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Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan can be reached at [email protected].

Articles by Stephen Dinan

Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez is facing questions from Republicans over what he knows about the woman heading an investigation into the IRS' targeting of tea party groups. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Issa questions Labor secretary over IRS scandal

The House's chief investigator on Tuesday implicated another top Obama administration figure in the controversy over the administration's probe into criminal wrongdoing at the IRS, saying Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez must answer questions about why an Obama donor was named to lead the investigation into the tax agency's tea-party targeting. Published January 14, 2014

**FILE** Gen. Keith B. Alexander, director of the National Security Agency and head of the U.S. Cyber Command, testifies before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 18, 2013. (Associated Press)

Spending bill takes first swipe at NSA over domestic spying

Tucked inside the massive new government spending bill are several demands from Congress that the National Security Agency finally report to Congress on the details of its snooping programs, including the number of telephone records collected and the number actually viewed by NSA employees. Published January 14, 2014

**FILE** House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. Hal Rogers (left), Kentucky Republican, testifies before the House Rules Committee at the Capitol in Washington on Jan. 14, 2013. (Associated Press)

Spending bill bans IRS targeting, preserves incandescent light bulbs

Congressional negotiators reached a deal late Monday on a massive spending bill to fund the government for the rest of 2014, agreeing to undo last year's cut to military retirement benefits and a list of other GOP demands in exchange for the higher spending levels. Published January 13, 2014

"I think these investigations need to be done by independent people outside of the administration," Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, says of the IRS inquiry. (Associated Press)

FBI, dragging feet on IRS probe, finally contacts tea party groups

The FBI finally has begun to contact some of the tea party groups targeted by the Internal Revenue Service for inappropriate scrutiny and delays in the first public signs that the administration's criminal investigation is progressing. Published January 9, 2014

House Minority Leader, Democrat Nancy Pelosi of California, speaks at a Capitol Hill news conference in Washington, June 27, 2013. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Nancy Pelosi: Don't call it Obamacare

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi corrected a reporter Thursday who called Democrats' health care law "Obamacare." Published January 9, 2014

In a letter to the Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson, Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, said that not only is the border insecure but that it is patrolled ineffectively. (Associated Press)

McCain slams way border is patrolled

Sen. John McCain, one of the chief authors of the Senate immigration bill, said Wednesday that the border is still not secure, and said he thinks U.S. Customs and Border Protection isn't even patrolling it correctly. Published January 8, 2014

The U.S. Capitol building is seen Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011, in Washington. The six Democrats and six Republicans on the supercommittee, as it's familiarly called, have until next Wednesday, Nov. 23, to come together on a deficit reduction plan. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Federal deficit plunges as Congress tightens budget belt

The federal budget is looking much better in fiscal 2014, according to new estimates the Congressional Budget Office released Wednesday that show the government ran a $44 billion surplus in December and is well ahead of last year's pace. Published January 8, 2014

Christie signs, praises New Jersey's Dream Act law

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie held a ceremonial signing Tuesday to highlight his approval of the state's new Dream Act law granting illegal immigrants in-state tuition, in a move that signals immigration will once again be a major issue in the 2016 presidential primaries. Published January 7, 2014

FILE - In this June 15, 2011, file photo, then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates testifies regarding the Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2012 budget request before the Senate Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Defense on Capitol Hill in Washington. Gates asserts in a new memoir that President Barack Obama grew frustrated with U.S. policy in Afghanistan and that Vice President Joe Biden has been wrong on nearly every foreign policy and national security issue. He also accuses members of Congress of inquisition-like treatment of administration officials.  (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

Gates says Obama, Clinton played politics with Iraq war

President Obama’s former defense secretary says in a new book that both the president and then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton acknowledged in front of him that they opposed the Iraq surge because of presidential politics. Published January 7, 2014

"It's a complete failure for me. It won't let you progress. It freezes up," Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, says of his attempts to sign up for Obamacare using the website. (associated press)

GAO watchgdog: CBP, ICE security database upgrade seen veering off course

The government's chief watchdog said Monday that the Homeland Security Department is in danger of another billion-dollar technology boondoggle, adding that the immigration agency's effort to upgrade the database for security checks at the U.S. border already has missed deadlines and appears to be veering off course again. Published January 6, 2014

Alonzo Hersford Cushing  was an artillery officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He died at the Battle of Gettysburg while defending the Union position on Cemetery Ridge against Pickett's Charge, for which he earned the Medal of Honor 147 years after his death.

TIMELESS: Medal of Honor approved for Civil War and Vietnam veterans

More than 150 years after he gave his life at Gettysburg leading the effort to repel Pickett's Charge, 1st Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing is finally on track to get the Medal of Honor after Congress last month approved waiving the time-limit for the nation's top military honor. Published January 6, 2014

FILE - In this Oct. 29,2013 file photo, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Obama administration will continue the National Security Agency's surveillance programs and cyber command operations under the direction of a single military commander, the first move in advance of what published reports described Friday as limited changes proposed by a task force that deliberated for months in secrecy.  (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File)

Secret court approves three more months of NSA phone snooping

The secret court that oversees the nation's intelligence activities renewed its approval of the National Security Agency's telephone-records program on Friday, granting the government a new three-month window to collect data on all Americans' phone calls. Published January 3, 2014

File - In this Aug. 27, 2013 file photo, Sergio Garcia speaks at The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles news conference in Los Angeles. The California Supreme Court granted a law license on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014, to Garcia, who is living in the United States illegally. Garcia, who graduated from law school and passed the state bar exam, can begin practicing law despite his immigration status. He arrived in the U.S. illegally 20 years ago to pick almonds with his father. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)

CA's top court rules illegal alien can join bar

The California Supreme Court ruled Thursday that an illegal immigrant can join the bar and begin to practice law in that state, granting a major symbolic victory to immigrant rights advocates who say it's a step on the path to equal treatment in employment law. Published January 2, 2014

2014 begins with $54 billion in tax hikes

A final congressional stalemate in late December means the New Year's expiration of a host of tax breaks, amounting to a $54.2 billion increase for green-energy businesses, teachers, homeowners, college students and others. Published December 31, 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)

Sluggish economy seen dragging down U.S. population rate

The U.S. population this year grew at its lowest rate since the Great Depression, according to the latest Census Bureau estimates Monday that suggest the sluggish economy continues to tamp down on immigration, and birth rates are still low for those already here. Published December 30, 2013