Saturday, February 24, 2018
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.

Comments
Editorial: Improve school security plans with gun controls

Editorial: Improve school security plans with gun controls

Gov. Rick Scott and key members of the Florida Legislature offered ambitious proposals Friday that would plug some holes in the state’s safety net, strengthen school security and spend up to a half-billion dollars in response to last week’s massacre ...
Published: 02/23/18
Editorial: Six proposals for reasonable gun control

Editorial: Six proposals for reasonable gun control

Enough is enough. The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has renewed conversations about gun control in Washington and Tallahassee. Young people are demanding action, and there are cracks in the National Rifle Association’s solid w...
Published: 02/23/18
Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

The nation’s conversation on guns took an encouraging step this week in three essential places — South Florida, Tallahassee and Washington — as survivors, victims’ families and elected leaders searched painfully and sincerely for common ground after ...
Published: 02/22/18

Editorial: FDLE probe of state fair fiasco falls short

It should go without saying that Florida law frowns upon public officials who take freebies from vendors and whose agency throws business to their family. But that wasn’t enough to move the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to find that the ex-di...
Published: 02/21/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Editorial: They value guns, not kids

Editorial: They value guns, not kids

They value guns over kidsSix days after 17 were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High by a teen-ager firing an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, the Florida House refused to even debate a bill banning the sale of assault weapons. The vote, 71 to 36, wasn...
Published: 02/21/18

Editorial: Nursing home rule should be stronger

It shouldn’t take months or another tragedy for Florida — which is hot and full of seniors — to protect its elderly population from heat stroke in the event of an emergency. That’s why Gov. Rick Scott had the right idea last year in calling for nursi...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are traveling to the state capital today and declaring "never again.’’ A prominent Florida Republican fundraiser vows he won’t raise another nickel until his party approves new gun controls. Across F...
Published: 02/19/18

Editorial: No more doubt about Russian meddling in election

The latest indictment by the Justice Department special counsel, Robert Mueller, refutes President Donald Trump’s claims that Russian interference in the 2016 election was a Democratic hoax. The indictment details the lengths Russian conspirators too...
Published: 02/19/18

Another voice: Tips should belong to workers, not their bosses

The Trump administration is under fire for proposing a Labor Department regulation that could result in hotel and restaurant employers dipping into the tips customers leave for their employees, depriving the nation’s 14 million hard-working restauran...
Published: 02/18/18
Updated: 02/20/18
Editorial: Trump’s rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Editorial: Trump’s rising deficits and misplaced priorities

It’s not popular in Washington or virtually anywhere else these days to express concern about the rising federal deficit. Congressional Republicans who used to be deficit hawks first voted to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, then rais...
Published: 02/17/18