Monday, December 11, 2017
Editorials

Attacks on Rice miss the real issue

Capitol Hill Republicans accusing the U.N. ambassador over the apparent withholding of information in the days following the Benghazi attacks are focused on the wrong target. The real issue isn't whom President Barack Obama may nominate as the next secretary of state, but why the intelligence community erased all mention of al-Qaida from talking points in the days following the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya. The American public should not have been left in the dark.

For weeks, Republicans have been attacking Susan Rice, the U.N. ambassador, who was dispatched to the Sunday news show circuit five days after the attack that killed four Americans, including Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya. She presented the same description the White House and State Department had used, suggesting "extremist elements" initiated the attack amid a spontaneous protest against an anti-Muslim video.

But last week, the former head of the Central Intelligence Agency, Gen. David Petraeus, told the Senate Intelligence Committee in a closed-door meeting that wasn't the whole story. From the outset, he said, the CIA believed al-Qaida affiliates were involved. And ultimately, CBS News has reported, the director of the Office of National Intelligence, with the consent of the CIA and the FBI, opted to strike all reference to the terrorist network or "terrorism" from the unclassified talking points delivered to Rice. The White House and State Department were not involved in the changes, CBS reported.

Nonetheless, that hasn't stopped Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsay Graham from taking the opportunity to try to undercut someone well qualified to be on Obama's short list to replace outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. And 97 House members — including 10 Republicans from Florida — took the time earlier this week to sign a letter warning Obama that should he nominate Rice for secretary of state, they would work to block her confirmation. But only the Senate confirms the president's choice for secretary of state.

Apparently it is easier to attack the messenger to score political points in the wake of a disappointing election than to get down to the business of governing amid a war on terror. Whether the Senate would find Rice qualified to be secretary of state is a question for another day. The more responsible line of inquiry — and the question the Obama administration needs to answer — is why information was withheld from the American public and whether the decision was justified.

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Editorial: U.S. House sides with NRA over stateís rights on concealed weapons permits

With the horror of the mass shootings at a Las Vegas country music concert and a small Texas church still fresh, the U.S. House finally has taken action on guns. But the bill it passed last week wonít make Americans safer from gun violence. It is an ...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

There is no satisfaction for anyone in the standoff over pay raises between the Hillsborough County School District and its teachers. Most teachers across the nation already are underpaid, but this district simply cannot afford the raises teachers ex...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

With a buildout of $3 billion encompassing entire city blocks, itís obvious that Jeff Vinikís plans will change the look and feel of downtown Tampa. But the Tampa Bay Lightning owner unveiled a broader vision last week that reflects how far the impac...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/08/17
Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

It is dangerous and illegal to text while driving in Florida, and police should be able to pull over and ticket those lawbreakers without witnessing another violation first. House Speaker Richard Corcoran has lent his powerful voice to legislation th...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Editorial: Outsourcing common sense on St. Petersburg Pier naming rights

St. Petersburg officials predict that selling the naming rights to parts of the new Pier could generate $100,000 in annual revenue. But first the city wants to pay a consultant to tell it how and to whom to sell the rights. Why do city officials need...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Another voice: Trumpís risky move

President Donald Trumpís decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israelís capital has a certain amount of common sense on its side. As a practical matter, West Jerusalem has been the seat of Israeli government since 1949, and no conceivable formula for Pa...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Editorial: Tampaís MOSI reinvents itself

Editorial: Tampaís MOSI reinvents itself

A tactical retreat and regrouping seems to be paying off for Hillsborough Countyís Museum of Science and Industry. After paring back its operations, the museum posted a small profit over the past year, enabling the attraction to keep its doors open a...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Times recommends: McClure for Florida House District 58

Times recommends: McClure for Florida House District 58

Voters in Temple Terrace, Plant City and Thonotosassa have an easy choice in the Dec. 19 special election to replace state Rep. Dan Raulerson, who resigned for health reasons. Republican Lawrence McClure is the only credible candidate.McClure, 30, ow...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Editorial: Still waiting for flood insurance fix

Editorial: Still waiting for flood insurance fix

It has been 1,979 days since all heck broke loose in the flood insurance industry. Apparently, that just wasnít enough time for Washington to react. So with the National Flood Insurance Program set to expire on Friday, itís looking increasingly likel...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17

Editorial: St. Petersburg should raise rates for reclaimed water

Raising rates on reclaimed water in St. Petersburg is an equitable way to spread the pain of paying for millions in fixes to the cityís dilapidated sewer system. The city has no choice but to start charging utility customers more as the sewer bills c...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17