Friday, February 23, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Benghazi report tells a troubling tale

A new report by the Senate Intelligence Committee should help clear the political smoke and focus public attention on what really contributed to the deadly assault on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. The State Department, the Pentagon and the intelligence community share blame for what the committee describes as a "preventable" attack in 2012 that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. The findings should be used as a blueprint for how to better protect frontline personnel at America's most dangerous outposts.

The bipartisan report breaks no major new ground, though it paints the most troublesome picture so far of the lack of urgency by the State Department to bolster security in Benghazi. That failure to be aggressive continued even as the hotbed of Islamist militarism was threatening to undo the political inroads the United States was making in Libya in the wake of the NATO-supported overthrow of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The report describes a breakdown in communication between intelligence agencies and the military, which made the U.S. compound more vulnerable to attack. And it suggests that U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who twice refused the offer of a U.S. protection team in the weeks before the assault, was overconfident and naive in relying on local militias for security.

The report is the second, exhaustive examination that countered charges by Republicans that the White House doctored details of the assault to cover up links between the attackers and a growing al-Qaida movement. The report recounts a fluid and chaotic scene as attackers from a multitude of groups converged on the compound. It calls the assault an "opportunistic" rather than a coordinated one. And while the Obama administration was vague and conflicting about some details, its early "talking points" on the attack "painted a mostly accurate picture" of what the intelligence committee knew. That assessment should turn public attention toward the lessons that really matter.

The State Department should quickly implement the recommendations aimed at better assessing threat levels at high-risk posts. The intelligence community needs to make better use of social media — which did not happen here — to catch red flags of looming violence. And state, military and intelligence officials need to more routinely share information. The chaos of the attack was in many ways enabled by the chaos within the American bureaucracy that missed so many warning signs.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accepted responsibility for the attack and the loss of life, and she will have to answer more questions if she runs for president in 2016 about how and why the United States maintained a presence in Benghazi as the security situation worsened. Diplomats accept danger with the job. But the deteriorating conditions in Benghazi, the uptick in anti-American fervor, the lack of an adequately staffed and equipped diplomatic security contingent, and overt warnings by Libyans all raise questions about the judgment of the secretary of state and the president.

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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 stateís safety net, strengthen school security and spend up to a half-billion dollars in response to last weekís massacre ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
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 Associationís solid w...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

The nationís conversation on guns took an encouraging step this week in three essential places ó South Florida, Tallahassee and Washington ó as survivors, victimsí 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 wasnít enough to move the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to find that the ex-di...
Updated: 7 hours ago
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 shouldnít take months or another tragedy for Florida ó which is hot and full of seniors ó to protect its elderly population from heat stroke in the event of an emergency. Thatís why Gov. Rick Scott had the right idea last year in calling for nursi...
Updated: 7 hours ago
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.íí A prominent Florida Republican fundraiser vows he wonít 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 Trumpís 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 nationís 14 million hard-working restauran...
Published: 02/18/18
Updated: 02/20/18
Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Itís 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