Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: NSA spying goes too far

Edward Snowden's revelations on the extent of spying by the National Security Agency on foreigners, allies and Americans should be raising larger questions about the Leviathan surveillance state the United States has built. The NSA's giant information vacuum is diminishing America's standing, and distrust is tarnishing America's reputation, alienating world leaders and the country's most trusted allies.

Snowden's most recent release reveals that the NSA has been tapping into Google and Yahoo overseas fiber-optic cables — without the companies' consent or knowledge — and copying a vast flow of email communication and other personal data of foreigners and Americans. By gaining access to the servers of giant Internet companies abroad, the NSA bypasses legal restrictions on mass surveillance in the United States. The NSA is operating dangerously unmoored from legal oversight.

Most troubling for Americans is the NSA program that sweeps up domestic telephone metadata of millions of Americans. Senate bills would end the program or add constraints. But that is just one program within a $52.6 billion "black budget" for fiscal 2013 that funds 16 spy agencies and 107,000 employees with virtually no public accountability. President Barack Obama, who promised a transparent administration, has not reined in the surveillance colossus America created post-9/11. There has been no public discussion on protecting privacy and balancing that with security concerns. As the president has said, what is technically possible in the surveillance world is not necessarily what should be public policy.

America's surveillance programs may be tactically beneficial, though that is hard to tell with all the secrecy, but they are causing strains in vital strategic relationships. Obama is having to assuage European and other allies who are furious to learn that the NSA has been spying on 35 world leaders. German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave Obama an earful upon discovering that her cellphone was tapped. The fallout is causing Europeans to consider fining U.S. communications giants that cooperate with NSA spying.

To some degree everyone spies on everyone else, but America's obsession with collecting intelligence, coupled with its technological reach and storage capacity, has gone too far. People abroad and at home are questioning whether these are the actions of a representative democracy committed to civil liberties and open government.

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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...
Updated: 12 hours ago
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
Editorial: Buckhorn should not appeal verdict in firefighterís case

Editorial: Buckhorn should not appeal verdict in firefighterís case

The city of Tampa should have taken Tanja Vidovic seriously from the start when the Tampa firefighter complained about her treatment in the workplace. Now that a jury and judge have spoken, itís time for City Hall to cut its losses, learn from its mi...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Editorial: CareerSource troubles mount as public trust drops

Editorial: CareerSource troubles mount as public trust drops

The dark cloud enveloping Tampa Bayís job placement centers keeps growing. There are accusations of forged documents, evidence of nepotism and concerns about grossly inflated performance numbers that could be tied to receiving more public money and b...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Editorials: Prayers and platitudes after shootings arenít enough

Editorials: Prayers and platitudes after shootings arenít enough

Even before the victims of another mass shooting at another public school were identified, Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, state legislators and members of Congress rushed to South Florida or to social media to offer their thoughts and p...
Published: 02/15/18
Editorial: DCF review should get to the bottom of Hillsborough foster care issues

Editorial: DCF review should get to the bottom of Hillsborough foster care issues

The Florida Department of Children and Families is right to call for a timely and "comprehensive" review of Hillsborough Countyís foster care system. Though the probe is a reaction to a recent case involving a child who was left unattended, the revie...
Published: 02/14/18

A Washington Post editorial: Modernize 911 calling before it becomes an emergency

This Friday marks the 50th anniversary of the first 911 emergency call placed in the United States. Since then, uncounted lives have been saved and people helped. It has been a great accomplishment of government.But even as an estimated 240 million 9...
Published: 02/13/18
Updated: 02/14/18
Editorial: Scott, Cabinet cannot be trusted on felonsí voting rights

Editorial: Scott, Cabinet cannot be trusted on felonsí voting rights

Gov. Rick Scott always has been grudging and imperious about restoring the voting rights of felons, requiring them to wait for years before begging the governor and Cabinet to be recognized again as citizens. That arrogance is on full display in a le...
Published: 02/13/18