thousands injured as police smashed two protest camps of supporters of the deposed Islamist president. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

U.S.-Egypt military ties strained; Obama cancels joint maneuvers

President Obama on Thursday canceled joint military maneuvers between U.S. and Egyptian troops scheduled for next month as he seeks to find levers the U.S. can use to quell deadly clashes in the North African nation and force both sides back into negotiations. Published August 15, 2013

President Obama speaks at a news conference in the East Room at the White House in Washington on Aug. 9, 2013. (Associated Press)

Obama's immigration test run raises cheers, alarm

President Obama's non-deportation policy for children turns a year old Thursday, and both sides agree it's a test run for a broader legalization — one that has thrilled immigrant rights groups who say it has broken stereotypes and changed the political calculus, but that has worried enforcement advocates who say illegal immigrants are being given blanket approval without enough attention to fraud. Published August 14, 2013

Congress still has questions for Lisa P. Jackson, former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, who is under investigation for suspected violations of federal sunshine laws after she apparently used private email accounts to conduct government business. (Associated Press)

Sunshine law gets cloudy when federal officials take email home

Documents show that Lisa P. Jackson, as EPA chief, told a lobbyist to shift their conversations to her "home email" account rather than using official government accounts, in a move that appears to contravene the intent of federal sunshine laws. Published August 13, 2013

**FILE** A statue of former Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin stands outside the Treasury Building in Washington on Aug. 8, 2011. (Associated Press)

Budget battle ends up with slashed deficit, no recession

The federal deficit is down 37.6 percent so far this fiscal year, according to Treasury Department statistics released Monday, showing the government has made progress in stanching the spread of red ink while managing to avoid a double-dip recession. Published August 12, 2013

President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in June in Northern Ireland. Mr. Obama has put off a scheduled meeting in Moscow following Mr. Putin's granting of asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
(Associated Press)

Obama: U.S. will not boycott Olympics in Russia

President Obama said Friday that the U.S. shouldn't boycott the Russian Winter Olympics next year, but said the U.S. relationship has gone from "reset" to "pause." Published August 9, 2013

President Obama rubs his eye as he listens to a question from a reporter during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington on Aug. 9, 2013. The president said the U.S. will pause and reassess relations with Russia because of Putin's 'backward' thinking. (Associated Press)

Obama vows tighter oversight of NSA surveillance

Seeking to shore up foundering support for government snooping, President Obama said Friday he is willing to change the Patriot Act and to make modifications to the secret court that oversees programs such as the National Security Agency's phone-records collection program. Published August 9, 2013